About Council Member Melissa Noriega
A 27-year veteran of the Houston Independent School District (HISD), Melissa Noriega has a unique perspective as a public school educator, a community activist and as a member of the Texas House in 2005.
In June 2004, her husband, Representative Rick Noriega, a Colonel in the Texas Army National Guard, was called by his country to serve in Afghanistan, as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. He was stationed near Kabul for a year and a day, and deployed for 14 months. In 2005, Melissa left her job and her responsibilities at home to be the first person to serve in her spouse's stead under a constitutional amendment approved by Texas voters in 2003.
- "Speaking on Connectivity"
She was sworn in on January 11, 2005 and went on to serve in the 79th Regular Session as well as two 30-day Special Sessions on Education. She was named Freshman of the Year by the Democratic Caucus and was awarded the first Joe E. Moreno Public Service Award by her colleagues.
Melissa served on the Defense Affairs and State and Federal Relations Committee, which oversees military operations in Texas, as well as Homeland Security. She also served on the Corrections Committee, which oversees Texas prisons, the juvenile system, the probation system as well as Pardons and Paroles.
Melissa Noriega stepped smoothly into her husband's shoes to provide the constituents of District 145 in Houston's East End, as well as the people of the State of Texas, effective representation. She was known as a straightforward consensus builder, a hard worker and a sensible, capable leader.
In the fall of 2005, Melissa had the privilege to serve alongside her husband, when he was the Incident Commandeer for the City Of Houston's Hurricane Katrina relief efforts at the George R. Brown Convention Center. The extraordinary leadership exhibited in this effort, as well as the compassion of the citizens of Houston, showed the nation the Cityâ€Ts character.
Melissa Meisgeier Noriega was born in Philadelphia in 1954, but her family got to Texas as soon as they could, moving to Houston in 1957. She grew up in Austin and Houston, and is a product of Scarborough High School in the Houston Independent School District. Her father is a lifelong educator, as are two of her three siblings; her mother is a writer.
Melissa attended the University of Houston and graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Psychology. She was president of Phi Mu Fraternity, and Vice President of the Pan-Hellenic Council. She graduated with a Masters in Education, Counseling, from the UH College of Education, while beginning her career with HISD.
At HISD, Melissa worked in the Education and Research Departments, district administrative offices and Professional Development, but her passion for many years was Parent Involvement, Leadership and Community Engagement.
The Noriegas married on Valentine's Day, 1991, in anticipation of further conflict in Operation Desert Storm. Melissa is stepmother to Alex, a student at Texas A&M and the mother of Ricky, Jr., born in 1997. She has been President of the Eastwood Civic Association and has served as part of the Executive Committee of Parents for Public Schools. She and Rick are Life Members of the University of Houston Alumni. The Noriega family belongs to Christ Church Cathedral.
Melissa and her husband have found it an enormous privilege to serve the historic East End, the people of the City of Houston and the citizens of the State of Texas. As committed Houstonians, they strive every day to be the servant leaders that they believe is their calling and ministry.
Houston City Council
Melissa Noriega believes that effective public service is accomplished through relationship building and the ability to set aside personal agendas for the greater good. Leadership in government requires a strong commitment to ethics and a willingness to collaboratively make decisions that positively impact communities.