2020 Teacher of the Year:
Melissa Grandel has always believed that she has one purpose in life: to teach kids. Armed with this purpose and a love for literature, she received a bachelor of arts in English at Drury University and entered the classroom at Mountain Grove (MO) Middle School. After three years there, she chose to transition back to her rural hometown district in Fordland, Missouri. In the ensuing 21 years, she continued her education at Drury, receiving her master’s degree in communications, and has taught a variety of courses at Fordland High School including English II, English IV, Dual Credit Speech, Advanced Placement Language and Composition, and Yearbook. She has sponsored Beta Club (a service and academic organization), helping students achieve state and national recognition in academic competitions for the past 15 years. Grandel wholeheartedly believes that all students deserve a fair opportunity to learn and succeed, no matter their situation or background. As a teacher, her goal is to relate to the individual student and to find a way to support the educational success of each one. Through highly engaging projects, real-world connections, and equitable initiatives, she allows students to self-discover in an effort to create a learning environment in which students can blossom into their best selves.