After completing my bachelor's degree in Puerto Rico, I attended Penn State University to obtain a master's degree in bilingual education, which led to a graduate assistant job with the College of Education. I was then accepted into the doctoral program, and while working as an assistant instructor, I completed my degree in Curriculum and Instruction. This is when I became involved in an ethnographic study on migrant education that changed my life forever.
I learned about the migrant lifestyle by hearing stories shared by children and families. My research put me in contact with the Pennsylvania Migrant Education Program, where I was hired as the coordinator for the student records exchange system and eventually became the state identification & recruitment (ID&R) coordinator. During my experience there, I learned about respecting hard working recruiters, advocates, liaisons and data entry specialists as much as I learned about records exchange, migrant child eligibility and recruitment. After a few years, I joined ESCORT, where my learning continues today.
My philosophy about work is centered on relationships, communication and humor. I found that making an effort to maintain good relationships enhances everyone's collaboration and commitment. It is important to treat people respectfully if you want to be treated the same. At the same time, you have to have clear expectations and accept responsibility for your own actions. I believe it is important to consider all the angles of a situation before making decisions. I take my time, when possible, to make decisions that will not need to be reversed. I like to communicate clearly with those affected or potentially involved in a decision to make sure I take into account all of the possible angles. And humor is needed every day as many conflicts can be avoided with a good laugh.
I respect the dedication of the ESCORT staff and all educators who work every day with children and their families - recruiters, advocates, liaisons, and teachers. They have the power to change children's lives every day, and they are not afraid of this task.
As an assistant director working out of ESCORT South, Ray Melecio provides professional development services to states in ESCORT's service areas on ID&R of migrant children, multicultural awareness, second language acquisition, parent involvement and other migrant education program issues. He has worked for ESCORT since 1993. Prior to that, he was state coordinator of ID&R for the Pennsylvania Migrant Education Program. He holds a Ph.D. from the College of Education at Penn State University with an emphasis in Bilingual Education.