Maximizing the Success of Every Student

By Journalism student, Téa D. Class of 2021,

Melissa Kalinoff, New Life Academy’s registrar, was inspired to become a teacher because she loved working with kids when she was younger, specifically “teaching” her younger brothers before they started school. Mrs. Kalinoff, now in her 12th year on staff, was drawn to working at New Life Academy because of the impact she saw teachers having on her oldest daughter when she was in Pre-K. “I saw how incredibly passionate many of the teachers were about their students and jobs and that made it a very appealing team to be a part of.”  

Mrs. Kalinoff is now the Registrar and is assisting this year’s seniors with the college application process, which is a hastened and unprecedented process due to the pandemic. Mrs. Kalinoff explains, “There is a lot of unknowns, and a lot of confusion. Nothing is normal [because of COVID]. Everything seems to be delayed. There’s a lot of seniors who are stressed out. They missed a whole summer, really a whole spring and summer to get that foot in the door.”  She doesn’t seem to be phased by this setback, though. “[Now I am] helping them search, doing a lot more researching for or with them, [seeing] what [a certain college has] for this degree,” she says. This flexibility as well as her love for the school have been crucial in her ability to do all sorts of different jobs at New Life. 

“I’ve   loved   every   job   I’ve   had   here.   I’ve never dreaded coming to school. Never,” Mrs. Kalinoff says about her time at NLA. Over the course of 12 years, she has been a crucial element for several different departments. She has been an instructor in the fine arts department, taught computer, helped with professional development, been the librarian, taught in the Makerspace Center, and fixed technology issues as the media specialist. 

“I’ve   kind   of learned   from each area and taken it with me, and each area has helped me progress,” she says. She elaborates that she doesn’t feel she has worked her way up, but rather has gained knowledge along with experience in each position. Currently, her official title is “Registrar”. 

“I support students with college planning, applications, making schedules at New Life, and academic help,” Mrs. Kalinoff states when asked about her current duties. Many students have attributed their academic success to Mrs. Kalinoff. 

“Without   her, I   probably   wouldn’t   go   to college   because   I   wouldn’t   know   what   I was doing,” claims senior Molly when asked about Mrs. Kalinoff’s influence.  She goes on to elaborate that Mrs. Kalinoff has guided her not only through academic planning but also in her personal spiritual development.  “She’s my ‘prayer mom’,” Molly says. 

Mrs Kalinoff coaches seniors on their college selection

It’s evident that Mrs. Kalinoff’s support means so much to Molly and other students like her. Mrs, Kalinoff’s ability to invest in the whole student beyond just academic achievements helps New Life students to find their purpose and to lead them to success. 

“I want to help people really have success, whatever it means to them,” Mrs. Kalinoff states, when asked about her goal for her time at New Life. “My hope in everything is that I am making it easier for somebody else or helping them to be successful. We [faculty] have the opportunity all day long to give and receive, through words and actions, the message of God’s love, peace, forgiveness, wisdom, and guidance.” 

The goal of our Academic, College and Career Counseling Center is to maximize the success of each student by removing learning obstacles and navigating social emotional challenges so they can thrive at New Life. It’s clear that Mrs. Kalinoff has done, and is doing, an excellent job in coaching and preparing our students for their next steps after high school.