Melanie Falcon, a Science/STEM teacher at Smoky Valley Middle School, is the 2020 Smoky Valley IMPACT Teacher.
Falcon is the second recipient of this new award presented by the USD 400 SmokyValley school district and the Smoky Valley Education Foundation. Glen Suppes, superintendent of schools, stated that “Melanie’s work with students at Smoky Valley has been tremendous. She has challenged her middle school students to take an active and engaged role in their learning and her kids have responded. She is a great mentor, leader and advocate for science education!”
The IMPACT Teacher award is intended to honor members of the Smoky Valley educational staff who are outstanding teachers and have demonstrated leadership and support of the district’s mission. Recipients also exemplify service outside of the school system through volunteerism and advocacy in the Smoky Valley community.
Falcon earned her BS in Biology and Secondary Education from Fort Hays State University. She has thirteen years of teaching experience and began working in the Smoky Valley school system in the fall of 2017. Her prior teaching duties were in USD 112 Central Plains as a science teacher at Wilson Jr/Sr High School. At Smoky Valley Middle School, Falcon leads the science instruction and programming for 7th and 8th grade students. She is instrumental in the development of the WILD Club which is a co-curricular student club providing enrichment experiences and competitive academic teams for students to explore. Middle school students, under Melanie’s sponsorship and mentorship, participate in ECO-Meet and Science Olympiad competitions across Kansas as well as after school and summer science/STEM projects as members of the STEM Club. Falcon provides leadership and support for the Lindsborg Recreation Department’s Summer Science Camp, a program providing hands-on and engaging science and STEM activities for Lindsborg youth each summer.
Falcon brings high quality curriculum and instructional practices to Smoky Valley. She earned “Master Teacher” status in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Storylines program and Next Generation Science Exemplar Program. Falcon teaches and supports science instructors from across the region at workshops and conferences in learning how to implement the most current science standards and instructional practices in their own classrooms.
Falcon has been honored and recognized for her outstanding work as a Kansas public educator over the years. Some of her most notable accomplishments include:
• 2016 Kansas ECO-Meet State Champion Coach
• 2018 Kansas Association of Environmental Education (KACEE) Award
• 2018 Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators
• 2019 Outstanding Regional Science Olympiad Coach
• 2019 Kansas Association of Teachers of Science (KATS) Region II
Outstanding Educator Award
Outside of her school duties, Falcon has positively impacted the Smoky Valley community by volunteering her time and energy for numerous Lindsborg community festivals, programs and celebrations. She coaches baton twirling and her students are often performing at community-wide events. Melanie is also affectionately known as the “Snake Whisperer” as she often is called upon by friends and neighbors to relocate reptiles of all kinds from yards, sheds and the like.