Yan Li is an enthusiastic storyteller using education data. She is the Director of the Office of Research and Development at the Mississippi Department of Education. In this role, she developed a dynamic research framework and agenda for the Department, and leads the Department’s research team producing objective, accurate, and reliable research that informs the evidence-based decision-making of the Department’s leadership. Her work reveals insights that practitioners in schools can use to improve student learning and outcomes. She holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Mississippi, and a Masters’ Degree in Applied Economics from the University of Cincinnati. While at the University of Mississippi, she received the annual Excellence in Teaching Award for 2015, and still teaches as an adjunct professor at Delta State University. She is a Next Generation Leaders Awardee with the Consortium for School Networking, and a State Agency Fellow with Results for America. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Mississippi Council on Economic Education, is a member of the Diverse and Learner-Ready Teachers Initiative with the Council of Chief State School Officers, and a member of the National Center for Education Statistics Expert Panel on Educational Technology Equity Initiatives at the U.S. Department of Education. Dr. Li has publications in several peer-reviewed journals, and is the Principal Investigator for Mississippi’s Statewide Longitudinal Data System Grant funded by the Institute of Education Sciences.