Excellent Educators: Melissa Heckle and Christine Dowling

Excellent Educators

Tabb Elementary School teachers Melissa Heckle and Christine Dowling were nominated as Excellent Educators by York County School Division.

Excellent Educators is a WAVY-TV 10 initiative to celebrate local teachers who have gone above and beyond for their students and communities during the coronavirus pandemic. These Excellent Educators were nominated by their school divisions. Congratulations to these educators for all of their hard work and accomplishments!


Name: Melissa Heckle and Christine Dowling

Division: York County School Division

Positions: Teacher and paraeducator team at Tabb Elementary School

What a parent said about these Excellent Educators: Melissa Heckle’s reputation proceeded her even before our daughter stepped foot in her classroom. She has been known for years throughout the community for her excellent work as a preschool special education teacher. Our experience with Heckle has surpassed her reputation.

Heckle has gone above and beyond with her clear communication and has implemented personal communication to compensate for our daughter’s language needs. Her teaching, both virtual and in-person, is intentional, personalized, organized, and innovative. She often lends an insightful, empathetic ear and is very compassionate in her guidance and responses. She truly knows her students, constantly adapts to their needs and truly believes in their capabilities.

Most importantly, she exudes joy in her teaching. Even despite recent challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic, her lessons have been engaging, creative and fun. Her online modules and live circle time are full of laughter and our daughter looks forward to them daily. We cannot express how impressed and grateful we are for her masterful teaching. 

We cannot sing the praises of Heckle without also mentioning Christine Dowling. The partnership these two educators have is seamless. Dowling goes well above and beyond her duties as an instructional assistant. With the pandemic, she has helped Heckle with technology so that the students have engaging live experiences on the computer. She masterfully leads mini-lessons through recorded modules.

Dowling has impeccable behavior modification skills and our daughter takes wonderfully to her firm but kind redirection. She also helps to ensure that students receive personalized materials to use during at home learning. Dowling can step in when Heckle is not available and continues the structure and instruction so that student learning does not stop. Dowling also offers insightful and invaluable suggestions and observations regarding student learning and behavior. She goes above and beyond to help create a fun, caring, and successful learning environment for the students. 

The dynamic duo of these two educators have masterfully navigated school during unprecedented difficult times. To watch them manage 4 and 5 years old children through on-line learning, hybrid learning, and live Teams calls has been nothing short of amazing. Despite all of the challenges of schooling during a pandemic, they have done so with precision and joy. We have been truly amazed at how much our daughter has learned and thrived under their instruction. We are forever grateful for the time our daughter has spent in their classroom. 

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