Team Member

Meili Powell

Message Meili Powell

Meili Powell

Tennessee LEE Public Policy Fellow

Meili Powell is a LEE Public Policy Fellow for the Education Trust in Tennessee, where she supports projects related to statewide policy, advocacy, and stakeholder engagement.

Prior to joining the Education Trust, Meili worked as a Program Specialist at ALLMemphis (Access Language & Literacy), where she coached teachers and supported schools with building their literacy capacity. Before ALLMemphis, Meili was a 2017 Teach for America corps member in Memphis, where she taught first and third grade for three years at KIPP and Dunbar Elementary School. Outside of the classroom, Meili worked as a Policy & Advocacy Fellow with Stand for Children – Tennessee, where she analyzed effective literacy initiatives, researched trauma-informed practices, and helped organize a “Fund Students First” campaign. Meili was also a volunteer for Momentum Memphis Task Forces, a community coalition focused on educational justice in Shelby County Schools. As a task force leader, she collaborated with local organizations and elected officials to try and establish a “Youth Education Success” fund.

A native of Seattle, Meili holds a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood & Family Studies and History. Currently, Meili is also a graduate student at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College, where she is a candidate for the Master’s in Public Policy degree in education policy.

Favorite Sports Team
Seattle Sounders

What’s your favorite thing to do outside of work?
Hiking, tennis, and rock climbing.

What are people surprised to learn about you?
I was born in China, but grew up in Seattle with my wonderful younger sister, Minh, who is from Vietnam. 

Why are you passionate about working at Ed Trust?
Education policy and advocacy is personal work to me. After working at the school-level in Memphis, I’ve realized how challenges in the classroom connect to inequitable policies developed by leaders without the experience of working or living in the communities they impact. It is overwhelmingly clear that there are not enough policymakers who have taught, so each day I show up to work thinking about how I can center the stories of my past students and families to ultimately, create a more equitable school system for all in Tennessee.