who we are

Mississippi needs new school options. We’re here to help make it happen.

Embark, an initiative of Empower Mississippi, is an education accelerator that partners with school founders to help them move from idea to doors open. We guide school founders through early planning and start-up so they can successfully open new schools to serve students throughout the state.

meet our team

Elyse Marcellino

Elyse Marcellino


Elyse Marcellino is the Director of Embark. She oversees all Embark activities and manages a team of coaches with expertise in school planning and start-up. Previously, Elyse directed education policy work at Empower Mississippi, worked as a legislative assistant to U.S. Senator Thad Cochran, and helped launch a charter school in Georgia. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Belhaven University and a Master’s degree in Education Policy and Management from Harvard University.


Katie Elliott

Operations Manager

Katie Elliott is the Operations Manager of Embark. She creates and maintains Embark’s administrative systems, processes, and general communications. Previously, Katie taught Developmental English and developed a writing center at the community college level. She then worked in administration, development, and investor relations for several entities, including Empower Mississippi and Próspera. She received a Bachelor of Arts in English from Mississippi College.

Our vision.

what we believe

Every student deserves a great education. A dynamic education marketplace with growing options encourages innovation and helps more students find a school that puts them on the path to success. By working alongside school founders as they embark on the exciting journey of starting a new school, we hope to make Mississippi a place where leaders have the support they need to create and open new schools and where students have a variety of options to meet their needs.

Our partners to accelerate new school growth in Mississippi include: