Ms. Misha Lesley

Ms. Misha Lesley


Ms. Misha Lesley is the Senior Director, Center for Innovative HBCU School Reform Partnerships, Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Inc. Ms. Lesley is a graduate of the The University of Texas at Austin (BA, Government/English, 1993) and The University of Houston (M.Ed, Curriculum & Instruction, 1997). She was  the Program Director for Prepared 4 Life (Non-Profit Organization Management industry) and a former Principal of the Houston Independent School District, (Educational Institution; 10,001 or more employees; Education Management industry), August 1996 — June 2007 (10 years 11 months).

Misha Lesley began her work in the Houston Independent School District (HISD) in 1996 as a middle school teacher. She has been voted Teacher of the Year at both the middle and high school levels, and was an HISD Teacher of the Year semi-finalist in 2002. In 2004, Misha was chosen by HISD to lead the design and opening of Empowerment College Preparatory High School (ECPHS), a Gates funded project through the Coalition of Essential Schools (CES). ECPHS is a small high school partnering with Houston Community College to prepare first generation college students for post secondary success and is currently one of only four Recognized high schools in HISD.

Prior to serving as principal of ECPHS, Misha was the School Improvement Facilitator of the historic Jack Yates High School in Houston, Texas, and led the school’s reform efforts through grants from the Federal Smaller Learning Communities program and the Annenberg Foundation’s Houston A+ Challenge.

Most recently, she served as Program Director for Prepared 4 Life, a non-profit organization that operates asset-based programs in underserved school communities.

Misha currently serves on the board of Discover Hidden Treasures, Inc. and is vice chair of the National Board of the Coalition of Essential Schools.

Misha is a member of the Houston Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Friends of Emancipation Park, and the Third Ward Community Cloth. Supporters of public education, Misha and her husband Kenneth have two children, a son Kendal who is a sixth grader and a daughter Camryn who is a freshman in high school. Both schools are in HISD.

An interview with Ms. Lesley