By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Kris Meece is 'Best of Ceres' teacher
Kris Meece was named by Ceres Courier readers as the best teacher in Ceres and there's little wonder why she's a favorite. She loves her work in the world of third-graders and her passion is transparent.

"They're a ton of fun," said Meece of third-graders. "They're still kids. They're not little but they're still growing. They still have a love of learning where they want to learn about everything. And they're not old enough yet to have too much attitude."

Meece has been teaching at Carroll Fowler for 16 years. Her drive to become a teacher is rooted in her experience as a student while growing up in Pacifica; she had great teachers who inspired her with hands-on lessons and field trips. After graduating from Terra Nova High School, Kris first studied at San Francisco State but grew frustrated in overcrowded classrooms so she decided to head to the Valley where there's a slower pace of life. She enrolled in California State University, Stanislaus. Stanislaus County, which was logical since it was midway between the coast and her family's cabin in Arnold.

"I like it here but I will always miss the ocean."

Kris was first a student teacher at Christine Sipherd Elementary (Empire) and then with Ceres Unified as she earned her teaching credential. She was assigned to working alongside kindergarten teacher Betty Davis, now a member of the School Board. Meece's first teaching role was for pre-school classes at Don Pedro Elementary and then second grade at Carroll Fowler.

Last year she moved up to third grade.

"My philosophy of teaching is to have fun, while learning," said Meece, quickly adding that that goes for both her and her students. "The experiences I had as a kid, I remember everything I did that was hands on, field trips and science experiments. Those were the times I was having the most fun ... and I was learning."

Meece relishes in teaching math, which is one of the hardest subjects for students to grasp.

"I love those light bulb moments when they actually get something, that look on their faces when they connect to something," said Meece. "That's one of the best things about teaching."

She also enjoys how families stay in touch with her over the years.

"Families that I taught 15, 16 years ago will still come back and say hello and let me know how they're doing. I have some of my (former) students who are parents now, which kind of makes me feel really old. And I have some in college. I love that feeling that families would take the time to come back and say hello."

The job of teaching is definitely enhanced by healthy families, she said.

"I see a lot of involved families but those are definitely the kids who succeed. And the families who aren't and the ones who don't read or communicate really are the ones who are struggling. The key to success for kids is the participation at home."

Long tenure at Carroll Fowler has been encouraged by a staff that she praises as "great people." Teachers like Meece are energized by the ever rising academic performance of students at Carroll Fowler Elementary. The students there gained the most Academic Performance Index (API) points in the district with a 28-point improvement and earned a score of 805. The state considers a score of 800 to be proficient.

"She's an excellent teacher," commented Principal Bruce Clifton. "She has a great relationship with her students and parents. She's a top-tiered teacher."

Meece also is the advisor to the Carroll Fowler Student Council.

"She goes above and beyond," added Clifton.

Such as also attending the district's Leadership Academy designed to teach about the inner workings of the district.

"When we took the pay cut I thought it was the perfect time to learn what's going on over there so I can understand why all that happened," said Meece. "It's really informative. I've learned a lot that I didn't know before, even after being in the district this long."

Taking the class is not a signal that she desires to work into administration, she said, as her passion is with children.

"She's a learner," Clifton said. "She wants to broaden her spectrum and skills."

Meece said she's proud to work for CUSD, mostly because of its quest to continually educate the teachers. She also has found time to be involved in the CCDI, or Ceres Certification of Direct Instruction to learn good teaching practices.

"We never stop learning," said Meece. "We can never get to a place where we stop learning or you become stale and I don't want to do that."

Married to Ripon Police officer Steven Meese, Kris is mother Haley, a fourth-grader at Carroll Fowler.

The Meeces are quite involved in raising funds for Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). They got involved in the charity - doing walks and Rides for a Cure - because Haley has suffered from Type 1 diabetes since she was three years old. Having a child with medical issues, she noted, allows her to have a "better understanding" of what students and parents go through.

When she's not in the classroom, Kris enjoys traveling and visiting the Bay Area and Lake Tahoe.

"I was a skiier until I discovered the snowmobile."