Teacher of the Year
Highland Elementary School
Corona-Norco Unified School District
Not many teachers can say they are teaching at the same school they attended when they were a student. But, for Melanie Oliver, becoming a teacher at Highland Elementary in her hometown of Norco has been her dream since she was a third grade student there. Oliver teaches her students to embrace their community by writing letters to veterans in the hospital, connecting with local businesses, engaging with government leaders, and more. She lives out her commitment to the community by attending students’ soccer games and musical performances. Her mindset is based on the idea that “the words we speak to children have the potential to echo in their hearts and minds for years after the words and beliefs we share about them have left our lips.” In October, Melanie was named by State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Torlakson, as one of only eight semifinalists in the California State Teacher of the Year competition.