USD 305 Honors Teachers

The Salina USD 305 school district is honoring its teachers of the year.

According to the district, Tina Layton, fourth grade teacher at Meadowlark Ridge Elementary School, and Melanie Hammond, science teacher at South High School, have been selected as USD 305 Teachers of the Year. The Salina Board of Education honored them at their regular meeting Tuesday. 

Elementary Teacher of the Year: Tina Layton, fourth grade teacher at Meadowlark Ridge Elementary School

Tina has a degree in music education and elementary education from Wichita State University. She holds an endorsement for English for Speakers of Other Languages. She began teaching at Northern Valley Schools in Almena, Kansas as a band teacher for two years before joining Meadowlark Ridge Elementary School (MLR). She has worked as science lab and writing lab teacher, at-risk reading teacher and for the past 16 years, she has taught fourth grade. She has been on a team that created English Language Arts units for fourth grade instruction, been a Benchmark Assessment System trainer, worked on the Elementary Curriculum Academy team, and contributed to USD 305 on numerous other teams. Tina is committed to education, to continuously adding to her own education and to continuously enhancing her student-centered instruction in her classroom.

“Tina continually engages in professional development and ongoing learning. She has excellent rapport with her students, colleagues and families,” said Deena Hilbig, MLR principal. “She takes her dedication to the profession beyond the classroom, offering tutoring for students at all grade levels in her spare time.”

Tina works very hard to build a solid relationship with her students. “I try to learn about my students through observation, sharing in class meetings and conversations,” she explained. “Every child is different and comes from a different home and background. When students need extra support, I make sure that I find that support whether it’s what I can do in the classroom or bringing in outside help.” Her students know that they are all valued and important in her classroom.

 Secondary Teacher of the Year: Melanie Hammond, science teacher at South High School

Melanie earned her bachelor’s and two master’s degrees from Kansas State University. She has taught science for 20 years at South High School while becoming certified as an English Language Learner, an assistant girl’s swim coach, sponsor of SADD, Big Brothers/Big Sisters and Student Council. She is a mentor teacher and a building representative for NEA-Salina.

Melanie enjoys working with at-risk students and makes sure each student feels loved and cared for. Her instruction incorporates real life examples and experiences that they can apply later in life. Melanie explains, “I try to build students’ problem-solving, critical thinking and argumentation skills so that they can be successful no matter what career path they choose.”

She greets her students at the door as they enter each day and creates a positive learning environment. She has excellent technology skills, is creative and is a positive influence in her school.

“Melanie genuinely cares, is enthusiastic and compassionate with her students,” explained Charles Kipp, South High School principal. “She makes every effort to support students’ continued growth and achievement.”

Melanie is a believer that learning never stops. This inspired her to pilot Standards Referenced Grading, otherwise known as measuring students’ mastery on well-defined objectives, at South High. Along with colleagues, she developed the multiple assessments for each standard, proficiency scales to measure students’ mastery and communications to build understanding.

Melanie wants people to know that teachers truly do care about the students they teach. “We don’t do it for the money, or because we couldn’t’ have done something different. We teach because it’s our passion.”

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USD 305 photo: Melanie Hammond (left) Tina Layton (Right)