Mansfield Public Schools Teacher of the Year Melissa Batulevitz, a State Semi-Finalist, Honored by Board of Education, Peers, and Students
Melissa Batulevitz, Literacy Coach at Mansfield Middle School, was celebrated by her peers at Convocation at the start of this school year as the 2024 Mansfield Teacher of the Year. She was also recognized by the Board of Education at their meeting in October. Ms Batulevitz has taught for 15 years, including 12 years at Mansfield Public Schools.
For the fourth consecutive year, the Mansfield Teacher of the Year was also selected among the top ten semi-finalists in the state, too. Ms Batulevitz, like Kate Harbec in 2023, Kim King in 2022 and Ashley Rancourt in 2021, was named among the top teachers in the state’s program for Teacher of the Year. She will be honored as a State Semi-Finalist by the Connecticut Department of Education at a ceremony in Hartford in November.
Ms Batulevitz was selected as Mansfield’s Teacher of the Year in late spring from among 27 nominees across the district by school leaders and her peers. She is described as having “infectious enthusiasm for teaching”. In her role as Literacy Coach, she collaborates with grade 5 to 8-level teaching teams and individual teachers across the school. As a coach to other teachers, she says, “the most exciting part is when teachers want to try something new, and they want me to be a part of it. I love the process of brainstorming together, co-teaching, witnessing student mastery, and most importantly, seeing their excitement grow as they add a new tool to their teaching toolbox.”
Her optimism and passion led her to creating the highly successful student-led writing center at Mansfield Middle School. The goal of the center, according to her application, was “to create a space where all writers can feel safe and receive the support they need.” Students “are taught to learn from their experiences and develop a growth mindset, viewing every opportunity as a chance to learn, improve, and grow.” The center also works to build trusting adult and peer-to-peer relationships among the students.
Ms Batulevitz is also on the Teacher-Leader team at MMS, and was featured in a video produced by the district in 2021 about, “Cutting Edge Teaching and Learning.” She enjoys supporting students in pursuing their personal interests, and assisted with establishment of a Student Newspaper Club as well as a Writing Center Club.
In her remarks to fellow staff at the beginning of school, Melissa shared, ”We need to foster an atmosphere that encourages continuous growth so everyone has the opportunity to become the best possible versions of themselves. This means that we continue to hold the highest standards for ourselves, each other, and our students. We acknowledge that the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. The only way that those dreams become a reality is if we conquer our fears, challenge our potential, and encourage others to do the same.”