Melissa Ambrose, LCSW/PPS, is the wellness counselor at Oceana High School, an alternative public high school in northern San Mateo County. Oceana is committed to developing the full potential of all students and to ensuring that principals of social justice are reflected in both classroom curriculum and school-wide practices. Melissa has been a member of Oceana’s highly collaborative faculty for 20 years. She taught 9th and 10th grade Humanities for nine years prior to completing a master’s degree in social work at San Francisco State University and becoming the school’s wellness counselor.
Melissa began teaching mindfulness in classrooms and to her colleagues at Oceana after attending the Mindful Schools curriculum training in 2010. In 2015, she graduated from the Mindful Schools yearlong teacher training program, enabling her to deepen both her personal practice and her commitment to teaching. The Mindful Schools community provides essential support for her personal practice and her view of teaching as a learning process. Her teaching is shaped by a belief that teachers who prioritize self-care and skillfully meet difficulties in their personal and professional lives are better able to support students. To this end, she has organized groups and presented mindfulness workshops for educators at school, county and regional conferences, including the Ahimsa Center at California State Polytechnic University Care, Compassion and Mindfulness Conference in 2014.