A cheerleader all through her schooling, from elementary to high school, Melanie Kleather now brings her spirited energy to the classroom as a first year teacher at Tipp Middle School. Rather than cheering for touchdowns or a strong defense, Kleather encourages her students to succeed in reading, which will result in a winning lifestyle. Her pom-poms have been replaced by books as tools of motivation.

A Language Arts and Reading teacher, Kleather makes a special effort to promote reading to her students and encourages them to pick up a book. She knows that reading provides the base for a solid education. “No matter what they do after high school, reading is something they will have to do for the rest of their lives, both at work and with daily tasks,” she said.

An avid reader for as long as she can remember, Kleather was influenced by her mother, who often read to her. To this day, Kleather and her mother still exchange books that they especially liked with each other.

A 2007 graduate of Milton-Union, Kleather went on to obtain her degree from Miami University in 2011. For the last three years she taught seventh grade English in Richmond, Indiana; so is very thrilled to have a position closer to home. After being a neighbor to Tipp City for so long, when living in West Milton, she welcomed the opportunity to become an active community member. “I’m excited to be a part of such a great district and community,” she said.

The years of middle school can be a difficult time for student’s, with lots of transitions and personal growth. A reason that Kleather enjoys working with the age group is the opportunity to be a positive role model and someone they can trust. “They are at a stage when they are trying to become independent but also still needs some guidance. It’s nice to be a source of support through this time,” she said.

Kleather also feels very fortunate to be able to continue her love for cheerleading as she is the seventh and eighth grade cheerleading coach for football and basketball, the same two sports that she cheered for. More than the physical act of cheering and the game time experiences, Kleather says she valued the relationships that were formed. “The girls on my squad were pretty much the same from the fourth to twelfth grade and we became great friends. I’m still friends with a lot of them today.”

To the girls on her squad, Kleather is trying to stress the importance of unity, which can also positively affect their performances. Many of the same teaching techniques that she uses in the classroom, Kleather uses as a coach. In both instances, she tries her hardest to reach each student on their own individual level. “I want to make sure I meet the needs of each student, whether it means giving them extra help or if they need to be challenged more. I want to provide everyone with the resources to succeed,” she said.

With a cheerful spirit, Kleather is prepared to lead students to victory in academics.