Alumnus wraps up impactful first year as head of LHU’s tutoring center

PHOTO PROVIDED Reed Mellinger, LHU alumnus and coordinator of tutorial services at LHU, is shown with his dog, Bomber, a pet therapy dog, in the tutoring center.

LOCK HAVEN — Lock Haven University alumnus, Reed Mellinger ’85, retired as principal of Jersey Shore Area High School in 2018 and now serves as LHU’s coordinator of tutorial services.

Mellinger’s connections to The Haven, and to the field of education, started well before he became an LHU student in the fall of 1982, and carried on long before he returned as an LHU employee in the fall of 2021.He was raised just five minutes from campus, in the same home he now lives in with his wife of 25 years, 2003 LHU graduate, Jeni (Miller) Mellinger.

He comes from a long line of LHU-educated teachers. His grandmother, Helen Mellinger, graduated from Central State Normal School in 1916, and although she’s not an alumna, his mother – Beatrice Barry – also spent a year as a Lock Haven State Teachers College student before earning a teaching degree from another university.

Mellinger’s sister, Jenny (Mellinger) Kaluzny – a teacher at Mill Hall Elementary School – also followed in the family’s footsteps, graduating from LHU in 1999.

After earning his degree in secondary education with a focus in physics and math, Mellinger began his career teaching high school computer and math courses in New Hampshire. He then taught middle school science in Illesheim, Germany before returning to the U.S. in 1992 to complete his principal certification.

In 1993, at the age of 30, he became the assistant principal at Jersey Shore Area Senior High School. Over the next 25 years, he held stints as assistant principal and principal of both the senior and junior high schools, including overseeing the transition of Jersey Shore Area Junior High School to Jersey Shore Area Middle School.

From 2001-12, he was a member of the LHU Alumni Association board of directors. He served a term as the board’s president, and was the first Alumni Association president to ever hold a board meeting in the Lytle Boardroom of the Durrwachter Alumni Conference Center.

As an LHU student, he pledged the fraternity Alpha Chi Rho, and was part of fraternity’s largest pledge class ever at LHU. He was also a member of LHU’s Physics Club and Ski Club, including two years as vice president of the Ski Club, and two more as president.

A Level III ski instructor certified by the Professional Ski Instructors of America, Mellinger said his favorite LHU memories are linked to his time with the Ski Club, including a trip made with 15 students and club advisor Ralph Lehman to Smuggler’s Notch in northern Vermont during his senior year.

Since returning to LHU to lead the tutoring center, he has made it a goal to increase the number of tutors available to students. Through collaboration with his peers at Bloomsburg and Mansfield universities, he has implemented a supplemental instruction (SI) model of tutoring at LHU, which pays tutors to attend the class they are tutoring and to meet regularly with professors to discuss key course concepts in preparation of holding two to three tutoring sessions per week.

Perhaps the highlight of his first year back on campus, however, occurred during LHU’s 2022 Spring Commencement when a graduating senior and former student at the Jersey Shore schools requested that Mellinger be the person to present her with her diploma during the ceremony. The student also was a first-generation, TRIO Upward Bound student who he assisted with navigating the college and financial aid application processes.

“We walked up on stage together and I told her I was proud of her,” he said. “I was honored that she asked me. It was a very nice moment.”

Toward the end of the spring semester, Mellinger was instrumental in organizing dog walking events for the campus community. He attended those events with his dog, Bomber, who he recently went through the process of getting certified as a pet therapy dog to allow the chocolate Labrador to be on campus more frequently. Next semester, he intends to have Bomber with him in the tutoring center two days a week to offer students stress relief throughout the semester.

Additional goals for him for next year include increasing the number of tutors from 35 to 45 by finding new tutors for courses that tend to have higher fail rates, putting in place required training for tutors, expanding upon the SI tutoring model and creating a pathway to providing virtual support services for LHU’s math and writing centers to enable more students, including students at LHU Clearfield, to have access to additional tutoring, if needed.

“It’s well known, especially in central Pennsylvania, that teachers who come out of Lock Haven are well prepared. Many of my tutors, especially my center staff, truly have the heart of a teacher, even if they’re not pursuing a teaching degree,” Mellinger said. “I love seeing my tutors interact with five, six, seven people attending a session. That’s very impactful,”

“My first semester was very reactive, but I got better at planning and recruiting before the second semester,” he said. “Learning from my peers at Bloomsburg and Mansfield has also been very helpful. So, I think the future of tutoring will be really good for students at LHU.”


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