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Melissa Schools staff return for new school year with #DifferenceMaker focus

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Aug 2019
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The Melissa Schools staff assembled in the Student Union at Melissa High School on Monday, Aug. 12 for the district’s annual Convocation, later dispersing to professional development training sessions as part of the Melissa Live Conference.

The focus of the day was how every member of Team Melissa will strive to serve as a #DifferenceMaker for students.

The #DifferenceMaker theme will continue throughout the 2019-2020 school year and for years to come, as have the district’s themes for the last four years: Joy and Gratitude (2018-2019), Tell Our Story (2017-2018), Team Melissa (2016-2017), and Core Values (2015-2016).


A Student’s Perspective

Melissa High School senior, Ian Keever, opened Convocation with the Pledge of Allegiance and the Texas Pledge, and spoke to the staff about his experience at Melissa Schools. Keever moved to Melissa as a fourth grade student and will graduate in the spring with the Melissa High School Senior Class of 2020.

Ian Keever Speaks to Staff

Melissa High School student, Ian Keever, speaks at the Melissa Schools Convocation.

“The material you teach is fundamental in creating prosperous students, but the character you embody and teach, I will also carry with me throughout life. Melissa is awesome, and for all the new faces here, you will see this for yourself quickly. There are so many people here that make accomplishing tasks and achieving goals a reality.” – Ian Keever, Melissa High School Senior


Keynote Speakers and District Awards

Keynote speakers at Convocation included Superintendent of Schools, Mr. Keith Murphy, Deputy Superintendent Dr. Robert Rich, and Deputy Superintendent Mrs. Kim Boedeker.


“We all chose to be Cardinal educators,” said Dr. Rich. “We have chosen to commit ourselves to our core values. […] It’s about never giving up on a kid. For our kids not to be average, we can’t be average.”


Keith Murphy and Pam Fortner

Keith Murphy and Pam Fortner, music teacher at Harry McKillop Elementary, embrace after Mrs. Fortner receives a Difference Maker award.

Dr. Robert Rich and Marcus Eckert

Dr. Robert Rich passes a firefighter’s hat to Melissa Middle School principal Marcus Eckert while recognizing school’s staff attendance.

Kathryn Fuller-Schanning, Trey Smith & Kim Boedeker

Kim Boedeker poses with Perfect Attendance award winners, Kathryn Fuller-Schanning and Trey Smith.


Members of the Melissa Schools Board of Trustees – including Jason Granger, George James, Omar Landrum, and Bruce Minchey – presented the awards for Teacher of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, and Difference Maker.


Ian Keever Speaks to Staff

Board of Trustees and Walter Perez with Melissa ISD 2020 Teacher of the Year, Irma Gonzales.


2020 Teachers of the Year

  • Jennifer McFarland, Harry McKillop Elementary
  • Kristy Cowart, North Creek Elementary
  • Carissa Weaver, Melissa Middle School
  • Manuel Avila, Melissa High School
  • Irma Gonzales, District

2020 Volunteers of the Year

  • Maryna Gaponova, Harry McKillop Elementary
  • Shellie Zepeda, North Creek Elementary
  • Lachelle Crain, Melissa Middle School
  • Mark and Melissa Baker, Melissa High School

2020 Difference Makers

  • Duke Sparks
  • Annette Hernandez
  • Pam Fortner

2018-2019 Perfect Attendance

  • Kathryn Fuller-Schanning
  • Trey Smith

“You are a #DifferenceMaker”

Convocation also featured the #DifferenceMaker video presentation, in which students from Kindergarten through 12th grade each spoke about a teacher who has been a #DifferenceMaker in their life. Watch the video below.

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For the next two weeks, Melissa Schools will continue to prepare for the 2019-2020 school year.

Students return for the first day of the 2019-2020 school year on Tuesday, Aug. 27. Visit the Back to School pages for information related to the upcoming year that is specific to your child’s school.


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Media Contact:
Maddie Coe, Director of Communications

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