Sabercat Stories: Melinda and Greg Neal


Melinda Neal

Greg and Melinda on vacation.

Macy Fowler

As students, we tend not to think about the lives our teachers have outside of the Fossil Ridge High School building. Melinda and Greg Neal are two out of many examples of positive teachers who strive to make a difference in Fossil Ridge, one class at a time. The couple has been married for twenty-six years, and even though they spend their days in the same building and teach similar subjects, they are not joined at the hip.

Mr. Neal discovered his passion for teaching Physical Education as a young man while playing basketball with his friends. “We were just part of their community and from that point on, I started working in high school and some of the Special Education classrooms. I knew that what I wanted to do was be a Special Ed teacher,” he explained. For Mrs. Neal it wasn’t quite as simple. At the end of her freshman year of college she decided to major in Health – after a long time of being unsure. Both of them agreed that it takes time to figure out what you want to do in the future and “that it will come to light,” as Mrs. Neal said.

Greg and Melinda on the sidelines of a football game.

Both of them are jokesters, especially Mr. Neal, who said, “It is awful…awfully good working with Mrs. Neal, it really is. We enjoy it, we get along well and get to spend a lot of our time together.” Even though they are in the same department, it is rare that they see each other any time besides lunch. “We pass by each other in the halls and have meetings together. It’s not one hundred percent side by side, but luckily it’s working out,” jokes Mrs. Neal. “It’s great to have the same schedule.” Mr. Neal says. “It gives us a lot of common things to talk about when we aren’t [at school],” agrees Mrs. Neal.

The Neals in Aspen, Colorado.

During their time outside of school, they both enjoy hanging out with friends or riding their bikes. “It depends on the time of year. In the summertime, we aren’t relying on weekends to do things. We camp and go waterskiing, plus we have a boat that gets used a lot.” said Mrs. Neal. The two also love going to the Raintree Athletic Club to get a workout in. The Neals enjoy inviting friends and family over to barbecues, or to watch a movie. Even though they are both health teachers, the couple appreciates a cheat meal every now and then. “It’s kind of bar food, the greasy food that you can dig your hands into like nachos, pizza, burgers, or hot wings,” Mrs. Neal explained.

As a health teacher, you delve into heavy topics and discussions that potentially help multiple students. It is something that you should be passionate about, and for Mrs. Neal, it is clear to see how passionate she truly feels about her career. “For me, the answer is quick and easy. The relationships you build with kids. Sometimes when I’m feeling stressed about what or how I’m teaching, I go back to what really matters, is that I connect with kids. When they come back and tell you something that was meaningful to them, it’s by far my favorite part.” Mrs. Neal said. Mr. Neal agreed with her, adding, “When you see kids out in the community and they say hi to you, or even just walking through the hallways, I might not remember their names but I remember their faces from three years ago. I’ll ask how they’re doing. I might remember they are in band or another activity, and those connections are my favorite things about being a teacher.” Some of their students have had both Melinda and Greg, but for those who do not, they still get to hear stories about the other. “It’s really nice when people say hi to me or to Mr. Neal when we’ve never met them,” said Mrs. Neal. “But they know us through the other,” added Mr. Neal.

Mr. and Mrs. Neal are crucial parts of the Fossil athletic staff, and the Fossil staff in general. You will always see them smiling while they walk down the halls, or laughing with a student. Make sure to thank them for the work they have done and will continue to do.