The Presidential Award is truly an honor. The extra work and dedication teachers put in every day so often goes unnoticed and unrecognized. The Presidential Award is a wonderful program that allows those teachers an opportunity to put their work out in the public eye and see how it measures up to other teachers from around the state and nation. It also allows teachers from small schools a chance to shine and bring awareness to all the great things happening in their districts.

Melodie Murray Pocahontas, AR | 7-12, Mathematics, 2019

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

Melodie Murray has taught secondary mathematics for 11 years. During the first eight years, she taught at Hoxie High School. While at Hoxie, Melodie served as mathematics Department Chair for seven years and part-time curriculum advisor for four years. In 2017, Melodie began teaching at Pocahontas High School, where she currently teaches 10th-12th grade Geometry, Transition Math Ready, Precalculus, and Advanced Placement (AP) Calculus. Melodie has a keen interest for teaching students to become problem solvers through inquiry-based activities both in and out of the classroom. This interest led her to begin coaching an Odyssey of the Mind team three years ago. This program requires teams to solve complex problems through the performance of an eight-minute skit. Teams must design and build a set, write a script, and design and decorate props to fit the scope of the problem. Teams also compete in spontaneous problem solving, featuring both verbal and hands-on competition, under strict time constraints. Her team has made it to world finals every year they have competed by placing first in the state. By her own example, Melodie encourages students to be lifelong learners in all subject areas. In 2012, Melodie self-published her first novel. Since, she has written two more novels, which are currently in the process of being published. Melodie also enjoys working with teachers and has taught many summer professional development sessions at her local educational cooperative. Melodie earned a bachelor's in science education and a master's in science education from Arkansas State University and is National Board Certified. Recently, she began pursuit of an Educational Specialist degree in curriculum and expects to graduate in the summer of 2021.