Ms. Melissa is beginning her second season as Director of the Cougarettes, having served as the Assistant Director from 2019 – 2022. As a coach and mentor she places high value on poise, discipline, precision and teamwork all within a fun and encouraging atmosphere for her students. She loves being able to teach the Cougarettes to give glory to the Lord through dance while promoting school spirit and representing our school and community well. Melissa grew up in a small town northeast of Dallas and was a studio-trained dancer from a young age. She discovered her passion for drill team in school and was a junior 1st Lieutenant and senior Head Dance Captain of her high school team. She then continued her dance career at the collegiate level as a member of the Tyler Junior College Apache Belles from 1999 – 2001 under the direction of Ruth Flynn. As an Apache Belle, she traveled and performed internationally – most notably in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Lord Mayor’s Ball in Dublin, Ireland. Other performance credits include Dallas Cowboys pre-games and halftime shows, a featured appearance on the television show Texas Country Reporter, participated in Houston’s Bank of America Thanksgiving Day Parades, Tyler Rose Parades, and performances at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Melissa was honored to serve as Chaplain her sophomore year of Apache Belles. Throughout her dance career, she consistently received both personal and team top honors, awards and scholarships throughout camps, competitions and conventions. Following TJC, Melissa then attended Baylor University in Waco, Texas. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Public Relations. In addition to directing the Cougarettes, Melissa also works full-time for a local advertising agency and writes for a local magazine, as well as a regional outdoor magazine. After college, Melissa lived in Houston and Dallas for 10 years before returning to East Texas in 2013 with her family. She attends Grace Community Church – UB Campus. Her daughters, Caroline and Natalie, are students of Grace Community School and are active participants in the athletics and fine arts programs at school.