Melissa Rapp, a ninth-grade social studies teacher at Caesar Rodney High School in Camden, has been named Caesar Rodney School District’s Teacher of the Year for the 2016-2017 school year.
With 12 years of teaching experience, Melissa received a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education: History from West Chester University in Pennsylvania and a Masters of Secondary Education: Teaching and Learning from Wilmington University in Delaware.
Following her graduation from West Chester in 2002, Melissa began her teaching career at Octorara Middle School in Atglen, PA. In 2004, she began her teaching career in Delaware, first at the Jefferson School in Georgetown and then at Caesar Rodney High School in 2006.
When asked what factors influenced her to become a teacher, Melissa replied, “There is nothing more empowering than a sense of belonging. In high school, both my math teacher and history teacher made me feel like I belonged from the moment I walked into their classrooms.” Added Melissa, “I will never forget the day when I was asked to teach my teacher’s freshman algebra class. I felt empowered. This was what I was meant to do with my life. I clearly remember this experience because it was so validating; by giving me the chance to teach others, I had found my passion and calling in life.” Melissa continued, “My high school history teacher also inspired me to become an educator. When I chose to take AP U.S. History, a course with a highly competitive selection process, my teacher went to bat for me and fought for me to be included on the roster. When I asked he had fought to include me in the class, he said it was because I belonged there. I knew then that I wanted to create a classroom where my students would feel this same sense of belonging and value.”