Melissa Connelly

Chief Executive Officer

Melissa Connelly is the Chief Executive Officer of OneGoal, a national postsecondary access and success organization. Before becoming chief executive officer, Melissa was the organization’s first Chief Program Officer. In this role, she was responsible for executing the programmatic vision to ensure all students have an equitable opportunity to earn a postsecondary degree or credential. As a first-generation college graduate herself, Melissa’s path to and through college was not easy. She started high school in a truancy program, but with the support of caring educators, she went on to obtain three college degrees with a 4.0 GPA. Melissa has spent more than 15 years in education, leveraging her experiences, empathy, and drive to make certain her accomplishments are not an anomaly but the norm for underserved youth. 

Melissa was named to the 2024 cohort of the Pahara Institute Fellowship. She serves on the board of directors of Reading Partners and the board of trustees at Dominican University and is a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO). She earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Illinois-Chicago, and a Master of Arts in Teaching and a Master of Education Administration from Dominican University. She is an alumna of the prestigious Surge Institute Fellowship for emerging leaders of color in education. Even with these accomplishments, Melissa is proudest of her work as a mother to AJ and Addae.