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#AskExcelinEd: How My Mom and Dad Inspire My Work in K-12 Education Reform

• Liya Amelga


During our #AskExcelinEd Summer Learning series, you’ll get to know some of ExcelinEd’s team as they share what they are learning over the summer. Remember to join us on social media to ask your burning policy questions. Enjoy!

Meet Liya Amelga

ExcelinEd’s Associate Director of K-12 Reform

My parents immigrated to the United States from Ethiopia almost 40 years ago. They raised my five younger siblings and me to understand and appreciate the possibilities that stem from being well educated. I am grateful for the unrepayable sacrifices they have made to help us realize our potential, and I admire their efforts to create opportunities for many other children to do the same. I often reflect on their example and continually strive to emulate it both personally and professionally.

I Prefer…

Print Book over E-Book

Phone Call over Text

Smart Watch over Traditional Watch

Tea over Coffee

My Twitter Favorites




My Favorite Quote

  • “Nine tenths of education is encouragement.” – Anatole France
  • “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” – Aristotle
  • “The ability to read, write, and analyze; the confidence to stand up and demand justice and equality; the qualifications and connections to get your foot in that door and take your seat at that table – all of that starts with education.” – Michelle Obama

Research I’m Reading

News You Can Use

I am excited to share that ExcelinEd’s initiative has been converted into an online toolkit and new policy page on Check it out to see how states can reinvent school report cards to empower families!

ExcelinEd Resource Highlight

ExcelinEd’s 2017 Annual Report is a great resource that highlights all of the work we do to advance education quality, innovation and opportunity.

About the author

Liya Amelga

Liya Amelga serves as the Associate Director of K-12 Reform supporting ExcelinEd’s K-12 reform agenda with a focus on the Every Student Succeeds Act. Prior to joining the Foundation, she served as the Special Assistant to the Board of School Commissioners for Baltimore City Public Schools drafting and maintaining district policies and overseeing appeals and ethics complaints to the Board. A native of Orange County, California, Liya earned her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Maryland, College Park and her J.D. from the University of Maryland, Carey School of Law. Liya currently resides in Maryland and is based out of ExcelinEd’s D.C. office.