OSZ — Influencer of the week: Melissa Breaud, SunRidge Middle School

The middle school behavior specialist is this week's Observer School Zone influencer.

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Melissa Breaud is the behavior specialist at SunRidge Middle School and has been there for three years. She is successful at building relationships with her students and their families, and she said it’s satisfying to see students’ behavior change for the better because of something she was part of. The favorite part of her day is the reinforcement she gives in the afternoon for a successful student day — because she sees students willing to change their behavior all day to spend some time with her in seventh period.


What do you love most about your school?                                     

I love the school community. SRMS supports each other and wants to include all students into the successes of the school.


What's your favorite part of your job?

I love that I am able to advocate for students who don’t feel they have a voice. The best feeling is working with students who feel that no one cares and that they aren’t heard and then watch them use strategies that I have taught them to advocate for themselves with positive results. I go home at night feeling accomplished. I tell my students that we may work together for a short amount of time but the strategies and lessons can be used forever. I love it when my students or my student’s families have come back and shared a story about how it has helped them.


What motivates you and pushes you to do your best?

My students motivate me to do my best. I want every student to have the most positive middle school experience. I want everyone to be involved in the school community and make lasting memories. When I came to SRMS, my biggest plan for my students was to be a part of the school. It makes me smile when I walk into a sixth-period elective and my students are completely engaged in learning with their peers.


What's the nicest thing a student or faculty member has done for you?

My first year of teaching in OCPS, I worked with students who had social and emotional challenges at a low-income school. I had a student (who) had a very large wall up and wouldn’t let anyone in. Over the course of the year, I had built a trust relationship with him.

A few weeks before school got out, we had Teacher Appreciation Week. He couldn’t afford to give me a gift but wanted to. So, he saved half of his dinner from the night before (which wasn’t much) and brought it to me to say “thank you.” That has always stuck with me as the nicest most genuine act.


What’s your favorite restaurant and favorite meal? 

My favorite restaurant is Hawkers. I love good vegetarian food. They give you the option of trying small plates of many different types of dishes.


What’s your favorite movie and why? 

My all-time favorite movie is Beauty and the Beast. I have loved this movie since the first time I ever watched it. I love the message that one should look inside a person and see who they really are and not only judge them by the way they look.  


If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

I would love to read people’s minds. This would help me to understand why (students do) what they do. Once I know why (students do) what they do, I can help them to come up with a strategy to support a solution.


What’s your favorite vacation spot and why?  

I love to take a cruise. I am the most relaxed when I am with my family on a ship. It really doesn’t matter where we are visiting; I enjoy the entire experience.


What do you like to do in your free time? 

I love to spend time with my family. As a family, we try to do something fun every weekend. My son and I spend a lot of time at Disney.


What’s your favorite book and why? 

I recently read the book “Educated.” It provided me an insight into the idea that not everything that you learned is within the four walls of a classroom. Her story was remarkable. I suggest for everyone to read it.


What are some of your can’t-miss TV shows? 

I love to watch Netflix and binge-watch an entire series. I love a good mystery.


If you could put any four musicians on an alternate Mount Rushmore, who would it be? 

David Byrne, Chris Robinson, Chris Cornell and Dave Matthews. All four of these artists had an influence at one point in my life.


Tell us about your family: 

I (have been) married to my husband, Colin, for 16 years. We have a son named Sebastian who is 7 years old and in second grade. We are a trio and do everything together. My son loves music and plays three instruments. We love to go and watch him play or listen to live music together. We try and take one large trip a year to somewhere new. When we travel we try to soak in the culture and travel like a native and not like a tourist.



Amy Quesinberry

Community Editor Amy Quesinberry was born at the old West Orange Memorial Hospital and raised in Winter Garden. Aside from earning her journalism degree from the University of Georgia, she hasn’t strayed too far from her hometown and her three-mile bubble. She grew up reading The Winter Garden Times and knew in the eighth grade she wanted to write for her community newspaper. She has been part of the writing and editing team since 1990.

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