Michele Leardo is a Program Officer for the EducationProgram at the Walton Family Foundation. Her work on the Innovation Portfolio focuses on reimagining school and learning so that all children, especially those most in need, thrive academically and socially and are supported in finding their unique path to the careers and lives they choose. Before joining the foundation, Michele was the assistant director of the Institute forEducation and Social Policy at New York University, where she conducted research on the contextual factors and ecosystem enablers that support educational success for the most vulnerable students. She began her career as an elementary school teacher. Michele holds a master's degree in education policy from George Washington University and a bachelor's degree in education and human development from Boston College.