The Patton College of Education is honored to recognize Melinda Tsapatsaris, Head of School at the Westland School in Los Angeles, Calif., as our September 2019 Alum of the Month.
The Westland School is an independent K-12 school, and as the instructional leader, Tsapatsaris lives by its mission, which is rooted in democracy, equity, inclusivity, and the tenets of progressive education.
“I feel so blessed and lucky to work at a school where, on a daily basis, my colleagues and I are attuned to the mission as it applies to our work with children, our work with each other as colleagues and professionals, and our work and collaboration with parents,” Tsapatsaris said.
The Columbus native graduated from Ohio University in 1998 with a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education - Communication Comprehensive (English, Communications, Journalism, and Reading). She went on to obtain her Master of Arts in Teaching English at Brown University in 2003.
Tsapatsaris moved to the Los Angeles area in 2003 when she was hired by Dr. George Wood, Ohio University’s Creative, Active, and Reflective Educators (CARE) co-founder, to help start the independent and progressive K-12 Wildwood School.
“Starting a school from scratch is the stuff of educator dreams,” said Tsapatsaris. “I grew up professionally at Wildwood School.”
Not only was Tsapatsaris a Founding Teacher of Wildwood School, but she also worked as the Director of the Upper School, and is now the Assistant Head of School, alongside her capacity with the Westland School.
Even as a working mother of three, Tsapatsaris still finds time for new opportunities to grow as a leader and educator.
Last spring, she had the opportunity to travel to Reggio Emilia, Italy, on a five-state study tour of their early childhood education system. She described it as “a transformative experience.”
During her time at Ohio University, Tsapatsaris was part of the CARE program — and the lessons she learned still impact her today.
“I really became a learner at Ohio University,” Tsapatsaris said. “I just have such gratitude for the excellent teaching that was modeled for me at OU, and the experiential, hands-on work I engaged in through the CARE program specifically.”
* Melinda Tsapatsaris was also featured in the Winter 2019 issue of OHIO Today.