Melisa Macias, principal of Phantom Lake Elementary smiling at a student

October is National Principals Month! Our principals work hard each and every day to promote student well-being and support our exceptional staff. Throughout the month we will be featuring some of the principals you know and love and highlight what makes them unique.

“My name is Kiyoshi, but I prefer writing my name in Japanese”, the student said. Melisa Macias, the principal of Phantom Lake Elementary, was spending her morning observing a first-grade classroom. She was going around the room and checking in with students as they were working on a writing assignment. “Will you show me how you prefer to write your name?” Macias asked Kiyoshi. It was a brief moment, but it illustrates Macias’ passion for providing high quality instruction, achieved through focusing on each student’s individual strengths.

Visiting the first-grade classroom was extra sentimental for Macias, as she started off her journey in education as a first-grade teacher. She taught a bilingual class and was able to move up with the same group of students the following two years. Throughout her more than 12 years in education, Macias also taught as a language arts facilitator and an ESL bilingual facilitator before becoming a school administrator. She has a degree in marketing and is currently working towards her doctoral in educational leadership. Throughout her journey as an educator, Macias’ favorite part is building relationships with students and collaborating with other staff members to deliver an innovative and individualized education.

When talking with Macias, it’s obvious that she values high quality instruction and is passionate about curriculum. She believes that every student can succeed and that they each hold specific strengths that educators need to focus on to help them get the most out of their educational experience. Macias once struggled in school as a student and wants to be a voice for students with similar experiences. She recognizes if it wasn’t for her education, and having educators believe in her, she wouldn’t have access to the opportunities she has today. Her goal is to show students the power of education and that they can pursue whichever path they choose – even if it that path presents obstacles and challenges along the way.

Macias enjoys getting on the student’s level to understand them and empowering others to continue this work. What’s the highlight of her day? Being able to welcome the students into the school each and every morning. Macias’ goal is for the students to have a positive interaction every morning before they even start the day.

The Bellevue School District acknowledges that we learn, work, live and gather on the Indigenous Land of the Coast Salish peoples, specifically the Duwamish and Snoqualmie Tribes. We thank these caretakers of this land, who have lived and continue to live here, since time immemorial.