October 12, 2017
Melanie Jackson (right) poses with Houston Astros mascot Orbit after the math and science instructional specialist at Adam Elementary School was named the ConocoPhillips Math Teacher of the Month grand prize winner Oct. 11.
Oct. 12, 2017—Six months after Houston Astros mascot Orbit and a ConocoPhillips representative surprised Melanie Jackson inside her classroom at Birkes Elementary School, they made a return trip.
This one just came a few miles up the road on Oct. 11.
Now a math and science instructional specialist at Adam Elemtary School, Jackson was surprised a second time. One of six educators to earn ConocoPhillips Math Teacher of the Month in 2017, Jackson won the grand prize and earned a trip next year to the Astros spring training in West Palm Beach, FL.
“Even from the very beginning when I was nominated as one of the six people, I said before that I’m a teacher,” Jackson said. “We like the ‘thank you’s’ but we don’t do it for the ‘thank you’s.’ It’s never expected.”
ConocoPhillips focuses its Houston-area charitable giving on mathematics, named a winner during each month of the Major League Baseball regular season. In addition to a $1,000 donation to the school or district, each winner attended an Astros game and was recognized during a pre-game ceremony. Through a nomination process that included a letter of recommendation, each was selected by an external selection committee made up of representatives from academia, government and the nonprofit sector.
Melanie Jackson (second from left) was named the ConocoPhillips Math Teacher of the Month grand prize winner Oct. 11, winning a trip to the Houston Astros spring training in West Palm Beach, FL. Helping surprise the math and science instructional specialist at Adam Elemenatary School were Dr. Carla Brosnahan (left), assistant superintendent of elementary administration, Beth May, Adam principal, and Stacie Everson, Birkes Elementary School principal.
The grand prize includes two round-trip airline tickets, game tickets and VIP viewing of the Astros’ batting practice.
Administrators from both Adam and Birkes helped coordinate the surprise, which nearly fell through as Jackson was scheduled to attend training Oct. 11.
“So we had to make up a story to get her to stay and then as the morning wore on, we had to tell more and more stories,” said Beth May, Adam Elementary School principal. “It was a mountain of lies and I had to try and remember those. But there is no one that is more dedicated and she’s just such a force and positive role model. You want to honor people like that.”
Jackson was called from her room to the cafeteria. There she saw Orbit, remembering the mascot from her first surprise. Then she saw Birkes Elementary School Principal Stacie Everson and Dr. Carla Brosnahan, assistant superintendent of elementary administration.
“When she walked in, she was just looking around, and then you could see the wheels turning,” May said. “And when she figured it out, it was big.”
Jackson expressed her gratitude, with the award being just another function of her love for her work, especially math.
“It’s my passion,” said the former fifth-grade math teacher at Birkes. “I strongly believe once the students learn to love it or appreciate it and think it’s not terrible, they’ll think it’s kind of fun. That’s largely because of the teacher and it makes it so much different. Every teacher I’m working with represents 25-30 students, so I feel like I’m working with them to help them do the things I did in my class.”
More information on the program is available on the ConocoPhillips website.