My goal for research and evaluation at Knowles is to make the program even more responsive to Fellows and their students, and to share what Knowles knows and does with a wider audience.”

Melissa’s Story

Melissa Kagle joined Knowles from Colgate University, where she served as Director of the Math and Science Teacher Education Program and as a faculty member in the Educational Studies and Native American Studies Departments. At Colgate, Melissa developed a program to provide training in inquiry-based math and science teaching to math and science students who were not pursuing formal teacher training. Previously, she taught as a visiting professor in the education departments at Dartmouth College and the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Melissa received a B.A. in biology from Grinnell College. She received her teaching credential at Mills College. After working as a classroom teacher and teacher leader for more than 10 years, she earned her doctorate in education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Her dissertation focused on her work with the Math in a Cultural Context project at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, where she wrote curriculum based on Yup’ik Eskimo elders’ knowledge and use of mathematics, provided professional development to teachers in the field, and conducted research on the impacts of the curriculum on student achievement. Specifically, her dissertation examined the implementation of the curriculum in three classrooms and developed a framework for the development of culturally responsive teaching.

She began her career as a high school and middle school math and science teacher. Melissa taught in diverse public schools in both urban and rural areas; her first teaching positions were in urban high schools in Oakland and Berkeley, Calif. She taught math and science for six years in Alaska where, with elders and cultural experts, she developed a program bringing together Native and Western approaches to science and math. As a teacher leader, Melissa provided professional development for teachers and administrators. Additionally, she has experience leading professional learning communities in dozens of schools as a curriculum and leadership coach.

Melissa also has a background in research and evaluation. She worked as a Senior Research Associate at WestEd, a non-profit where she provided program evaluation for numerous National Science Foundation-funded projects including a three-year program to support Earth science teaching based at the University of New Hampshire and a National Aeronautics and Space Administration educational outreach program developed from satellite imagery of Antarctica. Further, she published research on the use of data driven decision making and formative assessment for the US Department of Education’s Regional Education Laboratories.


Curriculum Vitae