Marla Ucelli-Kashyap is Assistant to the President for Educational Issues at the 1.6 million member American Federation of Teachers, where she leads a team of professionals working on key areas of policy, practice, technical assistance and professional development aimed at helping teachers and their unions improve education quality and their profession. Since she began leading the Educational Issues Department in fall 2011, key initiatives have included: the launch of Share My Lesson—a free on-line resource bank for teachers now with more than 700,000 members; Raising the Bar, a task force and report on aligning and improving teacher preparation; expansion of AFT’s professional development and policy efforts in Common Core State Standards implementation; and union support to expand community schools.
Previously, Ucelli-Kashyap was Director of District Redesign and Leadership at the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University. She oversaw the Institute’s technical assistance, knowledge building and tool development efforts in support of “smart systems”—school districts and communities redesigning themselves to get results and equity for all students.
During the 1990s, Ucelli-Kashyap was a senior program officer at the Rockefeller Foundation, where she was responsible for the Foundation’s efforts to improve the education and development of school children in poor urban communities. The grants portfolio emphasized the creation of supportive and effective school environments and going to scale in improving teaching quality, including the development of the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future. Ucelli-Kashyap was Special Assistant for Education to New Jersey Governor Thomas H. Kean, serving as the Governor’s senior advisor on state policy issues in elementary, secondary, and higher education, as well as on national education activities. Prior to that, Ucelli-Kashyap was Special Assistant to then President of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, Ernest L. Boyer.
Ucelli-Kashyap has also been an independent consultant in education policy, a political press secretary, and a reporter. She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of New York University and holds an M.P.A. from Rutgers. From2009-2013, Ucelli-Kashyap chaired of the board of Editorial Projects in Education, Inc. (publisher of Education Week). Ucelli-Kashyap was also a founding co-chair of Grantmakers for Education, a professional development and service organization for private and corporate foundations.
Ucelli-Kashyap served for nearly thirteen years on the board of Hudson County Community College in Jersey City, New Jersey. She received local, state, and regional awards for her role in turning around the once-failing institution. Ucelli-Kashyap chaired the New Jersey Council of County Colleges from 2002 to 2005 and was a fellow of the Leadership New Jersey Class of 1999. She was a Rockwood Leadership Institute Fellow in 2011-2012. Ucelli-Kashyap writes and speaks on urban education improvement, and issues related to teacher development, support, and engagement.