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Melissa DeLoach has a unique opportunity to work with some of the top students in Spartanburg County. It’s one she doesn’t take for granted.

As an AP English teacher and the director of the Spartanburg Scholars Academy, De Loach leads the early college program at USC Upstate that has provided gifted students with accelerated learning opportunities for 10 years.

“I am a writer and a reader – avidly – and have been my whole life,” DeLoach said. “I knew I wanted to talk about books all day. I love personal writing and I knew I wanted to teach kids to love it, too. I’m a planner and an organizer. Planning lessons was right up my alley.”

DeLoach taught at Saluda High School and then at Dorman High School before earning her Master’s degree in administration at Converse College. While serving as an assistant principal at Dorman, the Scholars Academy began and she was asked to be the director. It was the perfect opportunity to mix her love of teaching with her gift of organization.

“I missed teaching,” she said. “I was able to help build the program. The fact that we are here 10 years later, I am just blessed.”

As an English teacher, DeLoach gets to help prepare students for what they will need in their college classes and beyond.

“I can make sure they have everything they need – those reading, writing and research experiences that they will need for all of their classes,” she said. “They will be ready when they graduate.”

In a large class, DeLoach said it is difficult to work individually with students to keep them moving forward as they write.

“I do out of class writing conferences and I require that,” she said. “A few minutes face to face really helps the student find a new avenue. I always find the positive. It’s all in the approach with students, but it’s also in finding that one-on-one time. It doesn’t take money. It takes planning and it takes time. If you believe they can succeed, you will find the time.”

Nomination excerpt

“Ms. DeLoach is an advocate for every student. ... She has many students but she is available to each of us when we need to ask her questions. Ms. DeLoach makes learning interesting by using technology and giving us every opportunity to ask her questions if we need help. She believes that we can succeed.”

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