Melba Newsome is the Writer-in-Residence for Deans for Impact. Prior to joining Deans for Impact, Melba worked as an independent journalist. She frequently wrote about education and health for a variety of national general interest publications. She also served as editor of Extracurricular, the magazine for the Cato College of Education. Melba earned her bachelor’s degree in English from Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. 

When and why did you start working in education?

This is really my first job working IN education. As a writer, I’ve covered education trends, policy and programs a lot, especially higher ed. In addition, I always believed that the value we place on education–for everyone, regardless of race and/or socioeconomic status, is central to who we are as a nation. It’s heartbreaking to watch many of the gains we’ve made in achieving equity be reversed by de facto segregation.

Why do Deans for Impact’s guiding principles ring true for you?

I identify with and appreciate all the organization’s guiding principles but find the mission to transform the system particularly appealing. DFI acknowledges that change only happens when you are willing to take risks and unafraid of failure. The prospect excites me and gives me something to work toward.

Who was your favorite teacher and why?

Mrs. Hathaway, my 4th and 5th grade teacher, changed what I thought about school and myself as a student and, therefore, changed the trajectory of my life. She was the first person who told me I was smart. It’s amazing the difference that one teacher can make on a student’s life.

What’s your favorite food truck and why?

Fresh Med, a Charlotte-based food truck that serves Mediterranean fusion cuisine.

I love Mediterranean food and this is always good and fresh. In the Carolinas, you can find burgers and BBQ on every corner. After a while, it’s all a big yawn. Fresh Med is something different. When we get an Ethiopian food truck, I’ll be completely satisfied!

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