Melissa Russell, M.Ed. – Director of The Hundred Acre School
Melissa is a dedicated educator with a passion for teaching math and science to young children and coaching educators to become intentional and reflective in their practice.
She has extensive experience with STEM education and is an expert curriculum developer, a seasoned and award-winning educator, part-time professor, and a proven leader in museum education.
Melissa began her career teaching 4th grade in the Middleborough and North Attleboro public schools, where she taught math and science and honed her expertise in inquiry- based education and STEM-related curriculum development. Her early work earned her the Rookie Teacher of the Year Award in Plymouth County in 2004.
Melissa has worked as a teaching mentor in various college settings, including at Bridgewater State College, Sandwich High School, Antioch University New England, and UMass Dartmouth. In the STEM arena she has coordinated science fairs and served on science and math curriculum committees.
Since 2010, Melissa has led numerous education initiatives for Heritage Museums & Gardens that have built its reputation as a prominent outdoor education center. Melissa was head of curriculum development for Hidden Hollow, developed numerous museum-wide programs for families, and helped design and lead teachers’ workshops emphasizing STEM and nature education at an early age. As manager of visitor services, she trained and supervised 25 museum educators.
Melissa is the founding director of The Hundred Acre School at Heritage Museums & Gardens where, through her leadership, museum galleries has been transformed into a state-of-the-art STEM-focused school that is the pinnacle of educational best practice. She is the co-author of the “Collections Curriculum: A STEM-Focused Curriculum” created as part of the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care 2014 Preschool Innovative STEM Curriculum Grant. In April 2016, the Boston Association for the Education of Young Children awarded her the Award for STEM: An educator who inspires children to explore and discover our world through the use and application of science, technology, engineering, and math and encourages children to become stewards of our environment.
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, awarded her a Governor’s Citation in April 2016. “On behalf of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, I am pleased to confer upon you this Governor’s Citation in recognition of your strong leadership and dedication to improving the quality of early childhood education for young children in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.”
Leading for Children has awarded Melissa with an Honorable Mention in 2017 and Runner Up in 2018 for their annual Innovative Ideas Award. The 2018 entry VIPs — Virtual and In Person Engagement Strategies. This idea was developed in close collaboration with teachers and offers many different ways to engage families with diverse needs and styles into the school community. It has been published by NAEYC in their book Families and Educators Together: Building Great Relationships that Support Young Children.
Melissa shares her expertise in early education and STEM widely:
- Part-time professor at Bridgewater State University since 2017
- Keynote speaker at the New England Head Start Conference, 2018 & 2019
- Keynote speaker at the Keefe-Bruyette Science and Math Symposium for Young Children in 2016
- National Association for the Education of Young Children conference 2015-2018
- National Education Research Association conference in 2002
- Massachusetts STEM Summit 2014, 2016 & 2017
- National Association of Regulatory Administration Seminar 2015
- Keefe-Bruyette Science and Math Symposium for Young Children in 2016-2020
- All Cape Professional Development Day in 2016, 2017 & 2019
- Massachusetts Brain Building in Progress Action Planning Team in 2014 & 2015
Melissa has a Master of Education degree from Lesley University and holds an bachelor’s degree from Mount Holyoke College, where she graduated with honors. She is currently completing a post-graduate certificate in Online Teaching and Learning at Bridgewater State University.
She is licensed by the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care as a Preschool Lead Teacher, Director I and Director II. She holds an additional professional license with the Massachusetts Department of Education in Elementary Education 1-6.