Dec 6, 2023
Topic: My Why
Melanie Serevo became a teacher after she experienced first-hand the impact that teachers had on her and she wanted to give that same sense of success to other students who were struggling. “I felt like no one wanted to help me become a more successful student. Some days, I would turn in my homework half completed because I didn’t understand how to do it. Once I went to college and things were explained to me in different ways to help me understand the curriculum, I knew I wanted to be a teacher like the ones I had at the university I attended,” said Serevo.
Serevo received her bachelor’s degree in early childhood education at Northern Illinois University. She went on to receive her ESL (English as a second language) endorsement and her special education endorsement at National Louis University. Right out of school, she began in the district as a teacher in the “preschool for all” program. She has been with the district for 15 years, leaving for a short stint to work in another district. She is currently a preschool “specials” teacher at Tarkington Elementary School and Hawthorne Early Childhood School, which allows her to support teachers with planning time and to aid special needs students.
The success she sees in others brings a huge smile to her face as she recalls an autistic student who was wandering around the classroom aimlessly until she put together a visual schedule for the student. She taught the child how to communicate with the teacher and worked with the family by conducting multiple visits at their home and supporting them in various ways. “It’s so rewarding to see this student now in the general education population. The student is out in the community and not in a sheltered environment anymore,” she states. That’s success.
“I feel that same support given back to me at the district. The staff has always been so helpful. I’ve learned so much here about how to teach different types of students. It’s really elevated my teaching skills,” said Serevo.
Outside of work, Serevo spends time with her daughter and enjoys reading. District 21 is especially grateful for this “specials” teacher who has given so much to her students.