MEET THE SUPERINTENDENT
Melissa Martin Stilley
TANGIPAHOA PARISH SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS
59656 PULESTON ROAD | AMITE, LA 70422
P: 985-748-2502 | F: 985-748-8587
In June of 2018, following an extensive nationwide search for their next School Superintendent, the Tangipahoa Parish School Board selected Melissa Martin Stilley, a Tangipahoa native whose career in public education began in the classroom.
During her 33-year career in education, Melissa has served as a classroom teacher, assistant principal, principal, District Supervisor of Curriculum and Instruction, and Chief Academic Officer for the Tangipahoa Parish School System. As CAO, Melissa led efforts to increase the district School Performance Score by double digits, created the first Turnaround Zone for low performing schools, and created a 5-Year High School Redesign Plan to improve graduation rates and opportunities for students post high school.
In July 2012, Melissa was recruited for a position with the Louisiana State Department of Education where she was named Network Leader for Northeast Louisiana. She has worked with more than half of the districts across the state. Through all these assignments, Melissa’s heart was always with the children of Tangipahoa Parish and in June 2018, she became the first woman ever selected to serve as Superintendent of Schools in her home parish.
During her first three years in office, Melissa has strategically eradicated the chronic absenteeism issue among our local students. Tangipahoa went from having one of the highest truancy rates in the country. Now we are a model for keeping students in the classroom. She led the charge to establish core values and reform disciplinary practices in our local school system, and Tangipahoa is now a model district for the state. When the pandemic struck in the spring of 2020, Melissa knew the only way to get our students back in school was to fast-forward plans to put technology and connected devices in the hands of every child in this parish. Within a matter of weeks, Tangipahoa had secured funding to make us a 1-to-1 fully technology device enabled school system—and she did it without asking the public for any additional funding.
During Melissa’s short time as superintendent of Tangipahoa Parish Public Schools, one of her priorities has been to resolve the 55 year old Joyce Marie Moore Federal Desegregation Case. In March 2021, the federal judge approved the Mutual Consent Agreement granting the school district provisional unitary status in the long standing case. Melissa has recently been recognized by the federal courts for her efforts to resolve the longstanding case. Judge Ivan Lemelle wrote specifically that Superintendent Stilley’s “team-oriented approach” to problem-solving has been “vital to the TPSS’ current successes” in the more than half-century-old case.
Speaking of her team-oriented approach to problem-solving, Melissa led the efforts to address the district's facility issues and many portable buildings with the local revenue that the district already collected from the taxpayers. Melissa led the charge on Phase 1 and Phase 2 new construction projects, totaling $82 million, to add classrooms by expanding schools across the parish without adding any additional tax dollars to the citizens of Tangipahoa. Phase 1 started in 2021 and Phase 2 will begin in the fall of 2022.
Melissa also led the successful effort to gain public support for a half-penny sales tax in Spring of 2021. This half-penny sales tax is totally dedicated to attract and retain the very best employees by offering competitive salaries.
Melissa led efforts to develop the district’s first Strategic Plan to improve student achievement in 2018 and the district's second Strategic Plan in 2021 that can be found on the district’s website.
In 2018, Melissa was selected as the Distinguished Alumnus for the College of Education at Southeastern Louisiana University. Melissa currently serves on the Louisiana Superintendents' Academy Board of Directors, which prepares candidates for future superintendent positions around the state.
In 2019, Melissa was recognized by Delta Sigma Theta Sorority as one of their Women in Excellence Honorees for her outstanding community service in Tangipahoa Parish. Melissa currently serves on the Tangipahoa Economic Development Board and Tangipahoa Parish Chamber Board of Directors.
Melissa earned her Master’s Degree in School Administration in 1999, Plus 30 in Special Education in 2000, and Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education in 1987, all from Southeastern Louisiana University. Melissa completed the required coursework for her Doctorate in Educational Leadership in 2010.
Melissa is married to Lloyd Stilley and they have two adult children, and all six of her school age grandchildren attend Tangipahoa Parish Public Schools!