South Tahoe teacher wins Outstanding Teachers of America award
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — South Tahoe High School teacher Melissa Berry recently was recognized as one of the top instructors in California.
Berry was awarded the 2019 Carlston Family Foundation Outstanding Teachers of America Awards.
“I was amazed, it’s not something I ever expected,” Berry told the Tribune.
Berry teaches psychology, world history and U.S. history at the high school, as well as a dual enrollment psychology class with Lake Tahoe Community College.
The Carlston Family Foundation honors five California teachers each year. The teacher must be nominated by a former student who is currently enrolled in, or has graduated from a four-year college.
After being nominated, the teacher is put through a rigorous process. Other students that span the teachers career are found and interviewed. Then the teacher is interviewed and someone from the foundation sits in on the teacher’s classes.
Berry is honored one of her former students nominated her.
“They went out of their way, years after I was their teacher,” Berry said. “It shows me that I made an impact.”
Berry said she “100% cares about the kids,” and strives to treat them like humans and tailor her teaching to their learning styles.
“When kids know you care about them, they’re more open to learning from you,” Berry said.
As part of the award, Berry is awarded $20,000, $15,000 belongs to her and $5,000 must be put back into the school.
Berry, who is a proud alumni herself from South Tahoe High, is using the money to develop a quad area where students can eat lunch, study and hang out. She has reached out to the boosters club and other stakeholders about getting volunteers to design and build the quad.
She is also given new training, and is a mentor in the foundation’s new teacher training program.
“It’s about improving the teaching profession,” Berry said.