The teaching profession is both extremely rewarding and quite challenging, as there are constantly many moving parts. As educators, it is our moral and ethical responsibility to remain vigilant in having learners open to new ideas and to reach every one of our students. The Presidential Award, to me, means I am successful in that endeavor, all while knowing I have so much I can still learn. The award is an honor and a reminder that we owe our students, the future of our nation, our very best.

Melissa Follin Virginia Beach, VA | K-6, Mathematics, 2018

The official biography below was current at the time of the award.

Melissa Follin has been an educator in Virginia Beach City Public Schools for all 15 years of her teaching career. She has spent the past two years teaching all subjects for third grade at Old Donation School. Before this, she was a gifted resource teacher at Shelton Park Elementary and Glenwood Elementary. She began her teaching career at Holland Elementary where she taught first grade and third grade. Melissa loves getting her students interested and involved in their world using authentic problems and engaging learning experiences. Through her leadership, third-grade students raise baby oysters with Oyster Reef Keepers of Virginia where students can uncover science and mathematics concepts all while making a positive impact on the oyster population. She and a colleague received a Virginia Beach Education Foundation grant and added tower gardens to their school’s greenhouse so that students can not only grow produce for the school’s cafeteria, but also practice data collection in an authentic way. She believes students should have ample opportunities to learn outside and connect information across disciplines. Melissa earned a B.S. in education from James Madison University and is completing her M.Ed. in educational leadership with Regent University. She is a certified teacher in pre-kindergarten through sixth grade and has an endorsement in gifted education.