Who's Mindy?

Melinda Rostron was a natural-born teacher. The kind that had the “it” factor - the magic; the spark that drew children toward her and then made them sad when she had to go share her time with the next child. Melinda graduated from Rhode Island College in 2009 with a B.A. in Elementary Education. She was a lifelong resident of Coventry and devoted educator in Coventry Public Schools. Mindy wasn’t just a person. She was a presence. Mindy was larger than life. She was a beautiful soul and anyone who had the privilege of knowing her was a better person for it. Melinda was passionate, fiery, and bold yet extremely introspective and self-actualized. She was one of the most caring and compassionate people you would ever meet. She adored “her kids” whether they were her students, those she tutored, or the many that would spend time playing with her in the beach community she was a part of. She lived her life beautifully, playfully, and purposefully. She was a huge Patriots fan but hockey was her all-time favorite sport, loving both the Boston and Providence Bruins. She was a skilled photographer with most of her work capturing our gorgeous natural world. Her most sacred place was the beach where all of her favorite things surrounded her- fresh air, the sun, the sand, her family, and her “beach family.”

Melinda and Tracey, Mindy Independent’s founder, met at Rhode Island College and grew together and more connected as the years passed. They had the same passion for education. When they were feeling unfulfilled or disheartened in their work, they would often lean on each other and dream about the day they would open their own school. On October 30, 2015, Melinda was unexpectedly taken from the world far before anyone who knew her was ready. After her passing, Tracey knew she had to bring a version of their dream to life. Mindy Independent is founded on the philosophies and approaches that Melinda valued and encouraged. Perhaps more importantly, it is rooted in some of her greatest qualities. Melinda would undoubtedly love the work that Mindy Independent is set to do and the little humans, “her kids,” that it will nurture and help prepare for the world. 

Our Founder

Tracey Sutherland has been an elementary educator for over ten years. She has had the privilege of teaching amazing, inspiring students and working alongside incredibly dedicated educators. Tracey has served as an elementary classroom teacher in various grade levels, a teacher of English Language Learners, and a teachers’ instructional coach. She has a variety of experiences working in both Rhode Island and Massachusetts and with students from extremely diverse economic and cultural backgrounds. She has written English Language Arts curriculum in several districts and has published curriculum on Achieve the Core in partnership with Student Achievement Partners’ Read Aloud Project. Tracey has a B.A. in Elementary Education, M. Ed. in Teaching English as a Second Language, and M. Ed. in Educational Leadership all from her beloved alma mater, Rhode Island College.  

Tracey is a proud East Providence Townie and former student of Orlo Avenue Elementary, Martin Middle School, and East Providence High School. She has always had a love for music and food! You might find her at a local restaurant or coffee shop in her spare time. Her favorite thing to do is spend time with her friends and family. She resides in East Providence with her husband, children and rescue lab.

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