Skip to main content




RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC, 4/­29­/2021 — PBS North Carolina announces the appointment of Dr. Melissa Rihm Thibault as Chief Education and Innovation Officer (CEIO), effective June 1, 2021.

The CEIO will build and manage PBS North Carolina’s new Education division, leading an interdisciplinary team dedicated to education equity and the organization’s mission to serve the entire continuum of life-long learning. Reporting to CEO Lindsay Bierman, Dr. Thibault will partner closely with PBS North Carolina’s senior leadership to drive its education strategy. Her work will include identifying growth opportunities for the Education division, forging partnerships with key government, industry, philanthropic and education system leaders and policymakers and developing new educational funding opportunities to extend the network’s statewide reach.

“Our original station, WUNC-TV, signed on the air in 1955 as the state’s first educational station and the tenth in our nation,” said PBS North Carolina CEO Lindsay Bierman. “Dr. Thibault’s pioneering experience in learning technology will help us build on our core founding mission and now 66-year track record of improving student achievement. With the support of our colleagues at the Department of Public Instruction, and in partnership with other state agencies, I have no doubt Dr. Thibault will help revolutionize the development and delivery of life-changing educational resources across our statewide platforms.”

Dr. Thibault is a licensed NC public school library media specialist who has served students from preschool through high school; she values teachers’ voices and is committed to ensuring equity for all North Carolina's students. She has worked in 85 of North Carolina's 100 counties, teaching teachers and collaborating with local educators, formally and informally, to expand opportunities and reach more learners.Dr. Thibault most recently served as Vice Chancellor for Distance Education and Extended Programs at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM), leading efforts in online learning, delivery of instruction using interactive video conferencing, teacher professional development and student enrichment programs, including the statewide Summer Ventures in Math and Science pre-college research experience program.

In addition to leading distance education for NCSSM, Dr. Thibault provides advocacy and advisory support in state and national education initiatives and has led efforts to create collaborations across K-12, community college, and university partners creating online content to be freely shared with any student in the state and beyond.

Dr. Thibault writes, “the crises and opportunities of this past year brought to light issues of equity, revealed the importance of schools and teachers, and moved communities to generate creative solutions to persistent problems. With a world-class education system, vibrant economy and commitment to a workforce second to none, North Carolina is poised for continued success. With this focus on education and innovation, PBS North Carolina will realize the full potential of North Carolina’s investment, building on a foundation of excellence, connecting our state across sectors and reaching learners wherever they are statewide. This work is inspired and inspiring, and I am beyond excited to join the team.”

Dr. Thibault earned her Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Colby College in Waterville, Maine, a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science from the University of South Florida and earned her doctorate in both Philosophy and Public Administration from North Carolina State University.


About PBS North Carolina 

As North Carolina’s statewide PBS network serving the country’s third-largest public media market, PBS NC educates, informs, entertains and inspires its statewide audience on-air, online and in-person. Through its unique partnership of public investment and private support, the statewide network includes in-person engagement, digital-first social and online content delivery, and four over-the-air channels—PBS NC, the North Carolina Channel, Rootle 24/7 PBS Kids and the Explorer Channel. Its transformational events and content spark curiosity and wonder for all North Carolinians. Additionally, PBS NC serves as the backbone for North Carolina’s state’s emergency services. Visit and join the conversation at and @MyPBSNC on Twitter. 


Media Contact:

Kathleen Kramer, PBS North Carolina Marketing & Communications