20 under 40: Beth Melton, Northwest Colorado BOCES
With a full-time job, a 1½-year-old son and a new business, Steamboat Springs’ Beth Melton, 33, is adept at juggling multiple responsibilities, even carving out time to give back to the community she’s called home since 2013.
In her current role as lead “innovation coach” at Northwest BOCES — Board of Cooperative Educational Services — Beth serves on the leadership team administering a five-year, $3 million federal grant that BOCES received. She provides professional development to teachers from 15 different elementary schools in the region and helps them improve their classroom instruction and Colorado teacher “effectiveness ratings.”
The Walla Walla, Washington, native is a former classroom teacher and reading interventionist who holds an undergraduate degree in psychology from Reed College in Portland, Oregon, and a master’s degree in early childhood and elementary education from Lewis and Clark College. She also earned a graduate certificate in education leadership and policy studies from the University of Denver’s Executive Leadership for Successful Schools program.
This year, Melton was appointed to serve on the Colorado Department of Education’s dyslexia focus group, which was a huge honor for the young educator.
And, if she wasn’t busy enough, Melton and business partner Kim Schulz recently launched Steamboat Reading, a new business focused on providing additional resources for kids struggling with reading in the Steamboat community. She also volunteers with Routt County First Impressions and the Young Professionals Network, where she’s the incoming co-chair of the board. She’s also a graduate of the Leadership Steamboat program.
One of Melton’s mentors, Paula Cooper Black describes her young protégée as a perfect example of why Steamboat has a bright future ahead.
“Beth’s background in education and her work across several counties with her position at BOCES has allowed her to bring new and inventive ideas to Steamboat and Routt County,” Cooper Black says. “This work has allowed her to see the benefits of cross-governmental collaborations and the benefits of community engagement.”
Melton gets things done, not by multi-tasking, but by prioritizing her time.
“I sit down and I focus my attention on one thing at a time. I get more done that way,” she says. “How you spend your time shows your priorities. And it’s definitely about learning to say ‘no’ and knowing there are choices.”
Melton says she also benefits from having a husband who is a true partner.
“There’s no way I could do all this without Will being wildly supportive,” she says. “There’s no question about our shared role in parenting. Will’s always there, and he’s amazing.”
She also subscribes to the belief that it truly takes a village to raise her son, Clark.
“Clark goes with me anywhere he can,” Melton says. “I think Clark gains by me being involved in the community. I want as many people as possible involved in his life, to give him a supportive community to grow up in.”
Through her involvement in YPN, Melton has focused on expanding professional development opportunities for the organization’s members. Most recently, she was in charge of planning an Onboarding event that connected YPN members with nonprofit groups in the community.
“For a number of years, I’ve been thinking of how we could do this, and it was highly successful in terms of turnout for the nonprofits, and the YPN attendees felt very positive about the event,” Melton says.
When it comes to being a leader, she adds that she focuses on “building collective capacity.”
“One of the things I got out of my education leadership program is being able to see the big picture and the small details and supporting everyone in the system to be successful,” Melton says. “And I really believe another important part of leadership is that any work you do is able to continue after you’re gone.”
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