President and CEO
Prior to SparkWheel, Malissa Martin worked with Communities In Schools (CIS) at the local, state and national levels and in urban, suburban, rural and frontier communities in varying leadership roles since 1999. She was the President and CEO of Communities In Schools of Mid-America (CIS of Mid-America) starting June 2007 when it was CIS of Kansas. Malissa’s work with CIS included chairing or serving on numerous CIS network committees and task forces at the national level. Since working with CIS of Kansas, she significantly strengthened and expanded the organization, growing it to Communities In Schools of Mid-America in late 2013 and expanding services beyond Kansas to Oklahoma, Iowa, and Missouri and from K-12 to also include early childhood and post-secondary work. In 2023, she oversaw the evolution of the organization into SparkWheel.
Named by Governor Mark Parkinson to the Kansas Commission on Graduation and Dropout Prevention and Recovery in 2009, she today serves on the Kansas Early Childhood Recommendations Panel and on the federally mandated Kansas Citizens Panel for child welfare issues. During her time in Kansas, at the state level she has served and/or led a number of efforts in the areas of high school dropout, out-of-school engagement, child welfare, and early childhood education. She recently earned the Kellogg School of Management’s Executive Scholar Certificate, and is an alumnus of the Kellogg Center for Nonprofit Management, the NYU Wagner/Communities In Schools Executive Leadership Development Program, and the Kansas Leadership Center. She was awarded the 2011-2012 Robert H.B. Baldwin Fellowship, studying and publishing on the subject of non-profit infrastructures.
Also a creative, Malissa spends a lot of time working in various artistic media and gardening. She has two grown sons, a daughter-in-law, and two grandsons in the KC Metro and spends as much time with them as possible. A native Texan, most of her family is still there and she visits frequently.