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Valinda School of Academics Language Immersion Educator Named 2024 Teacher of the Year

Valinda School of Academics Language Immersion Educator Named 2024 Teacher of the Year
Andrea Torres

Hacienda La Puente Unified’s Fany Melendez, a second-grade Dual Language Immersion (DLI) teacher at Valinda School of Academics, is the recipient of the 2024 Teacher of the Year award for her unwavering commitment to student success and her holistic approach to teaching, inspiring excellence in every aspect of her classroom.

Superintendent Dr. Alfonso Jiménez surprised Melendez with the exciting news on campus in April, barring flowers and handmade signs of support from students. He was accompanied by Assistant Superintendent of Education Services Dr. Rosa Isiah, Associate Superintendent of Business Services Manoj Roychowdhury, and Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Dr. John Lovato.

"Everyone at Valinda is extremely proud of Ms. Melendez and her phenomenal work as an educator, coach, and esteemed colleague," Principal Elizabeth Bermejo said. "She has dedicated her career to uplifting students and ensuring they are empowered to succeed, and she is well-deserving of this recognition."

With 13 years of dedicated service in education, Melendez is a passionate nurturer of students' academic and personal growth. She focuses many of her efforts on closing the achievement gap for language learners by incorporating the DLI curriculum into meaningful lessons that also support students' socio-emotional growth.

"I'm incredibly humbled to have been recognized as the Teacher of the Year," Melendez said. "Watching my students learn and grow their language skills in DLI is the most rewarding experience. I'm looking forward to continuing my efforts to encourage them to thrive and provide them with the wonderful academic experience they deserve." 

Melendez devotes additional time after school hours and on weekends to various campus activities and initiatives aimed at enhancing the learning experience for all students. Some of these extracurricular activities include coaching the award-winning First Lego League Robotics team, "The Robolts," and leading the Science Olympiad team. 

Beyond her leadership in campus clubs, she also serves as a School Site Council member and lead teacher for the New Pedagogies for Deep Learning (NPDL) initiative across Valinda. These contributions include participating in professional development training and collaborating with colleagues to enhance learning experiences through real-world lesson plans. 

Each year, Melendez and her students explore various non-profit organizations, conservations, charities, and causes to raise awareness across the school community. During the 2022-23 school year, she and her students organized a school fundraiser to raise funds for the World Wildlife Fund. This year, her class increased public awareness about sea turtles by developing informational posters and encouraging the use of reusable bags, which were displayed across her classroom door and discussed with families during Open House. 

Looking ahead, Melendez said she is determined to further her professional development by continuing her involvement with NPDL and creating new partnerships with community members from the City of La Puente. She also aims to pursue an administrative credential with the goal of becoming a school principal.

"We applaud Fany Melendez for believing in our students and their capability to achieve anything they set their minds to," Superintendent Dr. Alfonso Jimenez said. "She represents what we are most proud of as a District, and that's a community dedicated to nurturing the potential of every student."

In the upcoming 2024-25 school year, HLPUSD will introduce Dual Language Immersion for its TK learners, providing the Valiant early learners with enhanced awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and core curriculum in both English and Spanish. Please visit Valinda's registration webpage to learn more about DLI and apply today. 




HLPUSD_TOY1: Hacienda La Puente Unified administrators celebrate second-grade Dual Language Immersion educator Fany Melendez being named HPUSD’s 2024 District Teacher of the Year with a surprise announcement in April.

HLPUSD_TOY2: Second-grade Dual Language Immersion teacher Fany Melendez and Valinda School of Academics Principal Elizabeth Bermejo celebrate another successful year of New Pedagogies for Deep Learning during a Spring showcase on May 2.

HLPUSD_TOY3: Fany Melendez and the Valinda School of Academics robotics team ‘The Robolts’ earn high rankings at a First Lego League Tournament during the 2023-24 school year.