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Missouri Association of Rural Education



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Middle School Teacher


When you ask members of the Otterville staff to describe Melissa Westphal, they use such words as intelligent, capable, dedicated, and a personable young woman.  She is quick on her feet, with sensible reactions in all the circumstances they see her in.

Mrs. Westphal is in her second year as the music instructor in the Otterville School District.  While many teachers might struggle with such a wide range of students throughout the day, Mrs. Westphal embraces the opportunity to share the love of music with so many kids.  Her enthusiasm, her innovativeness and her genuine concern for education are exemplary.  She brings an excitement and energy which is infectious to not only her students, but the entire staff.

Mrs. Westphal not only teaches music, she has taken on drama as an extracurricular duty and has directed a very successful spring play, with plans for a musical this fall.  In a small rural school district, coordinating the scheduling for the cast members, who are involved in many other activities, is an extraordinary feat.  Add to that a high quality production, and Mrs. Westphal then shows her true excellence.

Mrs. Westphal has had great success with showing the Otterville students excellence at contests and performances, she also takes the students’ talents out to the community and surrounding area to provide a performance for patrons at the Senior Center and local nursing homes.

Demonstrating a wonderful initiative and positive attitude toward accomplishment and her dedication to students setting high expectations for other educators to follow, makes it appropriate to congratulate Melissa Westphal as Missouri’s Outstanding Rural Middle School Teacher for the 2015-2016 school year.