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

New Report: Supporting and Assessing Key Habits, Mindsets, and Skills in PreK-12

What skills, habits and mindsets are necessary for students to excel from Pre-K to career?

Skills for Success

New report highlights considerations for schools looking to support and assess a more comprehensive set of student “skills for success."

Can We Find A Truce in the Teacher Wars?

Dana Goldstein explains how many of the teacher quality debates behind today’s headlines have actually been recurring for centuries.

Teachers Unions Under Fire

Teachers unions are fighting back against a California ruling that gutted two things they hold sacred: tenure laws and seniority provisions.

Will New Teacher Equity Strategy Actually Spur Change?

It's well known that teachers are the most important in-school factor when it comes to promotion learning.

Congress Gears Up to Reauthorize the Higher Education Act

Senate Democrats and House Republicans announced plans for legislation to reauthorize the Higher Education Act, which expired in 2013.

Teacher Prep Review Paints Grim Picture, but with Possible Silver Lining

NCTQ’s inaugural 2013 Review was met with outcry and criticism from many teacher education programs.

Can More Federal Flexibility Improve States’ Teacher Evaluation Systems?

Another day, another U.S. Department of Education announcement updating how states can maintain their waiver from the outdated NCLB.

#thankateacher: Why We Do What We Do

Happy National Teacher Appreciation Week! All of us at New America have been touched by amazing educators who inspired us.

Obama Administration Revisits Efforts to Improve Teacher Preparation

Time to Improve Federal and State Educator Preparation Policies

The nation’s—in fact, the world’s—expectations for what PreK-12 students should know and are able to do are rising.

Time to Improve

New America’s Melissa Tooley and Laura Bornfreund offer recommendations for a new federal approach to addressing current issues with educato