More than a decade after finishing eighth grade, 2003 alumna Melissa Cohen Silver is back at the Epstein School to teach English in the Middle School.

The daughter of 1976 Epstein alumna Heidi Cohen, a member of the Epstein Alumni Hall of Fame, Silver said she has known since being asked by her fifth-grade Hebrew teacher that she wanted to teach when she grew up.

“I became a teacher because I love making connections with my students and helping them achieve moments of success and realization,” Silver said.

Melissa Cohen Silver

Melissa Cohen Silver

She had help in realizing her goal from Epstein Middle School Principal Myrna Rubel, who has served as a mentor to Silver for many years. Silver said Rubel helped her choose a college and a graduate program, helped her prepare to apply and interview for teaching jobs, and served as a sounding board while Silver developed a Holocaust curriculum at her previous school, Renfroe Middle School in Decatur.

“To me, Mrs. Rubel is the authority on all things learning and teaching. I’m immensely grateful to be working with her and am thrilled to be able to learn from her on a daily basis,” Silver said.

Rubel said Epstein is excited to have Silver. “When our alumni return to teach at the school, it speaks volumes about the quality of an Epstein education and the importance of the relationships and lifetime connections made at the school.”

Silver earned a bachelor’s degree in English and history from the University of Georgia and a master’s in teaching from Emory University. She holds gifted education and International Baccalaureate endorsements. She taught sixth-grade humanities at Renfroe, a charter school.

About her focus as an English teacher, Silver said: “The work we do in English class requires a lot of reflection, making connections and creativity. I hope to help students develop their own voice by infusing their own experiences and personalities into their writing.”