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Rocky Mountain Elementary Teacher Comes Full Circle

Leticia Melendez works with a small group of students.

“Being a teacher is the most impactful and fulfilling profession there is,” shared Leticia Melendez. “As little as the impact may be, being part of kids’ lives and seeing them do great things, you always hope that you can become one of those teachers that opened the door for them.” With more than 18 years of experience, Ms. Melendez’s passion continues to thrive in everything she does for her students. It is important for her not to forget the teachers that opened the many doors for her along the way. “That is what I want to do for my students, I want to open those doors for them.” shared Melendez. 

Rocky Mountain Elementary School is home to her, and it holds a very special place in her heart. “Being a student here when I was younger, allows me to see myself in so many of these kids – knowing where they came from, being able to identify with them and give back to them, is what it’s all about for me,” shared Melendez. Reflecting on her career, Ms. Melendez sees public education as a space for all students to receive a quality education, and have a space for extracurricular activities. “The diversity of public education and all that it offers to every student is the platform for a well rounded education for all students,” said Melendez.

The love she has for her community is centered in building relationships, and connections with her parents and students. As an English Language Learner teacher, Ms. Melendez has the opportunity to work with newcomer students. “I make myself resourceful to them, I meet them upfront when they come see the school for the first time, I give them la bienvenida,” she shares. “I do anything possible that I can do to make the students know that they belong and that they are safe, and once they feel that inner peace, that’s when they know they are going to be okay, and this is where they belong.”

Her hope is that her students know that she sees them and that she’s there for them every step of the way. “I want them to remember the relationships we had and that they pay it forward, because just like the teachers I had, everything they did for me and the impact they had on me, is what I want for my students,” said Melendez. “We don’t always see our fruits right away, we plant the seed, and they have to do the rest – it’s a privilege and a responsibility of mine that the same help and resources that were given to me, that I pay it forward to my students.”