Melissa Irby is a senior technical assistance consultant at AIR. Irby has over 30 years of experience in education instruction, administration, and supervision. Because of her work as a school principal in turning around a low-performing middle school, she was selected by the Virginia Department of Education to join the first cohort of the University of Virginia’s Darden/Curry Schools Partnership for certifying school turnaround specialists, receiving her school turnaround specialist credential in 2006. Irby has taught at the elementary, middle, and high school level, and has served as principal and in district office positions, both in Virginia and in Taipei, Taiwan. In her varied roles, Irby had specific opportunities to serve the disparate needs of students from low socioeconomic communities, minority students, and struggling English learners.
Since 2006 she has worked with low performing schools across the United States as a project manager and coach for systems change. She has led district and school level transformation projects in Chinle, Arizona; Norfolk and Alexandria, Virginia; Chicago Heights, Illinois; Providence, Rhode Island; and Detroit, Michigan, aligning state, district, and school division goals, training and supporting school leadership teams, building capacity of school principals and instructional leaders in use of data to plan instruction, setting learning targets, and coaching instructional leaders in monitoring instruction and achievement performance.
In her school transformation work Irby has trained and coached district and school administrators and leadership teams in classroom walkthrough observations, calibrating and data alignment for decision-making, and professional learning, and has coached school and district administrators through the change process. She has trained teachers and administrators in effective instructional strategies, classroom management, and using data to drive instructional decisions.