Melissa Meisgeier Noriega spent 27 years working for the Houston Independent School District (HISD), starting in the Research & Evaluation department. She continued in Title I Community Engagement, was senior staff to several superintendents and retired as a manager of Professional Development and Leadership Training after winning a run-off election in June, 2007.

Her time at HISD was followed by her role as a city-wide at-large member of the Houston City Council, where she served as Chair of Public Safety, Chair of Infrastructure, Transportation & Technology, Co-chair of the Census Complete Count Committee and Co-chair of the City Bond Election Campaign in 2012. She has served as an independent consultant since being term-limited out of office in December 2013, and currently is active on the board of New Hope Housing and the East End Foundation.

Melissa didn’t contemplate a political career until she spent almost a year in the Texas House as the first person to serve under the provision of an amendment to the Texas Constitution approved by voters in 2003, allowing someone to stand in for a Representative or Senator deployed as part of a war effort. She served on the Defense Affairs & Homeland Security and the Corrections committees, and was named Freshman of the Year by the Democratic Caucus.

After she volunteered at the George R. Brown Convention Center following Hurricane Katrina, she saw what Houstonians were able to accomplish, and she decided to run for Council at-large Position 3:

“We had neighbors coming from New Orleans–many of them coming with their whole live in plastic bags, or with nothing at all, and Houston stepped up,” she said. “I have never been so proud to be from Houston. I decided to run for city council because I saw what we Houstonians could do when we set their minds to it. We were truly that city on a hill…it was amazing.”

Ms. Noriega, the first in her family to graduate from the University of Houston, earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology, and her Master of Education in counseling. She is a Lifetime Alumna at UH and can be found at most Cougar home games. She and her family are members at Christ Church Cathedral, though they are sometimes found in the congregation at Lakewood.

Ms. Noriega has been honored by her opportunity to be of service to the Houston community, and grateful for the support of her family, friends and community as she has pursued her career in public service.