Brown named Teacher of the Year representative

Melissa Brown

Melissa Brown

Superintendent of Schools William McKersie has announced the selection of Melissa (Missy) Macchio Brown as the Greenwich Public Schools representative for the 2014 Connecticut Teacher of the Year program.

Ms. Brown is a Greenwich High School English and Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) teacher, and Cantor House assistant dean. The AVID program is graduating its first class this year as 16 GHS students, through the program, will become the first in their family to go to college.

She was honored last month as a Distinguished Teacher and this honor not only puts her in the running to be named the best teacher in the state, but also makes her a contender for the coveted national Teacher of the Year.

“The six 2013 Distinguished Teachers selected by the Distinguished Teachers Awards Committee are truly remarkable teachers, and are wonderful representatives of best instructional practices in the Greenwich Public Schools,” Dr. McKersie said. “Missy Brown stands out among the group, exhibiting a rare blend of content expertise, pedagogical acumen and a deep understanding of the individual needs of her students. Her leadership skills are apparent in her trailblazing role as the first AVID teacher and as one of the first five teachers accepting the new position of assistant dean at GHS. In both roles she has been an innovative leader in addressing the needs of individual students. I am confident that Missy Brown will be a superb representative for Greenwich in the 2014 Connecticut Teacher of the Year program.”

Greenwich High School Headmaster Chris Winters added, “Missy Brown is a deeply passionate, intellectually curious, and thoroughly professional educator. She brings innovation and commitment to her work each and every day. Greenwich High School is very proud.”

Ms. Brown was also be honored by The Distinguished Teachers Awards Committee and by the Greenwich Kiwanis Club at the Board of Education in June. The Kiwanis Club presented Ms. Brown with the Joseph Mitchell Kaye Award.

Mr. Kaye was a past president of the Greenwich Kiwanis Club, a Lieutenant Governor of the Kiwanis Club for the New England district and served on the Greenwich Board of Education.

Ms. Brown is one of the six teachers selected and honored by the Distinguished Teachers Awards Committee this year in April. The Superintendent of Schools is charged with selecting from among the six distinguished teachers annually, the one teacher that will represent Greenwich in the state’s program. Throughout the month of May, Dr. McKersie reviewed the nomination packets submitted for each of the distinguished teachers, spent time in each of their classrooms, debriefed the observations with each teacher and with their principal, and reviewed essays submitted as part of the selection process.

One of Ms. Brown’s AVID students speaking at an AVID event said, “[I have] a great connection with [Ms. Brown] who I honestly consider to be the best teacher I’ve ever had because of her strong consideration for her students. Without my AVID family, I would not be where I am today, an admitted college student, the first one in my AVID class to finish the college process. I realize how much AVID has to offer, from tutorials and homework help, to simply the open arms of everyone. Responsibility for my own actions and my own future became the key in the way I now think.”

The same student described her initial dreams of going away to college as something that “seemed as difficult as trying to hold a cloud in my own hands.”

Ms. Brown is the first AVID teacher at GHS. Initially funded and continuously supported by a grant from the Greenwich Alliance for Education, AVID is a four-year elective course that prepares students in the “academic middle” for college, often the first in their families to attend. Ms. Brown has acted as teacher and mentor for the first cohort of AVID students at GHS. Now, four years later, these 16 students are all heading to college and have received $330,000 in merit-based scholarships.

A teacher at GHS for nine years, Ms. Brown is also Cantor House’s first assistant dean, a position introduced to GHS in 2011. As an English teacher, whether it be a support class for the struggling learner or the high powered Shapers of the World class for honors-level seniors, Ms. Brown makes the connections necessary for every student to unlock his or her full abilities.

Ms. Brown received a BA in English from Providence College in 2002, and a MS in Secondary Education from the University of Bridgeport in 2004.

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