March 18, 2022
Denver, Colorado – An unwavering commitment to the young people in her community, steadfast support of her colleagues and a courageous approach to leadership were just a few of the many reasons Melody Means of the YMCA of Metropolitan Denver and co-principal at Wyatt Academy, has been named BellXcel’s 2021 Educator of the Year. She is the first Colorado educator to receive this recognition from BellXcel. As a leading national youth development expert, BellXcel evaluates thousands of educators nationwide for that outstanding educator dedicated to helping children reach their full potential.
As an educator serving hundreds of scholars during the summer through the YMCA of Metropolitan Denver’s Power Scholars Academy (PSA) program, Melody best exemplified the core values that inspire BellXcel’s award – excellence, learning, respect, courage and collaboration. The PSA program produces measurable outcomes in improving education readiness and academic achievement over the summer for underserved students in K-5th at four schools in Denver and in the Cherry Creek School District.
“Melody has been an integral part of the YMCA’s Power Scholars Program at Wyatt Academy for many years. She has been an advocate from the very beginning who strongly believes in the work that the Y is doing to close the achievement gap in our Denver Community. We are grateful for her dedication in fostering healthy, confident and resilient changemakers,” remarked Sue Glass, President and CEO, YMCA of Metropolitan Denver.
Dr. Lauren Sanchez Gilbert, CEO of BellXcel remarked, “It is my great honor to present this award to a woman that embodies the total essence of the BellXcel Educator of the Year. To hear the words shared by her colleagues as they nominated her for this deserving recognition was inspiring. It is undeniable - the impact Melody Means has made on youth is significant, and it extends far greater to include her fellow teachers, families and the community at-large.”
During the school year, Melody is also co-principal at Wyatt Academy. Her summer and school-year counterpart, Sarah Grant, has worked alongside Melody for the past 8 years and shared, “Melody sets high expectations for teachers, students and community members. She believes in the potential that students have and encourages them to challenge themselves so that they can reach their full potential.” Speaking to Melody’s courage and commitment to growth mindset, Sarah added, “She is always pushing herself to learn and grow and even now is pursuing a Master’s degree and additional licensure. She is a black woman leading in a space that has hundreds of years of systemic racism – this in and of itself takes courage.”
About the YMCA of Metropolitan Denver
The YMCA of Metropolitan Denver is dedicated to the health and well-being of all. As a catalyst to transform lives and communities, our programs are embedded throughout metro Denver in wellness centers and through partnerships with other nonprofits and community-serving agencies. The YMCA’s Power Scholars Academy produces measurable outcomes in improving education readiness and academic achievement over the summer for underserved students in K-5th at four schools in Denver and in the Cherry Creek School District. For more information, visit www.denverymca.org.
As a national youth development expert, BellXcel builds the capacity of youth-serving organizations to run high-quality programs through an evidence-based software solution. Combining program management with whole child curriculum, social and emotional learning, expansive professional development and coaching, BellXcel brings all the ingredients together in one place. For more information, visit www.bellxcel.org.