Annie Melville

Lower School Principal

B.S., DePaul University


What is the most important lesson you want students to learn?

The most important lesson I would like students to take from their Lower School experience is that they matter. This sounds simple enough, but children often feel that adults don’t care about what they think or how they feel. It is our job to make them feel heard and important. When students feel this, they know we care and they begin to take chances, trust, and open up.

Another lesson that I find equally important is that nobody is perfect. It is essential for children to see adults make mistakes and observe how we handle this. If we show them it is part of the journey for everyone, they understand we are all lifelong learners.

What do you enjoy most about teaching?

Once a teacher, always a teacher. Having taught every grade in Lower School, from preschool to 5th grade, at some point in my teaching career, there is no mistaking that at every level, teaching is a powerful job. We have an opportunity to not only help children learn but the chance to inspire each one of our students to be their best self and find their gift. We all bring something amazing to the world and it is our job to help students explore and discover this. Watching children confidently delve into new subject areas without inhibition brings me so much joy.

Why do you choose to work at MPA?

I fell in love with the school first as a parent, touring the school when my daughter was 3 years old. I knew this was what I wanted for her. The sense of community on campus was so genuine. I loved the way students were treated and how the campus was alive with learning. There were students baking in solar ovens on one side of Jones Bowl, classes were in literature circles under a tree, and Mr. Malcolm’s class was doing science experiments on the playground. I knew I wanted my children to grow and learn here. As luck would have it, a position teaching third grade opened up, so I took a chance and sent my resume. My daughter and I had our first day of school here together in 2004. I have never looked back and continue to feel fortunate to work with such dedicated teachers.