Michelle Lessly Blackburn

Dr. Michelle Lessly Blackburn

Joining IEL in 2022, Michelle Lessly Blackburn is the Senior Policy Manager, working to advance the policy agenda of both IEL and the Coalition for Community Schools on the federal level. She brings 15 years of experience in higher education administration and policy research. Her policy work focuses on the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, the Clery Act, and accreditation innovation. Prior to joining IEL, Michelle was the Head of Student Success at an EdTech nonprofit based in San Francisco and worked at MIT in the Division of Student Life. She currently serves as the Executive Director for the Blackburn Foundation, a non-profit focused on college readiness for K-12 students in North Texas. She holds a Doctorate in Law and Public Policy from Northeastern University and a Master’s of Education from Abilene Christian University.

A Texas native, Michelle now lives in Oakland, CA, with her husband and son.

Areas of expertise: Community Schools, Leadership Development and Capacity Building, Policy/Advocacy