Christina Andrade Melly, an English teacher at Ritenour High School in the Ritenour School District, was selected by a committee of her peers and education partners across the state as the 2023 Missouri Teacher of the Year. She becomes the 54th Missouri Teacher of the Year since the program’s inception in 1957.
Andrade Melly sees success in the classroom when her students are able to help drive learning themselves and take ownership of their education. A graduate of the Ritenour School District and a first-generation American, she earned her Bachelor of Arts in English and Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education at the University of Missouri-Columbia before returning to teach at her alma mater. She believes in the power of connection to uplift our schools and communities. To that end, Andrade Melly serves as a mentor in the district teacher induction and Grow Your Own programs, coach emeritus of the speech and debate team, and English department chair.
“I am the best teacher on the days I learn from students,” said Andrade Melly. “It takes a lot of practice and courage to reach those days, but the lessons that define me as a teacher have student choice, voice, and experiences at the center; this creates shared ownership of our learning.”
“Missouri is fortunate to have so many passionate, dedicated educators, and Christina is certainly one of those shining stars in our state,” said Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven. “Christina’s approach to student centric learning not only provides her students an inclusive learning environment, but also creates space for her students to learn how to find their own path to success. As we try to find a solution to teacher recruitment and retention, Christina stands as an example of how important it is to grow our students to become the next generation of teachers.”
She uses writing to amplify her students’ voices, including publishing their experiences in writing through the National Council of Teachers of English Journal. In the words of Dr. Maya Angelou, Andrade Melly “would like to be known as an intelligent woman, a courageous woman, a loving woman, a woman who teaches by being." She resides in University City with her husband and two children.
Andrade Melly will serve as Missouri’s representative in the National Teacher of the Year program. She will be honored during DESE’s Teacher of the Year recognition event in Jefferson City on Monday, October 17, along with the other finalists, semi-finalists, and Regional Teachers of the Year.
The Missouri Teacher of the Year program recognizes the efforts of effective teachers, working tirelessly to provide a high-quality education to their students. James Young, a Musical Theatre teacher from Johnson Wabash Sixth Grade Center (Ferguson-Florissant R-II), is the 2022 Missouri Teacher of the Year.