Recently, Carrboro awarded the Teacher of the Year title to Melissa Barry. In Barry’s sixth year teaching at CHS, she finds this award a true honor as it represents a place and profession that are both close to her heart.

Some spend all their lives searching for their true passion or calling in life. For Barry, she always knew she wanted to become a teacher.

“When I walked into my first day of preschool in the Bronx, I knew that [teaching] was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life,” said Barry.

Barry received her undergraduate degree in psychology from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ and went on to earn a Masters in Parent Education and Family Support from Wheelock College in Boston, MA. Her career in teaching began with early childhood education and elementary education, and Barry now finds her love for teaching in special education at CHS.

Melissa Barry, CHS Teacher of the Year, plays volleyball with her student, Samantha Mpozampirwe. Photo by Mireille Leone

In working at CHS, Barry most appreciates the sense of community. According to Barry, everyone possesses valuable qualities and skill sets, and Carrboro’s close-knit community provides the ability to nurture this sense of value through education.

“To me, that is what education is all about: the ability to foster a sense of com- munity,” said Barry.

In all professions and paths of life, people learn from role models or sources of inspiration that help shape their interests and who they become. Two of Barry’s most significant role models include her first grade teacher and her high school calculus teacher. To this day, she can recall their first and last names without hesitation, demonstrating the impact both teachers had on Barry as she pursued her passion in education.

“I was always attuned to the profession,” said Barry. “Along the way I have found people that inspire me and that I aspire to be more like.”

Barry loves that teaching is full of creative license with priceless opportunities to develop something new every day. In her six years at Carrboro, Barry has only repeated one lesson plan, truly maximizing her use of creativity in teaching curriculum.

With her accomplishments in teaching, Barry continues to work toward new goals to improve her teaching as well as the overall learning environment at CHS.

“I hope that I do a really good job of creating a classroom community where my students feel valued and respected,” said Barry. “I want to be able to translate that equally well with the staff in a way that they feel their visions and goals can be a force to shape our community.”

About Anna Reeb

The only nice person on the JagWire staff.