Melissa Tooley is the 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 primarily on educator preparation, licensure, evaluation and professional development, and retention, with an emphasis on re-envisioning current systems and structures, but also include “whole child” educational approaches and policies. Tooley and her work 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. While completing her master’s in public policy at the University of Chicago, Tooley interned with Chicago Public Schools’ Office of Academic Enhancement and the White House Domestic Policy Council. Prior, 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. She began her career as a paraprofessional in a school for students with special needs. Tooley also holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Drew University.