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
Implications for PreK-12 Education in Trump’s "America First" Budget

The broad priorities for PreK-12 education center around school choice.


EDUCATION POLICY
What Does High-Quality Research Say about Developing Teacher Practice?

Article outlines promising professional development practices for growing teachers’ knowledge and skills in service of their students.


EDUCATION POLICY
The Great School Turnaround

Melissa Tooley was quoted by U.S. News & World Report regarding the Trump administration's approach to turning around failing schools.


EDUCATION POLICY
Teacher Prep Regulations Rise from Dead, Turn Spotlight to States

EDUCATION POLICY
Teacher Preparation Programs: Measuring Success

A new study suggests teachers' observation ratings may be a useful measure when holding teacher preparation programs publicly accountable.


To Improve Teaching, Look to Pro Tennis

We reward athletes who constantly look to improve. Melissa Tooley wonders why we don't do the same for our teachers.


EDUCATION POLICY
New Report Advises Closer Look at What Ails Teacher PD Before Reaching for Remedies

A report by New America on teacher professional development programs, do they work, why not, and how do we fix them?


EDUCATION POLICY
No Panacea

In this report, New America identifies key obstacles that prevent PD from reaching its potential for growing teachers’ knowledge and skills


EDUCATION POLICY
How to Appreciate Teachers EVERY Day

EDUCATION POLICY and NEW AMERICA
A New Era for the Battle Over Teacher Evaluations

Education Policy's "Beyond Ratings" was covered in the Atlantic.


EDUCATION POLICY
New Report Calls on States to Shift Teacher Evaluation Toward Support

New teacher evaluations aimed at raising standards for students has received push back for its use in promotions, pay and dismissals.


EDUCATION POLICY
Beyond Ratings

In a new report, Kaylan Connally and Melissa Tooley look at how states are using teacher evaluation systems for professional growth.