CUSD Spotlight on Karin Mellina, 7 Things You Didn't Know About Coronado Middle School's Principal

Posted by: District 1 year, 2 months ago

CUSD Spotlight on Karin Mellina, 7 Things You Didn't Know About Coronado Middle School's Principal

Inspired by her high school counselor, Karin Mellina decided to get a masters degree in counseling psychology. In pursuing that degree, she spent time in the classroom and then decided to become a teacher after seeing what they did and how they inspired students. She taught for 10 years and after being encouraged by a mentor, Mellina put her counseling degree to work in the leadership role as an assistant principal.


She served as an AP for seven years before recently taking on the position of principal at Coronado Middle School. She’s excited for this role, saying, “I get to do so many more amazing things than just counseling kids and can really make huge impacts on academics and staff.”

From grooving at home to encouraging and supporting students at school, Mellina shares a few things about herself that parents, staff and students might not have guessed otherwise.

1.     What subject was your favorite when you were in school?

I really liked history, but if I was being totally honest, it was choir. I just loved singing and it was just a great way for me to express myself. I liked history class too because I thought it was really cool to learn about what had happened in the past, and being a kid it’s hard to imagine anything happening before you.

2.     What inspired you to work in education?

It was two things. My high school counselor was just so inspiring to me. That age is hard, right? And she just really made me believe in myself. Another reason is because my middle school experience was not great—I don’t think a lot of people have great middle school experiences—and I wanted to be there to support kids to have a better experience and know it’s okay if they’re feeling a little lost sometimes. Nothing is going to be perfect, but you can make it through. It’s nice to know there’s somebody there who gets it and really cares about you. So that’s what I had and I wanted to give back and do that, too.

3.     What do you like best about your job?

I can’t even tell you how much I love what I do. I love the kids, I love the staff that I work with, I love being able to inspire people. More than that, I love being able to empower students to just be their best self and know that it’s always just about growth. It’s not about perfection, that’s not real. It’s about being the best that you can be, and being the best version of yourself.


4.     What are some of the challenges that face your students?

I think the biggest challenge between the ages of 11 to 14 is just trusting yourself, believing you’re doing the right thing, and taking risks—even just raising your hand in class and asking a question. They feel judged and that makes them nervous. I just want them to be able to trust themselves and know that it’s okay to make mistakes as long as you grow from those mistakes. That’s a huge challenge for them at this age; they’re just not completely trusting of themselves.


5.     What goals do you have for this school year?

This year, we implemented a brand new vision for our school and it’s all based around growth and empowering kids to strive to be the best they can be through their own personal learning style. Everyone learns differently and I want the kids to embrace their own personal learning style and know that it’s all about just doing the best that they can do. Another goal for me this year is to work closely with my staff as well to empower them. As a principal this year—and this is my first full year as principal—it’s really amazing that I finally get to do what I’ve envisioned. And that’s really exciting.

6.     What is one of your favorite Halloween memories?

Probably one of my favorite Halloween memories is, I think I was in fifth grade, and I don’t even remember what I was dressed up as, maybe Raggedy Anne. But there was somebody who had a sheet over them, like a ghost, and they were chasing us down the street. It was so scary. And as soon as I stopped and just fell to the ground and started crying, they took the costume off and it was my brother. He definitely got me!