Merrillville High School Advance Placement Teacher of the Year

Merrillville-High-School-Advance-Placement-Teacher-of-the-Year-2018Melissa Sickinger, A/P TIP (Advanced Placement-Teacher Investment Program) was recently named the Indiana Teacher of the Year winner. Melissa Sickinger embodies characteristics of a truly great teacher. During an award ceremony at Notre Dame University on November 2 nd , Melissa received this award. The criteria focused around the amount of testing students, the student scores, as well as the work with her mentor and coach. Melissa thanked her students, support system through A/P TIP, as well as MHS.

Throughout her career, her fervor for learning new techniques, gaining new perspectives, and implementing new materials in the classroom simply has not faded. Melissa’s spirit breathes life into every lesson by successfully blending academic demands and the students’ real-life interests. She actively seeks opportunities to help her grow as a teacher and fearlessly tries anything new. This attitude leads to many engaging, meaningful moments for her students. She never, ever passes the opportunity that will strengthen her lesson. At a clothing store, she once purchased a book of 1950’s advertisements to help teach rhetorical analysis. Her mind idles in teacher mode even while in a check- out line browsing the impulse counter. Regardless of the specific literature, advertisement, or novel, she scaffolds her students to reach a high depth of knowledge while honing their skills.

Melissa balances rigor and relevance in the classroom all while sincerely being herself with each and every student. Making connections to her family, listening to students’ stories, asking them meaningful questions, knowing the latest teenage craze, and even admitting she does not have all the answers molds Melissa into a memorable teacher. She demands responsibility like a parent, laughs like a friend, provides comfort like a counselor, and most importantly teaches like a tutor---striving to meet all needs of all students.