I have some big news to share with our Education Pioneers (EP) community:
After nearly 15 years as EP’s Founder and CEO, I’ve decided the time is right for me to step down and pass the torch to a new CEO. My last day at EP will be June 30.
Who's next to lead EP? I’m thrilled to announce our Board of Directors unanimously selected Melissa Wu, EP’s current Chief Program Officer, as the next CEO.
Founding and leading EP has been a great privilege. I’ve been fortunate to work alongside thousands of extraordinary Fellows, Alumni, Partners, and champions united in our desire to make the education sector more equitable through leadership, and to ensure all students get the opportunities they deserve to realize their full potential.
I have always hoped I would be the kind of founder to step aside for a new leader when the time was right. This is the right time. EP and its reach have expanded far beyond what I dreamed: next month, EP will celebrate its 15th anniversary and our network of Fellows and Alumni will surpass 4,000. These milestones present a ripe opportunity for new leadership and I look forward to EP’s next chapter of building on our momentum, catalyzing our Alumni network, and exploring new types of impact.
I couldn’t be more excited about Melissa’s selection as my successor. She knows our work deeply, embodies our core values, and will bring a very special combination of intelligence, integrity, and drive to the CEO role. She’s the right leader for EP, and I’m excited for the EP community to continue to get to know her.
In brief, Melissa is a proven leader who is fiercely committed to dismantling inequity in the education sector and beyond. As Chief Program Officer, Melissa has served as a key executive leader, overseeing the strategy and launch of the Impact Fellowship, and laying the foundation for future investments in leadership development and our Alumni network. Previously, Melissa led the team at TNTP that produced “The Irreplaceables: The Real Retention Crisis in America’s Urban Schools” — groundbreaking research on teacher quality and retention.
As I think about my next chapter, I’ve been reflecting on John Gardner’s ideas on self-renewal: that reaching our full potential as humans requires us to intentionally pursue a process of “repotting.” According to Gardner, “Exploration of the full range of our own potentialities is not something that we can safely leave to the chances of life…We should look forward to an endless and unpredictable dialogue between our potentialities and the claims of life—not only the claims we encounter but the claims we invent.” It’s time for me to repot and I look forward to exploring new ways that I can make a difference in the world.
It’s been the honor of my life to found and lead EP, and it will forever be a part of me. When I reflect on what gives me the most pride, it is both a combination of the “who” and the “how.” I am inspired by each and every pioneering leader I’ve encountered during this journey: the commitment that you have to the students and families we serve, and the impact that you are having across our nation. And I’m proud of how the EP network continues to center on our core values, exemplifying the values of courage, optimism, collaboration, and action in our work every day.
I am endlessly grateful of the support of every single Pioneer who has been a part of making Education Pioneers what it is today, and I look forward to remaining a part of the EP network as a champion and advocate in this important work.
Founder & CEO