by LIZ ONUFER | photos by Samantha Gleaton Photography

Love for Teaching

faces_lupica1The difference between a good teacher and a great teacher is difficult to quantify. But if you meet Melanie Lupica, Pacific Rim Elementary School’s 2016 Teacher of the Year, you will know instantly that you have met a great teacher. Melanie is quick to express her passion for education, saying,“I love my job!” Heading into her 18th year at Pacific Rim, her enthusiasm and commitment are just as strong today as when she first started teaching.

Melanie began her teaching career at the fourth grade level, but for the last 14 years, she has taught kindergarten. “I thoroughly enjoy teaching children to read,” she said. “Being able to give someone that lifelong gift is so rewarding.” With her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction with an emphasis in literacy from San Diego State University, Melanie explained, “I love creating new curriculum and finding things that get my students excited about learning.”

Part of her success, Melanie acknowledges, is due to her colleagues at Pacific Rim. “I feel honored to work beside them and humbled that they would select me for this honor.” But it is the entire Pacific Rim community that contributes to Melanie’s passion in the classroom. “I enjoy getting to know my students and their families each year,” she acknowledged. “We laugh together and just have a blast learning!”


Name: Melanie Lupica
Profession: Kindergarten teacher
Hobbies: Walking my giant Great Dane, going to the beach, and spending time with friends and family
Favorite Places in Carlsbad: Carlsbad State Beach, Pacific Rim Elementary, Fidels, In N’ Out, Kelly Cardenas Salon, Menchies, the Carlsbad Regal Movie Theater, The Cole Library, and all of the awesome parks in the city!


faces_lupica2At home, Melanie shared that she is married to her best friend, Joe, and they have three awesome kids: Emma, 14, Jillian, 10, and Bennett, 5. All the children attend school in Carlsbad and are active in local sports. Melanie herself is a Rancho Buena Vista High School alumni, where she played volleyball, soccer, softball, and field hockey. It was also where she met Joe. “His locker was right below mine,” she shared. “I guess it was meant to be!”

Most recently, Melanie, alongside a few colleagues, started Pacific Rim’s community service club, Waveriders Care. Their first year was a productive one, completing many service projects around the community, including caroling at the Sunrise Senior Living Home, hosting a toy drive for Solutions for Change, and making dog treats for the Carlsbad Animal Shelter.

Melanie is known for her positive attitude, team mentality, and innovation. She is considered a role model by her colleagues. For Melanie, she feels just as blessed to be at Pacific Rim as her school community feels about having her. “Working at Pacific Rim is my dream job!”