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Education Pioneers' Founder Scott Morgan Stepping Down As CEO, Melissa Wu Named Successor
National nonprofit is celebrating 15 years of recruiting leaders, transforming education
Oakland, Calif. — Education Pioneers’ Founder & CEO Scott Morgan announced he is stepping down as CEO in June. His successor is Melissa Wu, currently the organization’s Chief Program Officer; she was selected unanimously by the Board of Directors. Morgan has held the CEO position since he founded Education Pioneers in 2003 to recruit, connect, and inspire leaders with diverse backgrounds to solve problems from outside of the classroom so students and teachers succeed in the classroom.
Morgan’s choice to move on after spending 15 years transforming the education sector with Education Pioneers was influenced by the organization’s upcoming 15th anniversary in June. The organization also celebrates a milestone in its growing network, surpassing 4,000 Fellows and Alumni this summer.
“Education Pioneers is ready for its next chapter,” said Morgan. “I’m incredibly proud of the network we’ve built, growing from one small cohort of nine Fellows in the Bay Area to thousands of diverse leaders across the country. Founding and leading Education Pioneers has been the greatest honor of my life, and I will continue to be a major champion.”
As an experienced leader in the education sector with an MBA, Wu steps into her new role committed to continuing to recruit diverse talent into education. One of her priorities will be to sustain the organization’s momentum and reach while propelling new impact. As a part of that work, Wu will continue to strengthen current organization initiatives that focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion; 53 percent of Education Pioneers Alumni self-identify as leaders of color.
"It will take transformational leaders at all levels to close the opportunity gap for young people, and to realize a vision of an education sector that truly supports excellent, equitable outcomes for all students,” said Wu. “I am continually inspired by the incredible individuals in the Education Pioneers network. Our Alumni are truly our greatest asset and, as the next CEO, I am excited for the potential we have to catalyze this powerful group.”
“Melissa has impressed us with her deep knowledge of the education sector, her business and strategic acumen, in addition to her belief in the mission and her vision for the future,” said Gale Mondry, Board Chair. During her tenure as Chief Program Officer, Wu oversaw strategy to launch Education Pioneers’ new Impact Fellowship, a 10-month leadership development program for professionals with critical skills in data analysis and strategic project management.
“I am thrilled to see Melissa bring Education Pioneers into its next phase. The need for diverse leaders who bring varied skills and experiences to the sector is greater than ever, and I am excited to see what is next for the organization under her leadership,” said Stacey Childress, CEO at NewSchools Venture Fund.
Wu 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. Wu also scaled an early stage data product, the Instructional Culture Insight survey, quadrupling the tool’s reach and supporting more than 1,400 schools across 30 sites to improve instructional leadership practices aligned to student outcomes and effective teacher retention.
“Not only did Melissa help TNTP shine a spotlight on the importance of retaining great teachers, she went on to support our work helping hundreds of schools make the kinds of improvements to culture and leadership practices that keep great teachers over time,” said Daniel Weisberg, CEO at TNTP. “Melissa is the kind of persistent and courageous leader we’d want to see at the helm of any organization. She consistently offers thoughtful questions and encourages those around her to push their thinking. We are excited for Scott, Melissa, and Education Pioneers as they make this transition.”
Wu will continue to be based out of Education Pioneers’ Boston office. She has an MBA from Harvard Business School and received her bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Princeton University. Before Education Pioneers and TNTP, she was a consultant at The Boston Consulting Group and held multiple roles at The TEAK Fellowship.
About Education Pioneers
Education Pioneers recruits professionals with diverse skills and backgrounds to solve problems from outside of the classroom so students and teachers succeed in the classroom. Since 2003, Education Pioneers has recruited and trained nearly 4,000 leaders in partnership with more than 750 education organizations nationwide.
Of the organization’s Alumni in the workforce, more than 70 percent serve in education and lead or contribute to work that impacts public school students in major cities across the nation, most of whom are students of color and growing up in underserved areas. Learn more: educationpioneers.org/our-impact.