Education Success Stories
SGT Robert Mellace
SGT Robert Mellace was born and raised in West Virginia and has lived most of his life in the Charleston area. In March of 1999, he made a life-changing decision by joining the WV Army National Guard at 17 years of age. Robert had been a part of the JROTC program at Capital High School, but had no idea how the guard would change his life.
After Robert graduated from Capital High School, he used the GI Bill and Tuition Assistance to acquire a Bachelors Degree in Secondary Education and a Masters Degree in Secondary Education, Educational Technology. Robert’s Academic Achievements included, but were not limited to the Marshall University Key Award and the National Deans List. When asked about his guard experience, Robert said
“I have to thank the Army National Guard for providing me with the assistance that I required to acquire an advanced degree in my profession. They have offered me and many other young soldiers the prospect of overcoming the financial obstacles associated with attending institutions of higher education in order to produce highly productive professionals who exceed the standards within their own respective career fields.”
He was certified as a teacher, but immediately found that he was well-suited to assisting Soldiers full-time, first serving as a Personnel Services Sergeant, then serving as the Bonus and Incentives Program Manager. In this capacity, SGT Mellace managed bonuses and student loan repayments for 4,500 members of the WVARNG.
In 2008, Troops to Teachers called upon SGT Mellace to serve as the Troops to Teachers Coordinator for WV, a position of great responsibility. SGT Mellace is solely responsible for the promotions, direction, event planning, and budget management of the Troops to Teachers program in WV. Since taking the position, he has offered teacher certification counseling to over 450 current or former military service members who have expressed an interest in teaching within West Virginia.
Under SGT Mellace’s watchful eye, the Troops to Teachers program has flourished in WV. Through carefully crafted advertising and marketing events, SGT Mellace has successfully built a foundation for this important veterans benefits program. Some of the more noteworthy of these events include a launch event, recognition of Troops to Teachers successes by Governor Manchin in the 2009 State of the State address, 5K runs, and sponsorship of an air show at the 167th Airlift Wing in 2010.
When asked about his previous work in military education and for Troops to Teachers, SGT Mellace states “I am honored to be in a position that assists veterans in their pursuit of educational career paths in West Virginia. It has always my dream to affect positive change within our society and the public school systems of the mountain state. Now I am living that dream by bringing top notch teacher candidates to the school districts that need them the most.”