By Emile Creel
Melissa Luckett didn’t set out to work in education when she
completed a master’s in public policy and administration, but over the years,
she’s always been drawn to the field.
When the Greenville, MS, native graduated from Mississippi
State University, she and her husband chose to stay in the college town to
begin their professional lives, launching Luckett’s journey into the world of
“We made a very conscious effort to stay in Mississippi and
raise our family here,” explained Luckett. “We want to contribute to our
community. Because of my parents, I grew up conscious of the value of
contributing to the community.”
Her path first crossed with work in education when her
oldest son, who is now 15, began elementary school. Luckett joined the Sudduth
Elementary parent-teacher organization (PTO) and continued volunteering
throughout the years. Eventually, she served as president of Sudduth’s PTO and
later held the same position in the Armstrong Middle School PTO. As her
education-related roles grew, Luckett came to increasingly appreciate the
complexities and importance of public education.
“Education policy may be frustrating at times, but I can’t
seem to get away from it,” explained Luckett. “I see the importance of policy
affecting teachers and influencing classroom practices. Because of her dynamic
teaching style, my high school English teacher helped me realize my potential,
which gave me tremendous confidence. Our teachers are so important.”
Luckett’s work in public education eventually expanded
beyond the realm of the PTO.
“I also worked as the executive director for the Starkville
Foundation for Public Education, and I believe my background in public policy
has been helpful in each of these roles,” said Luckett.
As her two boys grew older, Luckett decided to return to
work full time. Education again played a role as Luckett found a position at
the RCU in 2016. Luckett currently serves as a project coordinator on the
curriculum team building frameworks for courses.
“The RCU is such an
encouraging environment, and everyone is so passionate about their projects,”
Luckett was recently appointed to the school board for the Starkville-Oktibbeha
School District. In this new role, she plans to continue her work in education
and enjoys seeing how the RCU’s curriculum and policy work applies in the real
“I feel that as a board member I can bring several
perspectives, such as being a parent and a community member. My work at the RCU
also allows me to recommend opportunities, like the RCU’s Innovative Institute,
to the district because of my connection here,” said Luckett. "Each of my
roles brings me back to education, and what is best for students and the
community is always at the heart of that."