Little Village Academy Assistant Principal Details Her Rewarding Career
SCHOOLS | April 7, 2022
Little Village Academy Assistant Principal Details Her Rewarding Career

When it was time for Ms. Edna Melgar, the assistant principal of Little Village Academy, to select a college major, she figured that she would follow in the footsteps of many of her family members and major in computer science. However, after working as a recreational leader at a park district one summer, she knew that she wanted to work with children as a career. 

She joined Little Village Academy nearly a decade ago as a bilingual coordinator. Soon after, she transitioned into the assistant principal position based on encouragement from her colleagues. 

“I think my colleagues felt like I was a good fit because they saw that I am very patient and compassionate with others,” she said. “When I speak with both children and adults, I always make sure their voices are heard.” 

Now, as she reflects on everything that she has accomplished at Little Village, the word that comes to her mind is rewarding. Some of her favorite memories at the school include school-wide events that help students enjoy education, such as an annual celebration for Pi Day, where students recite the digits of pi and do other pi (and pie) related activities. She also finds joy in building relationships with students that last well beyond the end of the school year. 

“It’s amazing to see our students come in as kindergarteners, a little scared and unsure, and then grow to where they are graduating and leaving our school with confidence,” she said. “We have one student who is currently engaging in our LSC elections. I remember when she was in second grade, and now, several years later, here she is talking elaborately about how she wants to be an advocate for others.” 

In order to maximize her ability to support students, AP Melgar knows that collaborating with her colleagues is essential. Her success in this area starts with her close bond with the school’s principal, Ms. Lillian Lazu. She notes that she has learned so much from observing her principal’s open communication style and transparency with all members of the school community.

She also prioritizes showing appreciation to her teachers and staff. She and Principal Lazu have routine check-ins to ensure their needs are being met and that they feel supported. 

“The pandemic really made me appreciate having our teachers here in the building more because they are the backbone of our school,” she said. “Considering how much we all have lost over the past few years, they are doing a tremendous job of making sure our students have the social-emotional support they need.” 

Moving forward, AP Melgar says that this focus on social-emotional learning will be essential in helping students focus on being successful academically. In the wake of all of the challenges that schools have faced, being successful in her role means making sure that all members of her school community, especially students, feel important and know their voices matter. 

These efforts aren’t always easy, which is why AP Melgar has grown a deep appreciation for others who take school leadership roles. 

“I want my fellow APs to know that I appreciate everything they do and know that they are changing lives every single day,” she said. “They should keep up the good work and know that they got this because all the energy, compassion, and long hours they put in do not go unnoticed.” 

By leading by example over the past decade, AP Melgar says that she has become more comfortable and confident in herself. She hopes that her students are able to see the hard work she puts into her job and be inspired by those qualities as they work toward their own goals. 

“With our students being able to view their school administrators as role models, it shows them that they shouldn’t be afraid to take risks,” she said. “We want all our students, especially our girls, to know that they can grow and they can become leaders.”