M’lissa McElderry Dixon Bright Light Educator


Finding one’s perfect niche is part of every person’s life quest. For some, the
search has lots of stops and for others they find that ideal place and make it their
own. In education, the teachers that have the gift; that ability to transform a
classroom into a wonderful, exciting, interesting, and life changing space-the path
they find is a sight to see. Following them take off is a moment of pure joy. Ms.
McElderry is one of those educators. A teacher who has the gift for elevating
learning to a platform of shared discovery; one from which all participants
benefit. She has an authentic passion for teaching that every child deserves.

Her heart guides her teaching and that makes her a great mentor for every
student that comes into her life. When she speaks, she watches. When she
listens, she cares. When she teaches, she shares. Growing up in the area gives her
a deep awareness of the life of her students. An awareness that helps her meet
each child where they are at-on that day, at that moment in time. Her intuitive
spirit helps her champion every child, no matter what they are facing. As she
works in the classroom, her determination is apparent. Teaching is in her core,
infusing her lessons with a sense of possibility and affirmation that connects to
her students. She loves her job and they love her.

Ms. McElderry is not driven by measuring students or assessing their intelligence.
Her drive comes from a place of hope. As she works with a child, her
determination is apparent. Happiness. Optimism. Compassion. Confidence. Self-
respect. These are the measures she finds most vital for her students. Giving them
the tools to find these ideals is what makes her a 2023 Big Sky, Bright Lights
Educator Honoree.

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