Policy Manager

Michelle Koffa

As policy manager, Michelle helps build and support campaigns that advance high-quality school options for Minnesota students. Michelle grew up in Robbinsdale, MN where she graduated from Armstrong High School. She returns home to the Twin Cities after earning her Master of Public Policy in Education from Vanderbilt University and a degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has worked with the Learning Policy Institute in Washington, DC where she focused on early childhood policies and state-level Every Student Succeeds Act implementation. While in Nashville, Michelle served as a research and policy fellow working alongside family advocates to promote equitable access to great schools by promoting school choice. In her free time, Michelle enjoys traveling with her partner, spending time with her family, trying new restaurants, and exploring local ice-cream shops. Michelle is excited to be back in Minnesota and give back to the state that gave so much to her.

Why are you passionate about education?

I immigrated from Liberia with my brother at four-years-old. My success story, like with so many other immigrants, is founded on the educational opportunities afforded to me. I was fortunate enough to have parents who could invest in me by choosing high-quality schools and pushing me academically. My teachers saw my potential and ensured I saw that in myself. I understand the impact that high-quality education can have in a child’s life despite the circumstances they are dealt. Access to excellent educational opportunities for all children is the best way to ensure all children can meet their full potential. Education changes things.

What do you hope to see change in education during your lifetime?

I want to see more students of color and indigenous students graduating from high school prepared for higher education and completing higher education. Higher education enrollment and attainment for our most underserved students is abysmally low and poor outcomes amongst these students are often concentrated in certain zip codes, low-income households, and among students of color and indigenous communities. These disparities that exist can be resolved by investing in these students from the onset of their education to ensure that they are given opportunities that will enable them to accomplish this goal.