Melissa Johnston

Melissa Johnston

Chief Strategy Officer

Melissa Johnston oversees fulfilment of the organization’s strategic plan, competitive intelligence and strategic partnerships.

Before joining NWEA in April 2018, Melissa held several key leadership roles in education associations and non-profits. Most recently, Melissa served as deputy executive director of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), overseeing strategy development, strategic plan implementation, partnerships, and core operations. Melissa initially joined CCSSO in 2003 to help chiefs develop and implement policies and programs that would support education leaders. She continued to grow at the organization, becoming the director of strategy and implementation, then chief operating officer, and then deputy executive director. A notable part of her role was ensuring CCSSO not only had a strategic plan—focused on ensuring all students who graduated were prepared for college, careers, and life—but had a plan that drove staff work every day.

Prior to serving 15 years at CCSSO, Melissa held various programmatic roles at the Public Education Network, the National Association of School Psychologists, and Reading is Fundamental. Each of these roles helped refine her strategy development and execution skills to create impactful work to benefit children.

Melissa has a BA in American studies and black world studies from Miami University and an MS-SSA from the University of Chicago, with a concentration in policy analysis and nonprofit management.