Ritenour High School Teacher Christina Andrade Melly Named 2023 Missouri Teacher of the Year
Christina Andrade Melly, an English teacher at Ritenour High School (RHS) in the Ritenour School District, was selected by a committee of her peers and education partners across the state as the 2023 Missouri Teacher of the Year. She becomes the 54th Missouri Teacher of the Year since the program’s inception in 1957.
Melly sees success in the classroom when her students are able to help drive learning themselves and take ownership of their education. A graduate of the Ritenour School District and a first-generation American, she earned her Bachelor of Arts in English and Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education at the University of Missouri-Columbia before returning to teach at her alma mater. She believes in the power of connection to uplift our schools and communities. To that end, Melly serves as a mentor in the district teacher induction and Grow Your Own programs, coach emeritus of the speech and debate team, and English department chair.
“I am the best teacher on the days I learn from students,” said Melly. “It takes a lot of practice and courage to reach those days, but the lessons that define me as a teacher have student choice, voice, and experiences at the center; this creates shared ownership of our learning.”
Melly has spent her entire educational career in Ritenour, starting as a kindergarten student at Wyland and continuing in Ritenour schools until she graduated in 2006. She has been teaching at RHS for the last 11 years.
“Missouri is fortunate to have so many passionate, dedicated educators, and Christina is certainly one of those shining stars in our state,” said Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven. “Christina’s approach to student-centric learning not only provides her students an inclusive learning environment, but also creates space for her students to learn how to find their own path to success. As we try to find a solution to teacher recruitment and retention, Christina stands as an example of how important it is to grow our students to become the next generation of teachers.”
She uses writing to amplify her students’ voices, including publishing their experiences in writing through the National Council of Teachers of English Journal. In the words of Dr. Maya Angelou, Melly “would like to be known as an intelligent woman, a courageous woman, a loving woman, a woman who teaches by being." She resides in University City with her husband and two children.
“It is an incredible honor to celebrate Christina as the Missouri Teacher of the Year,” said Ritenour Superintendent Dr. Chris Kilbride. “She is very deserving of this honor. Her unmatched positive attitude and her passion for helping all of her students recognize the special talents and abilities within themselves is an inspiration to everyone.”
Melly will serve as Missouri’s representative in the National Teacher of the Year program. She will be honored during DESE’s Teacher of the Year recognition event in Jefferson City on Monday, Oct. 17, along with the other finalists, semi-finalists and Regional Teachers of the Year.
Melly is one of five Ritenour teachers who have been recognized for excellence at the state level in the past decade. She is Ritenour’s second state teacher of the year in the past five years. She joins Beth Davey, the 2018 Missouri Teacher of the Year and a national finalist with the U.S. Department of Education when she was a music teacher at Iveland Elementary; Sheneé McCoy, a 2020 Regional Teacher of the Year when she was a teacher at Kratz Elementary; Dr. Michael Dragoni, a finalist for Missouri Teacher of the Year in 2015 when he was an art teacher at Buder Elementary; and Jim Anians, a 2013 state finalist when he was an English Language Arts teacher at Hoech Middle School.