Editorials: The head of the teaching class

At a time when teacher performance has come under greater scrutiny and unions have become entrenched in district budget battles, it may be easy to forget that in the midst of it all, there are educators who continue to perform admirably.

Meet Melissa Ann Pamperin, a fifth-grade teacher at Miller Elementary School who was chosen this year as Burbank Unified's teacher of the year.

It was her attention to the individual student that her peers say makes her stand out. Arriving on days off to have one-on-one meetings with students, leaving personal handwritten notes in desks with words of encouragement — or condolences when a family pet dies — these are the hallmarks of an educator who takes her role in these young lives seriously.

These sorts of success stories set the tone for learning early on, and that can only encourage the youngsters as they graduate into more challenging classroom environments.

Pamperin's ingenuity and obvious passion for her all-important job serve as a role model for her peers, and a reminder to the community that there's more to education than union battles and teacher evaluations.

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