Melanie Baca joined the Center the Future of Arizona in 2020 to support the day-to-day operations of the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) Education Innovation and Research (EIR) Grant, including scheduling and logistics, communication and implementation support for schools, and support for the EIR Collaborative and the Project Management Team in order to ensure success of the project outcomes.
Before joining CFA, Melanie worked at Arizona State University on two U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) five-year education grants; a Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) project titled Ready-for-Rigor and a Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) project titled iTeachELLs. Melanie began as an administrative assistant on the Ready-for-Rigor project and on the most recent project, iTeachELLs held the role of Business Analyst. On both projects she led the project team and community partners through the application of improvement science, monitoring, measuring and assessing change in teacher classroom practices and communicating the broader social impact of grants to community stakeholders. At the heart of each project was cultivating a shared purpose by curating a set of experiences and connections around three main skillsets: building relationships, project evaluation, and managing the human side of change.
How is CFA’s work important to you?
Arizona is my home. I was born and raised in Arizona, went to Arizona schools and work for Arizona businesses and institutions. I love Arizona! Arizona has shaped who I am and who I aspire to be. How lucky am I that I work for an organization, CFA, that facilitates change by Arizonans, with Arizonans for the future of Arizona.
What do you love about Arizona?
Arizona has always represented the American Dream; an openness to the constant migration of all people with the opportunity to begin again and achieve your full potential.
What’s your story? What was your path to CFA?
My path to CFA is a story of circles. I began my professional career at ASU in 2010 at the downtown campus in Mercado with the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. I held roles as an Administrative Assistant, Project Coordinator, Assistant Director and Business Analyst working on federal education grants across three campuses. In 2020 as the Project Manager of a third federal education grant, my ASU story has landed me back at Mercado at CFA, in the same building at the same desk when I began in 2010.
How does your work impact CFA?
In my roles on federal grants I’ve tried to represent the immense joy and pride that emerges as we work together around a shared purpose of providing opportunities for all students across K-12 so that they know their value in our Arizona community; co-constructing student experiences in order to explore how they belong in their communities and experiment with who they are becoming. Each day my goal is to be openhearted to learning, experiences and people as we strive for community and connection to each other.
When did you first consider Arizona home to you?
Every day of my life
How do you hope to impact Arizona through your work at CFA?
Continue to do my duty as a human being to do the best I can, with what I have in the moment I’m in.