Degrees and Certifications:
Ms. Melissa Lard, Principal
I am entering my 20th year in education. I graduated from University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign) in Elementary Education and taught fifth grade students for four years in California after graduating from college. I was born and raised in Pekin, so picking up and moving to California was quite an adventure! I thoroughly enjoyed teaching in California, but decided to move back to Pekin to be closer to family. Upon my return I taught three years (fifth and sixth grade students) at Wilson Intermediate School. I also was an At-Risk Instructor at L.E. Starke Primary School and completed my master’s degree in Educational Administration through Illinois State University. My first administrative position was at Broadmoor Junior High School as the assistant principal. After being at Broadmoor for four years, I came to Dirksen Primary School. This will be my 9th year at Dirksen Primary School.
I was born and raised in Pekin. I have three older brothers and eight nieces and nephews. My son, Lewis, is nine years old and keeps me very busy! He loves sports and is in 4th grade at Wilson Intermediate. My daughter Iris is two years old, and we enjoy life as a family of four. In my spare time, I enjoy running, reading, and spending time with friends and family.