Spotlight highlights a National Charter Schools Institute team member. This month we highlight Dr. Angie Melhado.
Dr. Angelete (Angie) Melhado was the President and CEO of Melhado Consulting Services, LLC. She started her independent educational consulting company in 1999—offering services and assistance to school boards, educational service providers (ESPs), and both traditional and charter schools in Michigan. Her expertise is in developing and/or sustaining effective school governance, organizational relationships, and school operations.
Prior to her current activities, Dr. Melhado was Director of Urban Partnerships and Public School Academies for Oakland University’s School of Education & Human Services (OU/SEHS) in Rochester, Michigan. Before becoming OU’s first charter school Director, she spent nine years as an OU/SEHS Coordinator of traditional urban school partnerships.
While at Oakland University, she was appointed as Chairperson of a statewide roundtable committee of Michigan authorizing entities, now known as the Michigan Council of Charter School Authorizers. This group initially formed in 1996 to examine common issues relevant to the authorization and monitoring of Michigan charter schools.
Dr. Melhado also served as:
Dr. Melhado has been a frequent presenter at the Michigan Association of Public School Academies (MAPSA) conferences and at national charter school conferences. The Institute values Dr. Melhado’s knowledge and insight and we asked her a few questions about herself for this newsletter.
How did you get started with the Institute?
While I was at Oakland University I had the opportunity to meet with everyone at the Institute. I kept in touch with them when I left Oakland University and they eventually asked me to join their team.
If you had a magic wand and could change the educational landscape in the U.S. what would you do?
Where do I start? I don’t believe there is one thing—that is why I got into charters and traditional public schools. I think we need different educational policies to suit different needs for different populations. We need to embrace all types of educational programs—from charters, to traditional schools, to private institutions—and to support whatever will work for kids.
Who was your favorite teacher, what was your favorite class and why?
I had two favorite teachers. I was an A student and salutatorian—I should have been the valedictorian, but that’s another story!
One of my favorite teachers was Mrs. Hightower, my English teacher. She was a strong disciplinarian but also a strong encourager of education. The other was my chemistry teacher, Mrs. Riggins. She also was a disciplinarian and didn’t put up with bad behavior but she also gave me pointers on college and life. They were both 12th grade teachers.
Who was your hero?
Probably my dad, who passed away last year. He was my hero and mentor. He was my everything. He was a country boy born in the outskirts of Birmingham, Alabama. He didn’t get a college education. He tried to attend Morehouse College but was drafted into the Army.
He always inspired me to be the best person I could be. He taught me not to rely on a man for anything and showed me how a man should treat me. And I took care of him until he died at 92. I miss him a lot.
Tell us something interesting about yourself.
I’m a new grandma! My grandson is 10-months-old and he’s the love of my life. Although I have retired from my consulting business, I’ll still continue to work with the Institute, but my full-time job now is to take care of my grandson, John Melhado III – the current love of my life!
If you could travel anywhere, where would you go and why?
In Michigan’s winter, I like to go to the islands—places like the Virgin Islands and Jamaica. I’m pretty happy where I am in the summer.
Why did you choose to go into the field of education?
I’ve always wanted to be a math teacher since I was in junior high. Math was a subject many of my student peers seemed to have trouble understanding. But it always seemed to come easy for me. My goal was to become a math teacher to help urban students better understand the needs and practical uses for mathematics. I earned a degree in secondary math education from Michigan State University in 1976.
I applied for some teaching jobs, but before I could accept any of them I was offered a job at, what was then, the Michigan Bell Telephone Company as a engineering manager trainee, making more than twice what a teacher makes! Thus, the first 10 years of my professional life was spent “climbing the corporate ladder,” becoming one of few—and the youngest—African Americans responsible for the development and management of large private line networks.
I eventually relocated to AT&T headquarters in New Jersey, where I met my current my husband – who happened to be a 20-year elementary and middle school teacher. It was through our frequent discussions and debates about the ‘apparent’ lack of change in educational practices over the years that led to him to encourage me to get back into education.
In 1989, I resigned from AT&T and relocated back to Michigan to be closer to my parents. After our son was born, I enrolled at Oakland University to renew my teaching certificate. My intent was to teach high school math in a metro-Detroit urban school district, while also becoming a catalyst for reforming educational & instructional practices in urban inner-city schools. But God had a different plan for me.
I didn’t get a teaching job, but I did capture the attention of the Dean of Education for Oakland University (OU), who hired me as his graduate assistant to focus on urban school reform efforts. He encouraged me to earn my Masters of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) for Curriculum/Instruction & Leadership, my Education Specialist (Ed.S.) degree in Education Administration, and Ph.D. in Educational Leadership & Administration, 2002.
Under that Dean’s tutelage, in 1992 I became OU’s School of Education Coordinator for Urban School Partnerships – facilitating and monitoring innovative partnerships with the Pontiac & Oak Park School districts via various educational grants.
Michigan’s charter school law became a very controversial issue at OU and no one else in the School of Education was interested in becoming involved. However, I embraced this new effort as yet another strategy to promote urban education reform. The new Dean of Education offered me the position of Oakland University’s first Director of Charter Schools, and that is how my mission as a school choice promoter and activist, advocating for Michigan charter schools, started.
What is your favorite movie?
I’m always interested in movies that deal with my African-American history, like “Birth of a Nation” and “Hidden Figures,” and faith-based movies, like “God Is Not Dead” and “The Shack.” Those are the types of movies that inspire me to keep striving and persevere in “the struggle.” But for enjoyment, a good romantic comedy or watching the Food Channel (to learn new food ideas) always relax me.