Teacher Feature: Melissa Pacitti


By Abbie Preston, Staff Reporter

Dr. Melissa Pacitti always thought she wanted to be a math teacher, but after completing an English course in college, her professor encouraged her to follow her passion: literature. Pacitti is a member of the English department at Conestoga, teaching two Literary Foundations classes; working with students in the Pathways to Structured Literacy Program, a specific program for students who have needs with translating words into sounds or using sounds to form words; and providing additional reading help to students who need it. Pacitti appreciates both aspects of her job, as they each provide different experiences for students. 

“I really enjoy some of the themes of Literary Foundations and developing (students’) reading and writing skills,” Pacitti said. “I like being a reading specialist because I love seeing how well (students) improve and progress until senior year. It’s really rewarding.”

In addition to teaching, Pacitti is also a member of the Language Arts Standing Committee, which gathers several English teachers from the district to discuss how the district can adjust to changes in education across the state and national level. The committee also discusses the “positive change in education,” which emphasizes having real-world conversations with students. Pacitti loves the conversations that literature fosters, since both she and her students can learn from them. 

“English lends itself to discussion, and we can tie them to the real world,” Pacitti said. “I enjoy those conversations, learning from others and learning from my mistakes, so I can constantly fine tune what I’m doing to do what’s best for students.”

For Pacitti, reading can transport people anywhere, which is why she strives to help her students find enthusiasm for literature.

“I just love that it’s that release, that escape,” Pacitti said. “Literature is often a great springboard for conversation. It’s important to find literature that excites (students), because the only way to grow as a reader, writer and thinker is to find those books that really help them become lifelong readers.”

Outside the classroom, Pacitti likes to run and spend time at the beach. She also values spending time with her family, especially watching her three children participate in the activities  about which they are passionate. 

“I come from a very big family, so family is a big part of my life,” Pacitti said. “I love supporting my kids as they explore whatever they like to do. I love to help them find their passion and be active, as long as they’re doing something that excites them.”

For Pacitti, teaching her students is very gratifying. She enjoys seeing the development and skill progression of her students. 

“The reward that I get is just seeing them growing and improving not just academically but hearing about what they’re doing later in life and staying in touch whenever possible,” Pacitti said. “I love the relationships I build, and I hope that I had some small impact on who they are.”

Abbie Preston can be reached at [email protected]