Orange County Register, "Santa Ana superintendent rooted in education"

Santa Ana Unified School District’s new superintendent, Thelma Melendez, credits her kindergarten teacher in Montebello with believing in her and instilling in Melendez the confidence to succeed. Over a nearly 30-year career, Melendez has been a bilingual teacher, principal, the first Hispanic superintendent of the Pomona school district and, most recently, assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Education.  - HTN Foundation

Santa Ana superintendent rooted in education


New Santa Ana Unified Superintendent Thelma Meléndez de Santa Ana pictured here as a kindergarten student with classmates and her teacher, Mrs. Silverman, at Freemont Elementary in Montebello. Meléndez credits her teacher for helping her choose a career in education.SANTA ANA – Thelma Meléndez de Santa Ana can trace her career in education back to her very first teacher.

Meléndez vividly remembers her first day in kindergarten at Freemont Elementary in Montebello when she met Mrs. Silverman. Meléndez recalls arriving to class that day, the only student who didn't speak English, when Mrs. Silverman greeted the shy, nervous student with plenty of patience and a warm smile.

"She always made sure I knew what was happening in class, giving me attention and encouragement whenever I needed extra help," said Melendez, the daughter of Mexican immigrants. "She believed that I could succeed and took steps to make sure I did."