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Melissa Dean wins KENS 5 Credit Human EXCEL Award for Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City ISD

Building what she can, using all she can, this week's EXCEL Award winner is singing and dancing her way through her kids’ hearts.

SCHERTZ, Texas — She has taught children all over the country and 23 years later, she's still shining bright where ever she goes. Melissa Dean is now at Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City ISD where her impactful voice resonates loud and clear.

Dean is passionate about singing and she’s not afraid to belt out a song wherever she is.

"I perform at the Harlequin Theatre.”

When she's not performing on stage in her free time, you'll find that she puts on, just as good a performance for her 4th graders. And her young audience is just as impressed.  

"She has a beautiful voice", said Karly who’s in Ms. Dean’s 4th-grade class.

"We start our morning, every morning with music,” Dean said, “We get in our chairs, we dance with our disco lights. Music is just great energy. So if you’re having a bad morning, I tell the kids to get up and dance with me. Then you’re happy!"

Dean has made kids happy for a long time and in many different places.

“I’ve taught in many states,” Dean said, "My husband was in the military. He’s currently retired, out of the Air Force but it took me everywhere. "

From South Carolina to California, down to Texas then over to Hawaii and finally, "Then we came back."

Dean said Texas is now home and she’s settled at Sipple Elementary where she's still quite the star 

Dean was nominated for our prestigious KENS 5 Credit Human Excel Award.

“I’m a little emotional,” Dean said when she was presented with the award. 

Her colleagues didn’t skip a beat, jumping in with joy and excitement as Dean received her award.

"We adore you! We love you!" they exclaimed. 

SCUC ISD Superintendent Dr. Clark Ealy joined in with praise for Dean, "You instill that love of reading in your students. When they come to your classroom they fall in love with books and the written words. That will last them a lifetime."

It was also Dean who brought the Ron Clark Academy House System to Sipple, "It’s part of our culture especially on Friday, Friday is 'House Friday.'"

Just Imagine Harry Potter.  At Sipple, hundreds of kids and teachers get sorted into different houses, too. 

Karly said, "Ms. Dean has a little bag that has the colors in it. She mixes it and pulls it up in the air to show everybody what house I’m in and I got Amistad."

"We have friendly competitions,” Dean said, “but it’s all about being in one family and bringing the family atmosphere. The kids have an instant belonging to a group and an instant belonging to a team."

They also have a strong support system in Dean 

Karly says she has dyslexia and Ms. Dean has made all the difference in helping her succeed.

“I had problems with math and now I’m getting good at math because Ms. Dean has been helping me and explaining stuff."

Dean has left her mark on kids like Karly in more ways than one.

“I used something called a workshop model where I can individualize instruction for students. I don’t teach a whole group. I teach in small broken down groups. I try to break things down to where they are currently so I can help build on their strengths."

Dean added that her technique really helps students because “ sometimes they fall through the cracks if you teach a big group all at the same time. “

Building what she can, using all she can, singing and dancing her way through her kids’ hearts, "23 years of teaching... it’s a long time but I love what I do. "

If you’d like to see Dean perform, they meet several times a week at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston Harlequin Theatre. They’re planning an upcoming Christmas show.