Melissa grew up in the small college town of Claremont, California. She is the youngest of three siblings. Her parents were educators in the Pomona Unified School District; her mother a reading specialist with two published children’s books, and her father the first African-American Superintendent from 1976 to 1993.
Melissa migrated to Long Beach, California to attend college at California State University, Long Beach in 1982. She graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Criminal Justice, a Minor in Spanish, and later a Master’s degree in Social Work.
Melissa had a 27-year career in the California Youth Authority, later named the Division of Juvenile Justice. Here she developed and poured out her passion for youth via a deep commitment to service and restorative justice. She was tireless in her efforts to heal youth, families and the communities of those she touched.
Melissa is the mother of two daughters and two step-sons. She is grandmother to one grandson. Three of her four children were educated in LBUSD schools, and Melissa has always been an active parent-advocate for their best interests in all things relative to their school experiences (in and out of the classroom). Her stepson is a graduate of Lakewood High School. Her daughters are graduates of Polytechnic High School. Melissa is very grateful for the experiences and preparation these institutions provided her children.
Retirement has not halted her commitment to youth nor her community. Melissa volunteers with Help Me Help You, which is a local food distribution agency. She is a Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for the LA County Dependency Court, and she is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.® (www.aka1908.com) where she has been active in service for 26 years.
*Lastly... Melissa has been a substitute teacher for the Long Beach Unified School District for the past 7 years.
“My objective is simple, to discern how decisions made can and will best benefit students, educators, and the LBUSD. This in turn improves the community and the city in which I live.”