Dr. Melissa Rasberry Joins Friday Institute as Director of Professional Learning and Leading Collaborative

RALEIGH, N.C. — Melissa A. Rasberry, Ed.D., is joining the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation as the director of the Professional Learning and Leading Collaborative (PLLC) beginning July 1, 2021. Rasberry is an accomplished education professional with proven visionary leadership and strategic communication skills, honed through 22 years of experience in public K-16 classrooms and education nonprofits. 

“Dr. Rasberry brings a wealth of experience in creating and supporting virtual communities of practice and online learning opportunities for educators,” said Hiller Spires, Ph.D., executive director of the Friday Institute and associate dean at the NC State College of Education. “We are delighted that Dr. Rasberry is joining our innovative community of educators at the Friday Institute.”

As the director of the PLLC, Rasberry will provide oversight, leadership and mentorship for her team; identify, develop and sustain a diverse funding portfolio of projects; and develop partnerships with state and national organizations to further expand the Friday Institute’s areas of impact. She will also be part of the Friday Institute leadership team and contribute to the overall strategic planning and leadership of the organization, including furthering the development of innovative models for school districts and other organizations.

I am thrilled to join the Friday Institute as the new director of the Professional Learning and Leading Collaborative,” said Rasberry. “I look forward to collaborating with an amazing team of colleagues who are committed to ensuring teachers, administrators and students have access to a high-quality educational experience.”

Before joining the Friday Institute, Rasberry served as principal technical assistance consultant for education at the American Institutes for Research (AIR). Her primary responsibilities at AIR included serving as the principal investigator (PI) or co-PI for a portfolio of STEM and computer science projects funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). In her role as PI of CS for All Teachers, she collaborated with advocates across the country, provided guidance about best practices for the virtual community of practice and created online professional development for computer science teachers. Relatedly, she served as co-PI for the Teacher Assessment Literacy for Exploring Computer Science (TALECS) project, which was housed within the CS for All Teachers community and aimed to increase computer science teachers’ assessment literacy skills. She was also co-PI for the Advancing Methods and Synthesizing Research in STEM Education project and for Hindsight 2020.

In addition to her NSF work at AIR, Rasberry served as the community of practice manager for the U.S. Department of Education’s State Support Network, supporting over two dozen communities with hundreds of members from across the country. She also led online learning projects with The Wallace Foundation, the National Association of Elementary School Principals and the Council of Chief State School Officers. Rasberry’s passion for diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) came through in her work as an employee resource group chair and member of the DEI council, in addition to her ongoing efforts to mentor junior team members and advocate for colleagues of color.

“The last year has shown us that educators and students alike are resilient in the face of struggles,” said Rasberry. “We owe it to them to take the lessons from the pandemic to make our schools more equitable and more responsive to the needs of all.”

The Friday Institute for Educational Innovation brings together researchers, practitioners, and policymakers to lead the transition to next-generation education systems that will prepare students for success in the digital-age world. It conducts research, develops educational resources, provides professional development programs for educators, advocates to improve teaching and learning, and helps inform policymaking. The Friday Institute is a part of the NC State College of Education. Visit fi.ncsu.edu to learn more.