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Dr. Melissa M. Lacey is teaching as Senior Aerospace Science Instructor at Bob Jones High School. CONTRIBUTED

Lacey joins Air Force JROTC at Bob Jones

MADISON – Dr. Melissa M. Lacey, a retired Major in the United States Air Force, now is teaching as Senior Aerospace Science Instructor at Bob Jones High School.

Lacey has taught AFJROTC for seven years: Air Force (Senior) ROTC, Alabama State University while in the Air Force; and S.R. Butler, Huntsville, J.O. Johnson and Jemison high schools.

At Bob Jones, Lacey teaches “Aviation History” and “Drill and Ceremony” and eventually will teach “Science of Flight,” “Cultural Studies” and “Exploration of Space.” She coaches AFJROTC Cyber Security, CyberPatriot and Orienteering.

“I absolutely love the cadets at Bob Jones. They’re great cadets and always willing to participate in community service projects and give 100 percent to AFJROTC,” Lacey said.

Lacey graduated from Academic Instructor School and Air Command & Staff College and earned a bachelor’s degree in computer business applications from Wayland Baptist University, Hawaii; master’s, human resource management, Troy State University; post-master’s Certificate of College Teaching and doctorate of organization management, Capella University.

“I prescribe to the philosophy that we, as teachers, should meet students where they are,” Lacey said. “Students learn best when they are challenged with a range of instructional strategies.”

“I strive daily to provide an enthusiastic, enjoyable, yet challenging learning experience. Within JROTC, we stress discipline, so I will admit that I am a strict disciplinarian,” she said.

“In Huntsville, I mostly taught in Title I schools with students from low socioeconomic status,” Lacey said. To rebuild Butler’s AFJROTC program, she constantly recruited cadets in the hallways. “One particular junior enrolled in JROTC but wasn’t motivated. He wasn’t sure what he wanted to do after high school.”

Lacey introduced him to flying in “Aviation Fundamentals”, sponsored by FlyQuest that provides opportunities to youth in aerospace education, aviation careers and “to experience the joy of flight.” Lacey’s student quickly realized his love for flying and enrolled in aerospace engineering at the University of Alabama.

“If I hadn’t taken time to push this young man, who appeared to not have the desire or drive to be successful, where would he be in life now? Success stories like his are why I’ll always challenge and encourage students, regardless of socioeconomic status,” Lacey said.

The Laceys moved to Madison in 2010 with husband Maruren Lacey’s job with Defense Contracting Management Agency. Their children are Marcus, a junior majoring in finance at Auburn University; Marissa, a freshman broadcast journalism major at Troy; and Mya, sixth-grader at Discovery Middle School.

“Between AFJROTC activities and our daughter’s volleyball games, every weekend is filled,” Melissa said. “I love reading and will sneak time in late at night with a good book when I can stay awake.”

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