Mary Kelly Persyn is Vice President, Legal & Strategic Advocacy, of New Teacher Center.
Persyn’s law practice comprises service to New Teacher Center as in-house counsel and advocacy director and pro bono service as amicus counsel to the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children, where she also chairs the amicus committee. Persyn Law & Policy, which she founded in 2015, has worked to advance the profession’s understanding of how toxic stress and childhood trauma, including trauma inflicted by race- and gender-based discrimination, impact the health, well-being, and life outcomes of affected youth. She has published articles, op-eds, and literary criticism in addition to authoring appellate amicus briefs that offer expertise to state and federal courts on a range of matters, among them DACA and gender-affirming care for minors.
Persyn earned her bachelor’s degree with honors from UCLA and her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees with honors from the University of Washington. She is a graduate of Columbia Law School, where she was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and editor-in-chief of the Columbia Human Rights Law Review. She served as a judicial law clerk to the late Judge John T. Noonan, Jr. of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.