Melissa Wu is Education Pioneers’ Chief Executive Officer. She leads the national organization to realize its vision to identify, train, connect, and inspire diverse leaders working to accelerate systemic change across the education sector.
Prior to becoming EP’s CEO in June 2018, Melissa served as EP’s Chief Program Officer to lead vision and strategy for EP’s Fellowships to cultivate a new generation of talented professionals ready to improve our schools. She oversaw a team of 30 EP staff who were in charge of shaping the Fellowship experience — from recruitment to leadership development to Alumni engagement. In January 2018, they led the launch of EP’s new Impact Fellowship, a 10-month program for professionals with critical skills in data analysis and strategic project management.
Melissa brings to Education Pioneers an interest in interrogating the systems and structures that perpetuate inequity, primarily through the lens of education. She has spent much of her career advocating on issues of teacher retention, school and system improvement, and performance management. She believes that transformational leaders are required at every level of the education system, and sees Education Pioneers playing an important role to create excellent and equitable outcomes for all students.
Melissa previously worked as a Partner at TNTP, a national education nonprofit which recruits and trains teachers, and advances policies and practices that ensure effective teaching. During her time there, she most notably led a two-year research effort to produce “The Irreplaceables: The Real Retention Crisis in America’s Urban Schools,” which inspired multiple districts to take on reforms. Melissa’s work also included scaling an early stage data product, the Instructional Culture Insight survey, which quadrupled the tool’s reach and supported more than 1,400 schools across 30 sites to improve instructional leadership practices aligned to student outcomes and effective teacher retention.
Prior to TNTP, Melissa worked as a strategy consultant for The Boston Consulting Group, with a focus on growth strategy and human capital management. She started her career at The TEAK Fellowship, an academic enrichment program based in New York City that helps prepare low-income students for success at top high schools, working her way up to Deputy Director. She was a Coro Fellow in Public Affairs in Los Angeles where she worked with United Teachers Los Angeles, Los Angeles Unified School District, and Compton Unified School District.
Melissa has an MBA from Harvard Business School and earned her bachelor’s in Sociology with High Honors from Princeton University, where she currently serves on the University Board of Trustees. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two children. Follow Melissa on Twitter at @melissawu99.