Faculty Spotlight: Melanie Bocarro

Melanie Bocarro is the Agility Lab Reading Specialist who delivers support services to students and supplies strategies to classroom teachers and is an important resource to MSR. She just entered her second year at MSR as both a parent and a faculty member. She is pictured here with her husband, Jason and children, Mia and Liam. We sat down with Melanie to find out how she spent her summer and a little bit more about her!

Tell us about your summer!
Summers are a time for me to spend quality time with my family – my husband, Jason and our two children Mia (8) and Liam (5). We spent a week in Florida with my big family (I’m the oldest of six children!), and a week in Kiawah Island relaxing with my in-laws. In between these two trips, our days were filled with swim team, library visits, and visiting friends whom we rarely see during the school year.

Tell us a bit more about yourself!
1. What three traits define you?
Dedicated, Positive, Loving

2. What is your personal philosophy?
I try to live my life by the Golden Rule, “Treat others the way that you would like to be treated.” I believe in treating everyone with kindness, respect, and empathy.

3. What are you listening to/reading these days?
I love reading, and I usually have some type of novel at hand at all times. I tend to become enthralled with a particular genre and then read voraciously for a while before switching. I am reading a lot of historical fiction lately such as The Nightingale and All the Light We Cannot See.

4. Do you have any pets? What kind?
No pets yet! I do see a dog in our future though! 🙂

5. What is your favorite thing to do on the weekend?
Our weekends are usually very busy with activities for our kids, but we try to make time, usually on Sundays to hike as a family. We have so many “hidden gem” hikes around the Triangle that my family loves. It is a wonderful way to experience peace and mindfulness during our otherwise busy weeks.

6. Where is the best place you’ve traveled to and why?
Definitely Africa. My husband and I traveled to Tanzania, Zanzibar, and Kenya on our honeymoon. Both were amazing countries filled with culture and wonderful people. I loved the diversity of landscapes as well as seeing the African animals so close. We also climbed Kilimanjaro, which is what I call a “once in a lifetime” experience. It was incredible to be above the clouds!

7. What would you most like to tell yourself at age 13?
I would definitely tell myself that it was ok to fail and to use that as a springboard to rise to new challenges.

8. Tell us something that might surprise us about you.
I am actually quite adventurous and love traveling. My husband and I met sea kayaking in the San Juan Islands, and we’ve traveled all over Europe together as well. I hope to instill the love of traveling and exploring with my family. I also used to race half ironman triathlons and really enjoyed the training and the physical and mental challenge.

9. Who is/are your biggest inspiration/s?
My grandmother is someone who I aspire to become. She grew up in the deep South, and she lived through many wars and hardships, including the Great Depression. I will never forget how she always treated everyone with the utmost respect and kindness. She truly loved everyone, seeing the goodness in each person she met

10. Where did you go to school and what did you study?
I received my undergraduate degree in Elementary Education from Louisiana State University. After five years of teaching, I decided to go back to school to pursue my master’s degree. I graduated from N.C. State with an M.Ed in Reading Education in 2009.

11. Ten years ago, where did you think you would be now?
Because I grew up moving so often, and my husband has also lived in many places, I thought we would have moved from Raleigh to another part of the U.S. or even abroad. However, we have grown to love Raleigh, as it has been a wonderful place to raise our children.

12. What’s the coolest (or most important) trend you see today?
I am thrilled that the research on Growth Mindset by Carol Dweck has finally reached the mainstream media. I first read her book in graduate school, and then had extensive professional development over the past few years about implementing growth mindset language in the classroom. I have seen how powerful the language we use with our children can change their outlook when faced with challenges both in and out of the classroom.

13. What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t a teacher?
If I wasn’t a teacher, I would love to pursue a career in medicine. I am genuinely interested in the latest medical research and am fascinated by modern day medical advances that have transformed people’s lives for the better.

14. What is your favorite thing about working at MSR?
Working in the Agility Lab, I am able to work collaboratively with many gifted and passionate teachers—from Children’s House to Upper Elementary. Over the past year, I have witnessed incredible independence, grace and courtesy and so many instances of differentiating for the individual child. I absolutely love my team in the Agility Lab as well. They already feel like family!

15. What is one piece of advice you’d like to give to your students?
That mistakes are wonderful learning opportunities that help our brains grow! As Albert Einstein once said, “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”