6th grade Mesa elementary school teacher wins Gaydos and Chad’s teacher tribute

Sep 15, 2023, 8:00 PM

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PHOENIX — An elementary school teacher in Mesa was named KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Gaydos and Chad Show’s Pay Tribute to a Teacher winner for August, presented by Your Valley Toyota Dealers.

Melanie Newton teaches sixth grade at Marjorie Entz Elementary School in Mesa.

Like many teachers in the Valley, Newton has positively impacted her students (along with their parents) during her time teaching through innovative practices, which prompted one letter writer to nominate her for a $2,500 prize.

“She is an inspiration, and she deserves more than what she is earning as a teacher,” the letter writer said. “She could easily make a lot of money doing anything else. She is brilliant and talented, but her heart is in the classroom.”

The letter, which came from the mother of one of Newton’s former students, explained that the teacher went above and beyond standard expectations.

“My daughter had her a few year ago. She has Type 1 Diabetes, and Ms. Newton learned everything she could about diabetes so that my daughter could spend time in class and not the nurses office every day,” the letter said.

She is an instructor who teaches every child as if they were her own, the letter said.

Newton also has a garden outside of her classroom that she allows children to tend to if they’re having a bad day.

“What I’ve witnessed, and witnessed with my own kids, is some kids don’t have access to being outside in a garden or being close to animals, and I have witnessed how therapeutic that can be for kids and reminding them of who  they are and their value and their worth,” Newton said.

“So that’s been extremely important to me to have those moments.”

For Newton, instilling the confidence into students to be able to self-regulate and recognize when they need help is a rewarding experience.

The teacher said she plans on using the prize money to take her husband and four children on a mini-vacation and to add to her garden.

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6th grade Mesa elementary school teacher wins Gaydos and Chad’s teacher tribute