City | 5:33 pm | June 26, 2012 | By Ben Prawdzik

New Haven Promise names new executive director

Mayor John DeStefano Jr. announced the New Haven Promise scholarship program at a ceremony on Nov. 8, 2010.
Mayor John DeStefano Jr. announced the New Haven Promise scholarship program at a ceremony on Nov. 8, 2010. Photo by New Haven Promise.

Following a seven-month, nationwide search, the New Haven Promise board of directors announced Monday that education administrator Patricia Melton ’83 will succeed Emily Byrne as the scholarship program’s new executive director.

Melton, a first-generation college student who has served in administrative positions in both higher and secondary education, will begin her post at Promise’s helm in August, said Adriana Arreola, the program’s current interim director. In her new role, Melton will report to the Promise board of directors and will be responsible for all aspects of the primarily Yale-funded program, which provides college scholarships to New Haven high school students who meet certain criteria.

“I think Melton’s background and experience in New Haven is going to help a lot — she knows the New Haven community, she knows Yale, and she cares a lot about education,” Arreola said. “She’s going to do an amazing job.”

University President and Promise board member Richard Levin echoed Arreola’s sentiment in a press release, calling Melton “the right person” to head the program and “lead New Haven Promise to the next level.”

Melton’s addition comes at a challenging time for Promise — the scholarship program received 351 applications this year, down 20 applications from last year. While program officials said they do not view the drop in applications as a setback and instead attribute the decrease to a new application system, Melton will likely view boosting applications and eligibility for the scholarship as among her top priorities.

Melton could not be reached for comment by Monday evening.

In her most recent post, Melton worked as an assistant dean at Vincennes University in Indianapolis, running a program for high school students to take college classes and helping to develop Indianapolis high schools. Prior to her role at Vincennes, she was the chief academic officer at Indiana’s third-largest school district and also worked as an education consultant.

Applications for this year’s round of Promise scholarships closed on April 2, and program administrators said the 351 applications received are being vetted throughout the summer. Over the past year, the program has distributed more than $93,000 to students in tuition money through 115 scholarships.

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