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Melissa Henderson is the director of policy for Educate Texas, leading the organization’s postsecondary policy work. In this capacity, she leads the development and execution of the organization’s strategy to educate and inform policymakers about key issues and shape the higher education policy dialogue in Texas.

Melissa leads the work of the Texas Student Success Council, a statewide policy and advocacy group focused on smoothing student pathways into, through and beyond higher education into the workforce. She works to build coalitions of partners from across the state to build momentum, address barriers and drive change to the benefit of all Texas students.

Prior to joining CFT to launch its postsecondary policy work in 2011, she was the legislative director for a member of the Texas House of Representatives for eight years, responsible for advising him on P-12 and postsecondary education, particularly in his capacity as a member of the House Higher Education Committee for three sessions.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Texas A&M University and a master’s of public affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.

Community Leadership / Board Service

In 2019, Melissa was selected for the Policy Innovators in Education (PIE) Network’s Leadership Institute.

Joined CFT


Favorite Aspect of CFT

"I am so fortunate to work in a place that shares my values of prioritizing community, focusing 100 percent of my time and energy on the issue about which I'm most passionate — ensuring every student has the opportunity to enroll in, persist and complete higher education."

Favorite Quote

“A spirit of harmony will survive in America only if each of us remembers, when self-interest and bitterness seem to prevail, that we share a common destiny.”

— Congresswoman Barbara Jordan