Melissa Skiles was raised in a suburb of Saint Louis, Missouri and is a proud product of a multifaceted education, which continues to be an inspiration for her pedagogical and leadership practice. While earning her BA in Creative Writing from Missouri State University, she was honored with a Soul of a Poet reading series feature. Upon graduation, Melissa moved to Chicago, Illinois and briefly worked in the advertising and non-profit sectors before pursuing a career in education, which was strongly rooted in her desire to support the largely disenfranchised metropolitan adolescent youth population. After completing her Masters degree at DePaul University, she taught within the inner city of Chicago as a licensed Learning Behavior Specialist in public and charter middle and high schools, serving in school leadership and the local community action council. She then moved to the Middle East and worked as a Special Educational Needs Coordinator in Qatar and as Head of Inclusion in Dubai, UAE in K-12 schools.
In 2020, Melissa founded a private training company specializing in inclusive practices and strategies for executives and leaders; inclusion-focused school improvement; and creating socially-just school communities through professional development and consultancy in the MENA region. She continues to contribute to international conferences and publications on inclusive education.
Most recently, Melissa relocated to San Francisco to join Hamlin as the founding Director of Community Well-being, coordinating the school’s student services; social justice and belonging programming; and overall well-being for students, faculty, and staff.