Melissa Harris


Melissa is a Fellow with Transcend Education serving in the role of Partner, Rural Ecosystems, and leads by building conditions, partnerships, experiences, and resources toward deep and sustained impact in service of extraordinary, equitable learning in rural communities. 

Melissa has served as a leader in public education for over two decades. Prior to joining Transcend, Melissa held the role of Deputy Superintendent for Community Empowerment, Innovation, and Partnerships for DeKalb County School District, the third largest school district in Georgia. In this role, she was charged with developing strategy and leading the execution of mission-critical initiatives to support the operations of the district. Previously, Melissa served for 15 years as a senior leader within the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE). During the pandemic, she led the largest district in the country in its efforts to virtually support nearly one million students. While at the NYCDOE, Melissa also led school redesign strategy, oversaw charter school authorization, operations, and finance, and led the creation of high-level policy implementation which impacted students across New York City.

Melissa is a graduate of the University of Albany, SUNY,  where she received both a bachelor of arts degree in history and a master of science in education administration and policy. She is currently a doctoral student at the University of Georgia, pursuing her Ed.D. in adult learning, leadership, and organizational development. She has taken part in fellowships through The Broad Academy, Pahara, and the Institute for Educational Leadership. Melissa currently lives in the Metro-Atlanta area where her time is spent enjoying her family and exploring the rich history of Georgia.


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