Melissa Valley: Teaching Multilingual Students is a Calling 

This post is part of the Lynden Schools Staff Spotlight series

For nearly three decades Melissa Valley has passionately taught students at Lynden Schools. For the past few years, she’s directed that passion toward collaborating with colleagues to craft top-level experiences for the district’s multilingual learners in grades six through 12. She loves the schoolwide impact. 

The Role

As the district’s multilingual learner coordinator for grades six through 12 for the past three years, Valley collaborates with middle and high school teachers, paraeducators, counselors and administrators to support multilingual students and their families. She’s busy developing systems of support, assisting teachers with instructional practices and developing learning opportunities. 

“I love being an educator,” she says. “Teaching is my calling, my vocation; it’s not just a job.” 

Valley says that for many years she loved being in the classroom—since 1995 she taught English/language arts and social studies, mostly at Lynden Middle School—working with the students on everything from reading and writing to discussing ideas and asking questions to developing a positive and supportive learning community. “I continue to have the opportunity to do this as I facilitate the Young Authors Club at LMS,” she says. “I am inspired and encouraged by the creativity and enthusiasm of middle school writers.” 

Her new position has her spending more time working with adults, but her role now impacts the experiences of students in classrooms beyond just her own. “I thrive when I can reflect and grow in my teaching practice through collaboration and shared learning with colleagues,” she says. “I am a curious person who is energized by listening to people’s stories and experiences, by exploring new ideas and engaging in collaborative problem solving.” 

Getting to Know Melissa

Family, the outdoors and hobbies help rejuvenate and fill Valley with joy, she says. Valley has two adult sons she enjoys spending time with when they visit, and family vacations on the Oregon coast are especially memorable. She enjoys any extended family gatherings full of food, laughter, games, walks and bonfires. Valley also has a variety of personal interests that she makes part of her routine, whether being in nature, reading poetry and novels, journaling and letter writing or trying out new recipes and baking cookies.