Mary Metcalfe has worked in education since 1974 as a teacher, principal, and lecturer. After working in the field of remedial education, she lectured at the Johannesburg College of Education and the University of the Witwatersrand. From 1994 – 2004 she served as the MEC for Education and then for Agriculture, Conservation, Environment and Land Affairs in Gauteng. She was the Head of the School of Education at Wits from 2005 to 2009 before joining the Department of Higher Education and Training as Director General in 2009. She served on the General Education Advisory Board of the Open Society Foundations from 2005 to 2016 and was chairperson from 2013. She worked as the Lead Sector Specialist in Social Infrastructure at the Development Band of South Africa between 2011 and 2013 in which time she worked on conceptualising systemic improvement in education in a broad collaborative process within the sector. She is currently a Senior Research Associate, University of Johannesburg and is the Director: Education Change at the Programme to Improve Learning Outcomes (PILO) which piloted-at-scale a model for education system improvement in 1 200 schools in KZN between 2015-2017 funded by the NECT. Learning from this pilot, the model is now being implemented in 6 districts and in 3 500 schools in KZN between 2018 and 2020. She serves on several Boards in the non-for-profit sector and on advisory structures of Government.