At home in a new home
Rocio Meli was born in Mexico City and immigrated to the United States in July 1996. As difficult as it was to leave her family of eight with five siblings, Meli and her husband, Bruno, wanted the best future for their children. With no one to guide them, they fortuitously found their way to Castle Pines, where they started their new life. They have lived happily in the community for 25 years.
Meli has a degree in communication sciences with an emphasis in advertising from the Anahuac University in Mexico City. Upon her arrival to the U.S., she received a Spanish teaching license from the Colorado Department of Education followed later by a master’s degree and doctorate in education from Walden University.
Douglas County School District opened its doors to Meli with a professional opportunity in education in 1999. She began her career as an educational assistant at Buffalo
Ridge Elementary (BRE) then later had the privilege to create the Spanish program for preschool to sixth grade students.
A colleague mentioned to Meli that they had an opening for a Spanish teacher at Castle Rock Middle School (CRMS), and Meli applied for – and received the job. It was then that she discovered her love for education, and she has been a Spanish teacher ever since.
Today, Meli is a seventh and eighth grade Spanish teacher as well as an eighth grade English development teacher at CRMS. She is seen by her peers as a leader in the education sector and a teacher who goes beyond the classroom walls creating real world experiences for her students and helping those around her.
“She stands up for her students and is there for them and staff in the building” CRMS drama teacher Kendra Kaufmansaid. “She was a mentor teacher to me and gave me advice I still use today.”
Meli’s dedication to her students and community is second to none. She was recently nominated for a 2023 Colorado Teacher of the Year award and was one of seven finalists.
When Meli first received the email from Competitive Grant and Awards, she did not notice the subject line. Initially,she thought it was a joke. Opening and reading the email again, she thought, “What a good spam.” At final glance, Meli realized it was sincere.
“This nomination has helped me to truly see from an outside perspective the impact I’ve made, and I am so grateful for this nomination,” said Meli.
Each day, Meli delivers the best of herself to her students, as their mentor and as someone who makes a difference in
their lives. “I want to be that unconditional support for my students,” she said.
Meli said she has the best career in the world. Her teaching goes beyond Spanish and English; she teaches her students the important life lessons that will help them be successful beyond paper and pencil activities or tests. Her commitment is to advocate for the issues that are important to her students, find educational needs, and take steps to gain maximum support to meet those needs.
When not in the classroom, Meli enjoys spending time with her family, traveling with Bruno and cooking.
Twenty-five years later, the Melis love Castle Pines just as much as the day they moved in. The community has always made them feel welcome, and Meli is grateful her children had the opportunity to attend BRE, make lasting friendships, and take part in many activities.
“The peace in which we live is priceless. It is an honor to represent the Castle Pines community,” said Meli.
By Julie Matuszewski; photo courtesy of Rocio Meli