Dear Mountain View School Board,

Teaching is in my blood. From the early age of 5, with grandma’s red high heels, I played school in the basement of my tiny house in Columbus, Ohio. I was the lucky one. I knew my destiny: I’d become a teacher someday, and no one was going to stop me.

I’ve taught eight years. Statistics say after teaching five years, you’ve made it! Teachers who quit do so within 1-5 years. Not once in eight years have I seriously considered switching careers. However, this has been my toughest year, and those thoughts have crossed my mind. For nine months a year, I sweat, cry, laugh, and absolutely love all my children. I have one child, but every year I adopt 100-plus more.

I knew when marrying my husband, we’d be moving around for a couple years. We were strategic about duty stations as we knew we wanted to end up settling in the West. I’ve taught in the South, Midwest, and now Grangeville. Instantly, we fell in love with this community and school.

I’ve seen some of the best educators across the United States, and some of the worst. I’ve worked for some of the best leaders, and some of the worst. Our district’s teachers are dedicated, passionate, and talented.

The March board meeting was emotionally challenging for teachers, board members, parents, and community members. I cried while driving home. I cried for this community: not my salary, health benefits, or contractual hours. I left deflated, saddened, and deeply concerned for our schools. Colleagues are the reason I’ve been able to push through this year. Through all this ugliness, they’ve supported me, and most importantly, supported our students.

Thanks for agreeing to meet with two of our union members. With all my heart, I ask that you please make a decision based on what’s best for our community! It’s not a secret that people work harder when they feel respected and valued. Education is the foundation of every community. Invest in us (the educators) and in the end, you’ll reap the benefits.

This community is one big family, so it’s time for everyone to swallow pride, start fresh, and make decisions for our future.

With much appreciation,

Melissa Steele

Grangeville middle school teacher

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