Melissa Webb was selected as the 2021 recipient of The University of Alabama Outstanding Service by a Graduate Student Award given by the UA Grad School for her extensive service record which is tied to her academic work/training and for incorporating a high level of community engagement into your work. The committee recognized her demonstrated impact on both Tuscaloosa City Schools and the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. The awards committee also noted her commitment to improving prekindergarten education and providing educational opportunities for teachers, students, and families. 

Melissa is highly involved in service at the university, in the local community, in PreK-12 education across the state, and with early childhood and elementary education teachers across the country. She works on initiatives that provide service to Tuscaloosa City Schools, especially working with Pre-K and kindergarten teachers to implement high-quality play-based learning and authentic assessment practices. Melissa regularly visits the school and classrooms to check in with the teachers and offer her support outside of her regularly scheduled work time. The teachers know they can rely on her for assistance and encouragement. Much of the success and ongoing relationships our C&I faculty have with these teachers and administrators is due to Melissa’s relationship-building skills, hands-on involvement, and willingness to always go the extra mile when it comes to helping teachers, children, and families.

She currently works with Dr. Cailin Kerch and Dr. Alison Hooper to help launch the UA Early Learning Initiative at Gadsden. Her passion for this project is clear through her commitment to putting in additional hours, her willingness to travel to Gadsden to offer assistance in person, and her interest in ensuring that the local community benefits from the work.

Melissa’s passion for serving others is clear from the moment that you meet her. She is always ready to help her colleagues, students, and other educators. As just one example, despite her own busy personal schedule, she supports our undergraduate students by offering through free tutoring on the Praxis exams on her own time. Melissa embodies servant leadership and lives out the mission of the University of Alabama daily.