Director of P-16 Research
Melissa (she/her/hers) joins The Education Trust–West with a background in education research and policy advocacy across the birth through the postsecondary continuum. As the Director of P-16 Research, she leads the development and implementation of the organization’s research agenda. In her previous role as a Senior Policy Advisor at Advance Illinois, a nonpartisan education policy advocacy organization, she designed and conducted analyses of K-12 funding gaps and helped lead a successful campaign to secure both equitable funding reform and an historic multi-year increase in Illinois’ investment in K-12 public schools. She designed an inclusive process to set the organization’s policy priorities and worked to improve statewide assessment data reporting, strengthen transitions from early childhood to the elementary grades, and ensure a focus on racial and socioeconomic equity in Illinois’ learning renewal efforts in the wake of the COVID pandemic. Prior to her work at Advance Illinois, she conducted research and evaluation as a consultant for the Research and Policy Support Group at the New York City Department of Education. Melissa is a proud product of Miami-Dade Public Schools and holds a M.A. in Education Policy from Teachers College, Columbia University.