I’m a 2022 Candidate for the New Hanover County School Board.
I’m Melissa Mason, and I’m running to make positive change in our schools. I was raised in a Christian lower middle class home in Upstate New York. I attended public school for the entirety of my childhood. I knew that I wanted to be a mother my whole life and realized that I also wanted to be an educator when I was a teenager. I graduated high school in 1997 and went on to attend Nazareth College, specializing as a Teacher of the Speech and Hearing Handicapped. While in college, I also participated in a Deaf Studies program at Rochester Institute of Technology/National Technical Institute for the Deaf (RIT/NTID) and completed the associated certificate program. My graduate degree in Deaf Education was completed at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York.
My Experience as an Educator
Shortly after completing my graduate degree, I began my 13-year career as a Speech Therapist at Rochester School for the Deaf. I worked one on one with deaf students, ranging from ages 5 to 21, who had Individualized Education Plans (IEPs). These plans assisted students with a variety of needs that included: language delays impacting reading skills, English as a second language, and communication/expressive language skills. I also worked with teachers to best meet the individual needs of the students within their classrooms. Yearly assessments were done to monitor overall progress as well as quarterly assessments to monitor benchmark achievements. In collaboration with teachers, parents, and older students, we created achievable and agreed upon goals. We worked together as a team to complete these goals.
Currently, I teach at Cape Fear Community College as an American Sign Language Instructor. The past four years in this position has given me a new perspective on higher education and has pushed me to expand my horizons.
Our Schools Lack Leadership
In this time of turmoil, New Hanover County Schools should be a safe haven for families. Instead, there have been inconsistencies in the honesty, integrity, and implementation of standards within our present leadership.
As an Army wife, mother, and educator, I have acquired a variety of leadership skills. A dedicated mom and community member, I consistently volunteer and have served in various leadership positions. Flexibility is also a vital quality of leadership. As a military spouse, I exemplify that quality in each aspect of my life.
I decided to run for the school board because the breakdown in communication between the school board, students, parents, teachers, staff, and taxpayers was evident. As one community, we should be unified in our goal: to see all students achieve and succeed in whatever area of academics they may choose.