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Connecticut State Department of Education Appoints Dr. Melissa Jenkins as Chief Turnaround Officer

Dr. Melissa Jenkins

(Hartford, CT) - Education Commissioner Charlene M. Russell-Tucker is pleased to announce that Dr. Melissa Jenkins was appointed to the role of Chief Turnaround Officer by the State Board of Education at its April 3, 2024, meeting. Dr. Jenkins will spearhead efforts to identify, develop, and implement a range of intervention, transformation, support, and accountability strategies for schools and districts, encompassing leadership support, instructional methods, community involvement, and school climate enhancement. She will also supervise the Commissioner’s Network and the state’s Alliance District program. 

“With over 20 years of experience as an award-winning education leader, Melissa has demonstrated her commitment to academic excellence, curriculum development, and educational innovation,” Commissioner Russell-Tucker said. “We are confident that her passion, dedication, and proven track record will effectively lead our Turnaround Office in support of districts and schools.” 

Dr. Jenkins has dedicated her career to ensuring that every child has access to high-quality education and the tools they need to reach their full potential. Her journey in education began as a classroom teacher, where she experienced firsthand the transformative power of education in shaping young minds.  

In her recent role as Chief Academic Officer for Bridgeport Public Schools, Dr. Jenkins established standardized operating procedures (SOPs) for K-6 literacy instruction across 28 schools, involving 600 teachers and 50 administrators; developed a K-12 teacher leadership initiative aimed at enhancing internal communication; managed $7 million for academic programs, prioritizing equity for diverse student needs; developed and executed a professional development plan for 37 schools to implement CT Core Instructional Shifts, supervising literacy coaches and implementing a student-centered coaching model; and launched performance task assessments for two middle schools and seven high schools, resulting in a 74% increase in students' writing proficiency. 

Dr. Jenkins also served in Bridgeport as Executive Director of Early Childhood; Director of Literacy for Grades K-12; and Principal of High Horizons Magnet School.  

More on Dr. Jenkins’ academic and professional background, and distinctions: 

  • Second Grade Teacher at Naramake Elementary School in Norwalk  
  • Assistant Principal and K-12 Language Arts Instructional Specialist with Norwalk Public Schools 
  • Adjunct Professor at Western Connecticut State University 
  • Adult Education ESL Instructor at Central High School in Bridgeport 
  • First Grade Teacher at P.S. 051 The Elias Howe School in New York 
  • Recipient of the Prudence C. Randall Education Award (2018); Connecticut Reading Association’s Reading Administrator Award (2014); Bridgeport Public Education Fund’s George Bellinger Leadership Award (2013); and the Institute for Educational Leadership’s Education Policy Fellowship (2008). 

"Education has been my life's passion, and I am committed to ensuring that every child has equitable access to a high-quality education, regardless of their background or circumstances," Dr. Jenkins said. "I am grateful for the trust placed in me by Commissioner Russell-Tucker and the State Board of Education, and I look forward to working collaboratively with educators, stakeholders, and community members to create brighter futures and infinite possibilities for our students."   


For immediate release: April 3, 2024

Matthew Cerrone
Director of Communications
Connecticut Department of Education
Phone: 860-424-1988


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