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Melisa Ramos Walters Named CAST STEM Teacher of the Year


Earlier this week Melisa Ramos Walters was named CAST STEM’s teacher of the year. Walters has taught at CAST STEM since 2020, and fully believes in supporting student voice.


Walters credited her early start to PREP, or, the Pre-freshman Engineering Program, where she was exposed to early engineering and mathematics courses at a young age thanks to Dr. Manuel Berriozaball, who emphasized placing lower-income students in high-opportunity areas of growth. Dr. Berriozaball instilled into Walters a sense of “rising up” to the occasion; something she has kept with her and instilled into her own students even today.


Mrs. Walters graduated from UTSA with her BS in Mathematics and a minor in Statistics. During her time at UTSA she helped found UTSA’s Math Club, with several of the founding members going on to serve as Chairs for the Alamo Colleges. Walters then obtained her Master’s degree from Rice University.


Mrs. Walters began teaching at the Atonement Academy, and after one year teaching at Great Hearts Northern Oaks, she heard about CAST STEM and their unique approach to teaching. When she learned about CAST’s emphasis on student voice and project-based learning, Mrs. Walters knew this was the school for her.





At CAST STEM, Walters emphasizes getting to know her students personally in order to foster a more productive learning environment – a sentiment she learned from her PBL mentor, Dr. Carol Harle:


“Get to know your students. Every student has a unique style. If you can learn who your students are as people, you will know how to teach them.”


CAST STEM Principal Rodriguez came in with a vision and Walters trusts her leadership to provide the success that the students need in order to reach their academic goals. Aaron Patino, CAST STEM’s 2022-23 Teacher of the Year, has also been a helpful mentor for Walters: 

Both Principal Rodriguez and Mr. Patino have brought in the culture of our Southwest ISD. Southwest ISD encompasses a family-first culture. The people that embrace this concept are the ones that lead the transformations and changes that are occurring, and that is why I call this place home.


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The Centers for Applied Science and Technology (CAST) Network is a tax-exempt organization as described in Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Service code. CAST Schools are partnership schools with a focus on STEM careers, project based learning and work-based learning. Key partners include public school districts, higher education institutions, and local employers from target industries.