Melissa Tooley

Director, Educator Quality

Melissa Tooley is the director of PreK-12 Educator Quality with the Education Policy program at New America. She is a member of the PreK-12 team, where she provides research and analysis on policies and practices that impact teaching quality and school leadership. She primarily researches and writes on educator preparation, evaluation, development, and retention, but has also worked on college and career readiness policy. Tooley co-authored “Beyond Ratings: Re-envisioning State Teacher Evaluation Systems as Tools for Professional Growth,” “Skills for Success: Supporting and Assessing Key Habits, Mindsets, and Skills in PreK-12,” and “Time to Improve: How Federal Policy Can Promote Better Prepared Teachers and School Leaders.” Tooley and her work have been featured in The Atlantic, Education Week, U.S. News and World Report, and The Wall Street Journal, among others.

Before joining New America, Tooley was a teacher quality policy analyst at The Education Trust. Tooley completed her master’s in public policy at the University of Chicago, during which time she 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. Tooley also holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Drew University.

All Work

EDUCATION POLICY
Is Teacher Recertification Broken?

Melissa Tooley was quoted in Education Week on teacher recertification systems.


EDUCATION POLICY
The “Innovation” Trap in the PROSPER Act

This third post in our series on Rep. Foxx's new HEA bill analyzes "innovation" policies under the proposal.


EDUCATION POLICY
Holding the PROSPER Act Accountable

This first post in our series on Rep. Foxx's new HEA bill analyzes accountability under the proposal.


EDUCATION POLICY
A Not-So-Simple Simplification in the PROSPER Act

This second post in our series on Rep. Foxx's new HEA bill analyzes financial aid policies under the proposal.


EDUCATION POLICY
The Wrong Way to Help Principals

Melissa Tooley wrote for U.S. News & World Report about how rolling back federal regulations won't help to relieve overburdened principals.


EDUCATION POLICY
High-Stakes For Whom? Understanding Principal Behavior in Rating Teacher Performance

High-stakes for principals, not just teachers, impact principals' ratings of teacher performance.


EDUCATION POLICY
From Frenzied to Focused

How can school systems make principals’ roles more manageable while also ensuring that teachers are receiving the support they need?


EDUCATION POLICY
From Frenzied to Focused

School principals are increasingly expected to focus on “instructional leadership” by engaging more deeply in areas related to curriculum


EDUCATION POLICY
Congress’ Decreased Support for Effective Instruction Flies in the Face of Teacher Appreciation Week

Congress' decision to cut ESSA Title II-A in the FY17 budget fails to recognize the crucial job of teachers and school leaders.


EDUCATION POLICY
Interview: Painting the ESSA Canvas with Comprehensive Educator Learning Systems

Learning Forward's Janice Poda and Melinda George Provide Their "Big Idea" for States on Educator Learning Systems in ESSA Plans


EDUCATION POLICY
Interview: Painting the ESSA Canvas with Educator Evaluation and Support

New Leaders' Margaret Young & Alexandra Broin Provide Their "Big Idea" for States on Educator Evaluation in ESSA Plans


EDUCATION POLICY
The Effectiveness Dilemma

Melissa Tooley was quoted in U.S. News & World Report about the funding for teacher prep programs in President Trump's "skinny budget."