Castle Park Middle Teacher Melissa Rains Named
San Diego County Teacher of the Year
Melissa Rains, Science Teacher from Castle Park Middle School was named one of the five San Diego County Teachers of the Year at the 32nd annual “Cox Presents: Salute to Teachers” event.
Rains and four of her San Diego County teacher honoree counterparts were announced at a reception Friday, August 26 as part of the annual Techer of the Year recognition program that honors teachers of the year for all San Diego County. The event was hosted by the San Diego County Office of Education, COX Communications, in partnership with San Diego County Credit Union.
Students in Melissa Rains’ science class are greeted with a daily “Question of the Day” designed to gauge how they are feeling coming into class. The answers guide the first topic of conversation when class begins, and the group segues into a “mindful moment” before the science lesson of the day. Melissa believes that her connection with her students is the foundation from which they can explore and appreciate science.
“As a County Teacher of the Year, I see myself as a representative not just of the work that I am doing, but also of the work the other 24,000 teachers in the county are doing,” said Rains. “Within our own district, five teachers were nominated, and each of them deserves their own recognition for the powerful work they are doing with students. I see myself more as a spokesperson for our collective efforts rather than just my single efforts as the sense of community we have here in South Bay is one of our greatest strengths.”
For the past six years, Rains has lead Castle Park Middle’s Social Emotional Learning (SEL) program. This year, she will merge her work with her colleagues who are implementing other initiatives to transform how education is designed and delivered for students at Castle Park Middle.
“This last year in teaching was one of the hardest of my career,” said Rains. “This recognition sent the message that even though I found a lot of struggle in my year as a teacher, what I did still mattered to my students, their families, and our community. Hearing the recognition for the hard work we all put into ensuring our schools are safe learning spaces where students feel like they belong, can help make us more resilient as we face the challenges of the current state of education.”
“The Sweetwater District truly is defined by the quality of our teachers, both their classroom instruction and the culture they create as role models and leaders,” Dr. Moises Aguirre, Sweetwater District Superintendent said. “We’re so proud of Ms. Rains and all our educators.”