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A native Ohioan, Melody Stewart has lived the majority of her life in the city of Cleveland and in the greater Cleveland area. She has also resided in Cincinnati and Toledo. Her early education was in the Cleveland Public and Catholic schools while she simultaneously attended the Cleveland Music School Settlement studying music theory, classical piano, and classical guitar. Judge Stewart graduated from Beaumont School in Cleveland Heights and went on to major in music for her undergraduate degree. When asked about the somewhat untraditional path from music to law, Judge Stewart recounts that she never thought about law school when preparing to go to college (even though her older sister is an attorney). She often says in jest, “But with the name Melody, what else was I supposed to study in college?”
A proponent of lifelong learning, Judge Stewart earned a bachelor’s degree in music from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, a law degree from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University, and a Ph.D. from the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University as a Mandel Leadership Fellow. Prior to being elected to the bench in 2006, Judge Stewart worked as an assistant dean at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law where she also taught as a lecturer and an adjunct instructor before joining the full-time faculty. Judge Stewart taught legal research, writing, and advocacy; criminal law; ethics and professional responsibility; and criminal procedure. She was also a member of the faculty at the University of Toledo College of Law, taught at Ursuline College, and has served as an administrator at Case Western Reserve University’s School of Law.
Judge Stewart has spent countless hours serving various organizations and the community through boards and committees of civic, educational, and professional entities such as the Board of Planning and Zoning for the city of Euclid, a County Community Juvenile Diversion Program, college visiting committees, and the Catholic Charities Service Corporation.