Melissa Tooley is the project director of PreK–12 Educator Quality with the Education Policy program at New America, where she focuses on policies and practices that impact teaching quality and school leadership. Her research and writing focus on educator preparation; licensure; evaluation and professional development; and retention, with an emphasis on re-envisioning current systems and structures to better serve students and educators. Tooley’s work and ideas have been featured in The Atlantic, Education Week, U.S. News & World Report, and the Wall Street Journal, among other publications.
Before joining New America, Tooley was a policy analyst at The Education Trust. She interned with Chicago Public Schools’ Office of Academic Enhancement and the White House Domestic Policy Council. Prior to that, she worked in higher education policy at The Institute for College Access & Success, in health policy at the Epilepsy Foundation of New York City, and in market research consulting at Nielsen BASES. Tooley began her career as a paraprofessional in a school for students with special needs.
She holds a master's degree in public policy from the University of Chicago and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Drew University.