Mely Larios

Position: Office Manager

School: SOAR Charter Academy

School District: San Bernardino City Unified School District

City, State: San Bernardino, California

About the Nominee: Mely Larios was nominated by her principal, Trisha Lancaster.

Ms. Larios has worked at SOAR Charter Academy since its inception in 2008. She has been an integral part of the school's initial and continuing success. At the time she was hired, the staff consisted of five educators trying to start a new K-3 charter school in a struggling neighborhood. In SOAR's first year, the school only had one administrator and 5 teachers with 130 students. Ms. Larios was hired to handle multiple office-related roles such as ordering, customer service, nurse, nutrition services, admin secretary, back office contact, scheduler, custodian, etc. She is an irreplaceable part of SOAR and her colleagues recognize how important of a role she has always played.

According to Ms. Lancaster, Ms. Larios is the school's right-hand lady and always has been. She is the glue that has kept the staff together and sane for the last 8 1/2 years. Ms. Larios arrived with some school office experience, but has definitely had to constantly learn new things in the various roles she plays at SOAR. Being an employee at a charter school is a very demanding job that often includes things that are not necessarily in your job description. Ms. Larios is a tremendous team player who always goes above and beyond. The school's families and staff have depended on her organization, calm but friendly demeanor, and dedication to everything SOAR-related. She does not hesitate to come in early or stay late when necessary, many times without even being asked.

As SOAR has grown over the years, Ms. Larios has grown with SOAR. The school currently has 55 employees and 460 students in K-8th grade. She is now responsible for many financial and human resource duties, and her job remains an integral part of our administration and program. Without Ms. Larios, Ms. Lancaster doesn't know where SOAR would be. The work Ms. Larios does behind the scenes has kept SOAR running smoothly over the years, and for that, she is a LifeChanger!

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