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Missouri Association of Rural Education



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Rural Building Administrator


Melanie Rucker has dedicated the past seven years as an elementary school principal in the Chillicothe R-II school district.  Mrs. Rucker has made an enormous impact on the lives of students and the staff at the Central Elementary School.  From the first day of school, she makes students feel welcomed and available.  Not a day goes by that she is not greeting students at the door.

Melanie is described as one that is dedicated, driven, compassionate, open to new ideas, and visionary.   She has dedicated herself to student improvement, her commitment to excellence, and a desire to do things better than just “good enough.”  In Mrs. Rucker’s dedication to student improvement she has worked to implement strategies that she knows to be best practice at Central.  She attends every meeting to talk about student achievement using AIMSweb testing.  She gives advice, takes notes, and remembers details for each student who is discussed.  She uses her expertise from the classroom and her knowledge of research-based strategies to help teachers give their best to students.  When various changes or requirements come out, Central Elementary has generally already been preparing or following the new standards.

An organized administrator, Mrs. Rucker puts a lot of thought into her planning and carries out that plan in the building.  An example of this was when Melanie recommended PALS (Peer Assisted Learning Strategies) to the teachers at Central.  Knowing that this program was a research-based method of helping kids to read and comprehend better, teachers were given the materials and support to implement the program throughout the building.

Something that Mrs. Rucker provides the Chillicothe school and community goes beyond the area of academics.  She is familiar with each student and that student’s home life, struggles, and particular achievements. 

One that is committed to excellence and stresses that it is not only enough for a student to master math and reading,  but encourages and supports students to grow as individuals and leaders makes Melanie Rucker deserving as Missouri’s Outstanding Rural Building Administrator for the 2015-2016 school year.