Melissa Heckler, M.S.Ed., M.LS.

Melissa Heckler, M.S.Ed., M.LS.
President, 2003-2016

Elementary School Librarian
White Plains, New York

Melissa Heckler is the new school librarian at the Carrie E. Tompkins School in Croton-on-Harmon, New York. She was formerly the librarian at the Lee F. Jackson School in Greenburgh. She came to librarianship by way of storytelling and working with children in temporary housing. In 1999, she won the Overcoming the Odds educator’s award from Student Advocacy for her work with children in temporary housing. Melissa was instrumental in creating the Jackson school model, now promoted nationally, which brings together teachers, caseworkers and service agencies to coordinate and promote the educational needs of children in temporary housing. A professional storyteller since 1978, she co-authored with Carol Birch the award winning book Who Says?: Essays on Pivotal Issues in Contemporary Storytelling (August House, 1996).

In 1990, Melissa helped create the first in-village schools for the Ju/’hoansi in the Kalahari in Namibia, Africa. The first school was held under a little thorn tree in a remote village; now there are four fully functioning schools in the Nyae Nyae region. She has published articles about her experiences in indigenous education as well as storytelling. Her educational interests continue to be the power of play, education for a democratic society, the role of story and storytelling in teaching and learning and advocacy for equity for all children based on the indigenous learning model she learned in Africa. Her two adult children, Annabelle and Paul helped her in developing the Nyae Nyae Village schools (when they were children) and continue to inspire her in every facet of her life.

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