Hopkins Public Schools is pleased to announce that Melissa Ness will be the next principal of Eisenhower Elementary/XinXing Academy. Ness has an extensive background in bilingual education, instructional coaching, and elementary school leadership experience. She is a proud product of immersion education, and has a deep background in both teaching and leading in bilingual schools and programs.
“I am excited and inspired by how Melissa Ness already embodies the Hopkins core values as a leader,” said Stephanie Herrera, director of principal leadership for Hopkins Public Schools. “Melissa is a steadfast believer in supporting staff, families and students, and comes to us with a strong background in instructional coaching and bilingual education. She is a perfect fit for the uniqueness of Eisenhower/XinXing.”
Ness has served as a bilingual instructional coach for Richfield Public Schools for the past four years. In this role, she coached teachers and created a structure for a dual language model. She also oversaw a STEM-focused summer school program, and wrote curriculum and instruction for both regular and immersion programming. She began her teaching career in 2002 in North Minneapolis working first as paraprofessional for Minneapolis Public Schools and later, after obtaining her teaching license, she was a bilingual teacher in grades K-3. In addition to her professional experience, she might be best described as someone who was called to lead.
“My leadership beliefs and actions are largely shaped by my personal experiences of growing up in the inner city,” said Ness. “I deeply understand and empathize with people living in difficult situations. This perspective allows me to influence a strong learning climate, including a safe, supportive environment with high, consistent, and clear expectations for all students.”
Ness has a bachelor of arts in sociology and Spanish from the University of Minnesota, a master’s of arts in instruction from Saint Mary’s University, and a specialist degree in educational leadership from Minnesota State University, Mankato. She is fluent in Spanish, and looks forward to being part of the wonderful Eisenhower/XinXing community.
“Being bilingual, I will model the value of knowing multiple languages for our students,” she said. “One of the qualities I appreciate most about Eisenhower/XinXing is the student diversity. I share the district’s beliefs about diversity as a strength and an asset. When we allow ourselves to be empathetic and see things through other’s perspectives, it makes us better people.”
Ness will begin with Hopkins the week of July 22. When not working, Ness loves to travel to new places as a way to experience different perspectives. She also enjoys reading, gardening, and playing board games. She has a 16 year-old son, who is entering his senior year of high school.