Melody Saroki Arabo, 35
Keith Elementary School
Walled Lake Consolidated School District
Melody is a third-grade teacher in the Walled Lake schools where she has been employed since 2002. In 2014 she was named 2014-2015 Michigan Teacher of the Year by the state Department of Education. She was named Teacher of the Year at her school in 2008 and was runner-up for Walled Lake Teacher of the Year in 2009.
Married and the mother of three children, Melody is an author who recently published her book, "Diary of a Real Bull." It tells the story of a school bully from the bully's perspective, with the ultimate goal of helping identify the bully in all of us and making a change.
"My approach to solving this problem is to help kids understand that the bully stereotypes they see on TV rarely exists and that essentially we all act like bullies sometimes," Melody said. "Once kids realize what real bullying looks like, they are more willing to take responsibility for their actions and change their behaviors."
Melody is the founder of Keith Caring Community Club, which encourages upper elementary students to get involved in service-oriented events to teach them about leadership, empathy and generosity. She is also a founding member of TEACH, which helps displaced families in Iraq.
She received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Michigan State University. She is a member of the Michigan Education Association, the National Education Association and an alumni of the Galileo Teacher Leadership Academy.
The information presented here was accurate as of January 1, 2015.