Nichelle Woodson Promoted to Chief of Network Success at the RISE Network

Media & Press Releases

Building on the organization’s track record promoting on-track achievement, high school graduation rates, and postsecondary access and opportunity, the Connecticut RISE Network promotes Nichelle Woodson to Chief of Network Success. Woodson, who most recently served as Director of Freshman Success at RISE, brings 20 years of experience as a school teacher, social worker, and administrator to this new role.

Nichelle - blog photo

NEW HAVEN, CT (June 17, 2024) — The Connecticut RISE Network (RISE) announced today that Nichelle Woodson has been promoted to Chief of Network Success. This well-deserved promotion serves as a recognition of Nichelle’s incredible talents, far-ranging knowledge and skills, accomplishments at RISE to date, and tremendous passion and belief in the limitless potential of all students, educators, and schools.  

Nichelle is uniquely poised to take on this integral leadership role at RISE, given her many contributions to RISE over the past six-and-a-half years. For example, under Nichelle’s leadership to date: 

  • Grade 9 on-track rates in RISE’s Core Network have improved by 19 percentage points from the baseline year with the largest gains (up to 29 points) among students of color, multilingual learners, and special education students, evidencing Nichelle’s deep commitment to educational equity; 
  • Strategies like on-track data teams, summer bridge, student conferences, extended-day programming, and more have flourished thanks to Nichelle’s vision and commitment to continuous improvement;
  • Since its inception, Nichelle has been a driving force in RISE’s DEIA Steering Committee and efforts to promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism at the organizational level and through daily practice; and
  • Nichelle has been a leader in shaping RISE’s coaching practices and data team frameworks rooted in a strong respect for educators.

“Nichelle joined the RISE family six-and-a-half ago and has had such a profound and powerful impact on our work and network community ever since,” said Emily Pallin, RISE Executive Director. “My deep respect and admiration for Nichelle match my great enthusiasm as she takes on this new role, helping us to further advance our mission and ensure all students succeed in and beyond high school. Nichelle is an incredible leader who inspires me and the RISE community through her words, actions, and results, and I am confident we will continue to deepen and expand our student impact under Nichelle’s leadership.” 

In this new role, Nichelle will join the organization’s Leadership Team and oversee RISE’s network partnerships, promoting on-track achievement, postsecondary access, and equitable outcomes for all students. As Chief of Network Success, Nichelle will lead network growth and advancements to RISE’s school support model and approaches to educator capacity-building and continuous improvement. 

“I am excited to step into the Chief of Network Success position and even more thrilled to be leading such a dedicated and passionate team of colleagues,” said Woodson. “This is an exciting moment for RISE as we continue to refine our model and scale our work and I am confident we will achieve remarkable success with our school partners as we improve outcomes for ALL students!”

Nichelle joined the RISE team in January 2018 and has led the Freshman Success team, which pursues evidence-based strategies to advance Grade 9 on-track achievement, for three years. Before her tenure at RISE, Nichelle served as an educator for nearly twenty years, including six years as a middle school principal. She has worked in public and charter schools, holding positions as an elementary school teacher, district school social worker, and Dean of Student Services. 

Nichelle holds a B.A. in psychology from Vassar College, an M.S.W. from Columbia University School of Social Work, and a sixth-year degree and Intermediate Supervisory certificate from Central Connecticut State University.