Staff Spotlight: Melissa Luckett

“Our teachers are so important.”

Luckett's Ties to Education Continue to Grow 

By Emile Creel

Melissa Luckett

Melissa Luckett didn’t set out to work in education when she completed a master’s in public policy and administration, but over the years, she’s always been drawn to the field.

When the Greenville, MS, native graduated from Mississippi State University, she and her husband chose to stay in the college town to begin their professional lives, launching Luckett’s journey into the world of education.

“We made a very conscious effort to stay in Mississippi and raise our family here,” explained Luckett. “We want to contribute to our community. Because of my parents, I grew up conscious of the value of contributing to the community.”

Her path first crossed with work in education when her oldest son, who is now 15, began elementary school. Luckett joined the Sudduth Elementary parent-teacher organization (PTO) and continued volunteering throughout the years. Eventually, she served as president of Sudduth’s PTO and later held the same position in the Armstrong Middle School PTO. As her education-related roles grew, Luckett came to increasingly appreciate the complexities and importance of public education.

“Education policy may be frustrating at times, but I can’t seem to get away from it,” explained Luckett. “I see the importance of policy affecting teachers and influencing classroom practices. Because of her dynamic teaching style, my high school English teacher helped me realize my potential, which gave me tremendous confidence. Our teachers are so important.”

Luckett’s work in public education eventually expanded beyond the realm of the PTO.

“I also worked as the executive director for the Starkville Foundation for Public Education, and I believe my background in public policy has been helpful in each of these roles,” said Luckett.

As her two boys grew older, Luckett decided to return to work full time. Education again played a role as Luckett found a position at the RCU in 2016. Luckett currently serves as a project coordinator on the curriculum team building frameworks for courses.

 “The RCU is such an encouraging environment, and everyone is so passionate about their projects,” said Luckett

Luckett was recently appointed to the school board for the Starkville-Oktibbeha School District. In this new role, she plans to continue her work in education and enjoys seeing how the RCU’s curriculum and policy work applies in the real world.

“I feel that as a board member I can bring several perspectives, such as being a parent and a community member. My work at the RCU also allows me to recommend opportunities, like the RCU’s Innovative Institute, to the district because of my connection here,” said Luckett. "Each of my roles brings me back to education, and what is best for students and the community is always at the heart of that."

Fun Facts

  • Years at the RCU:

  • Education:

    Bachelor of Science in political science and master’s degree in public policy and administration, both from Mississippi State University
  • Family:

    Husband, Paul; and two sons, Chris, 15, and Roman, 11
  • Hometown:

    Greenville, MS
  • Currently Reading:

    Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance
  • If I wasn't working at the RCU, I would be...

    A Washington, DC, politician
  • On a typical weekend, you're most likely to find me...

    Playing board games and spending time with my family.
  • Favorite Subject in School: