Nominated by fellow teacher, Sarah Carlson:

I am an educator that has had the privilege of working with 1st grade teacher Meriah Shelton at Horizon Christian Elementary School in Tualatin.

Meriah has been teaching for 7 years and exemplifies the model of teaching the "whole child". She not only teaches core subject material but emotional intelligence as well. She actively uses "love and logic" to help her students grow.

Meriah also guides the young minds in her class to reach out into the community. Her students wanted to help children in Africa keep safe from malaria, so they did a car wash to raise money for them. She also reaches out to other teachers. She constantly shares materials and ideas with anyone who might ask. She listens, supports, and guides new teachers as well,

I cannot say enough about what a wonderful teacher Meriah is. While she guides her students to be the best they can be academically, emotionally, and spiritually, she also takes the time to reach out to other teachers.

Congratulations Meriah, from all of us at K103!

What inspired you to become an educator?

I became a teacher because I have always known I wanted to help kiddos figure out who they are supposed to be; to explore what unique gifts and skills they possess. We are all gifted and talented; it’s just a matter of learning how. My job is to shine a light on it.

What do you like most about teaching?

I would say character education is a hallmark of my classroom and my favorite part of teaching. I love helping students learn to relate to each other and be related to! Being a true friend and classmate is not always easy. I want to help my students learn the skills they need to succeed in life, which starts in first grade!

What has changed the most since you began your career in education?

I would say exposure. Kids now are exposed to all kinds of hurts and fears which 10 years ago would not have been in their heads or hearts. Tragedies like Sandy Hook have forever changed school for these little ones. Our job as teachers to shelter and protect has grown increasingly difficult and heartbreaking.

What would you like parents to know about your job?

I would like parents to know that I have the best job in the world. That does not mean it is easy though. There are days when I am tired, weary and quite frankly, not at my best. Thank you for showing me your compassion and support even on those days. And always, please share your heart with me so I can better help your little one reach their full potential.

Share a favorite story about your years in education.

A favorite story… boy this is hard. There are so many. Picking just one, I would share about a time I took my kids out to play in the snow. As teachers we can become so bogged down in the “have to’s” that we miss the wonder of experiencing childhood with our students. One little girl grabbed my hand, looked up and said in a whisper, “it is just a frozen miracle.” And it was. Rachael Carson said, “If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in.” She was right, and it’s true for us adults as well. My students do this for me every day.