Melissa Urbain
Teacher/English Language Program Coordinator, San Jose Unified School District

Melissa Urbain has dedicated her career to serving students both locally and internationally. She is currently an English Language Development Teacher and English Language Program Coordinator at John Muir Middle School, where she is committed to empowering and growing English language learners. Melissa has worked to ensure that English language learners are seen as assets inside and outside of the classroom, and learn how to navigate through entirely new systems to be successful and find the best versions of themselves in the process. In 2014, Melissa was recognized as Teacher of the Year for the San Jose Unified School District, one of the largest school districts in Northern California, for her commitment to developing student learners and future leaders of our country. She has also recognized that educational inequity is not limited by country borders. She has worked relentlessly with and for students in war torn countries, teaching the first medical doctors to help rebuild from the conflict in Aweil, South Sudan. Melissa has also developed and implemented English language programs in the Chin State of Myanmar to enable students to be leaders in their communities and country. She is dedicated to building bridges and relationships with the global world many of these students have been cut off from and believes that access to educational equality should not be determined by access to capital. More recently, she has answered the call to be a civic leader through grassroots political activity, and supporting teachers, administrators, districts and community leaders to circumvent divisiveness and find solutions to the problems we face together. She earned an M.A. in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages and an Ed.D. in Education Leadership from San Jose State University.