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Melissa Flory-Guerra has been selected as a 2018 California Agriculture Teacher’s Association (CATA) Teacher of Excellence at the CATA Summer Conference at Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo.

To earn this award, a teacher must have taught a minimum of ten years in an agriculture program, been an active member in the CATA organization and be nominated by their peers. Additional selection criteria includes the candidate’s professional activities, student accomplishments, community involvement and the strength of their instruction and program.

Melissa’s career began 24 years ago in the Modesto City Schools where she was instrumental in getting $90,000 to start a new farm lab facility.  Recruited by her former agriculture teacher, she returned to Southern California, where she was a part of the successful Jag-Ag Academy. 

While a part of the Jag-Ag Academy, she was recognized in 2000 as our State CATA Outstanding Young Teacher.  Moving to Foothill High in Bakersfield, Melissa taught Agri-Business and ran a successful Virtual Enterprise program, along with the other FFA CDE’s and SAE’s.

In 2002, she accepted the challenge of starting a brand new program at Nipomo High School. In 2005, Melissa was recruited into the Santa Maria High School District, where she has established herself for the past 14 years. There, she works side by side with her husband of 12 years, Luis Guerra. Together they have two children, David, 11, and Alyssa, 8. 

At Santa Maria High School, she has taught everything from Agriculture Leadership and Agriculture Economics to Agriculture Welding. In addition, she supervises the beef cattle SAE projects and has coached a variety of Career Development Event teams including Agronomy, Parliamentary Procedure and Agriculture Welding.

“My best enjoyment of ag teaching has been working with the local community and businesses as I teach students to be a part of their local community through charity and learning skills that the local businesses need,’’ she said.

Additionally, Melissa will be recognized in October at 2018 National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana as a recipient of the Honorary American Degree. This recognition is given to teachers who have created high-quality agricultural education programs which inspire and motivate their students to strive for success.


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