While the middle school years trouble many teens, Debby Jensen remembers them fondly. Unlike her peers, Debby had a better rapport with her teachers than her classmates.

Debby has shared with me that she’s always loved learning—pencil in hand, ready to write. She arrived to class on-time, with a thirst for knowledge, often lingering afterward to connect with her teachers on a deeper level. It was during those years Debby developed her deep love of writing, her inner flame fueled by the educators who believed she could.

Today, the same eager-to-learn Debby graces our campus of Fusion Los Gatos. Now the teacher, she’s able to pay it forward, developing those critical connections with her students. A lifelong learner in the truest sense, Debby’s passion for learning energizes her students, and empowers them to love learning as well.

Debby works hard to build a relationship with each of her students, stemming from a foundation of understanding and respect. She learns more about students’ co-curricular activities, passions, and families and then translates them into lessons that ignite their inner learner.

While she’s not one to brag, Debby is an avid and brilliant writer. She is a 10-time National Novel Writing Month participant, having written four 50,000 word novels in the science fiction, fantasy, and young adult genres. She has inspired her students to do the same. This past year, 10 students at Los Gatos created their own writing goals and took part in the challenge.

At Fusion Academy Los Gatos, we have all benefited from Debby’s presence on campus. She has a great spirit and is unapologetically herself. I’m confident to say that our teens will think differently about their middle school days—especially with a teacher like Debby around to always encourage and support them.

Melissa Mayes is the Head of School at Fusion Academy Los Gatos. Melissa is a Bay Area native who ventured to Malibu and Florence, Italy to pursue her undergraduate degree in International Studies from Pepperdine University.    She received her Multiple Subject teaching credential from San Jose State University where she became an ardent supporter of progressive education, focusing on social-emotional learning and differentiated instruction, as well as being an outspoken teacher-leader.

Melissa found Fusion by chance while looking for opportunities to work in an individualized setting and knew immediately both the learning environment and unique culture was a perfect complement to her educational philosophy.

After a year at Fusion, she left the classroom and other teaching endeavors to share Fusion’s powerful model with families and community members as the Director of Admissions and Outreach(DAO). After a year and a half as DAO, she stepped into the role of Head of School where she continues to foster these relationships and draws upon her educational and management expertise.

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