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#AskExcelinEd: Why I work to give all students the same educational opportunity I had

• Victoria Bell


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!

ExcelinEd.Headshot.ToriBell.webMeet Tori Bell

ExcelinEd’s Policy Analyst for Education Opportunity

I received my education via multiple avenues across multiple state lines: traditional public school, online charter school, private parochial school, homeschool and a private university. Through these experiences, I realized how important flexibility and choices are when it comes to education. At different points in my education, I had different needs. Thankfully, I had the opportunity to have those needs met. As a policy analyst at ExcelinEd, my work focuses on making sure other students have that same opportunity.

I Prefer…

Print Book over E-Book

Phone Call over Text

Smart Watch over Traditional Watch

Coffee over Tea

My Twitter Favorites





My Favorite Quote

“The advancement and diffusion of knowledge…is the only guardian of true liberty.”
James Madison, June 30, 1825

My Recommended News Reads

Thought Starter

What Inspires Me

I’m inspired by the teachers, parents and others who work diligently to educate the millions of students across the country.

I’m particularly inspired by Virginia Walden Ford. I came to know Virginia when I lived in Arkansas, and she is part of what motivated me to spend my career in education helping create more opportunity for students, like she did for her son in D.C.

What I’m Reading

I spend a lot of my free time reading. My current read is Grit: Passion, Perseverance, and the Science of Success by Dr. Angela Duckworth. This book tackles the concept of grit (what it is, how to be gritty, etc.), and there are important takeaways on why this is important in education. (Watch Dr. Duckworth’s keynote on grit at #EIE16.)

A few other books I’ve recently read I would recommend:

  • Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover
  • Braving the Wilderness by Brené Brown
  • Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance
  • Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant

ExcelinEd Resource Highlight

Check out our resource (published in partnership with AFC and EdChoice) on the expanded use of 529 savings plans. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which was signed into law in late 2017, changed the federal tax code to allow the use of 529 savings plans for K-12 tuition. Some state tax codes didn’t automatically conform to changes in federal tax code, and this resource is helpful because it includes a nationwide map that tracks how states are responding.

About the author

Victoria Bell

Tori Bell is the Associate Policy Director for Education Opportunity at ExcelinEd, where she works with state leaders to build and implement supportive education opportunity policies. Prior to joining ExcelinEd, Tori worked for a Member of Congress and managed his education policy portfolio. She received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from Washington and Lee University, where she also minored in Education Policy and Poverty and Human Capability Studies. Tori currently resides in Washington, D.C.