Melissa Casteel is the Early Childhood Leadership Academy (ELCA) Alumni Coach for Erikson’s Policy and Leadership Department. She will support ELCA alumni by helping them apply the knowledge gained at Erikson to advance their action plans, which center children and families.
She is a Barbara Bowman Leadership Fellows alumna and an adult and early childhood educator, connector, and leadership coach. She is also the co-host of Brown Crayon, a podcast focused on elevating the voices of melanated early childhood leaders. Casteel, the daughter of a family childcare provider, started her career as a kindergarten teacher. She has since served as director of assessment, national trainer, researcher, adjunct faculty, and director of an accredited early childhood program and public school-administered Head Start program. A first-generation college graduate, she received a doctorate in adult and continuing education, a graduate degree in early childhood leadership and advocacy, and a graduate degree in administration and supervision, all from National Louis University. Her bachelor’s degree in early childhood education is from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign.