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Faculty & Research

Irvin Leon Scott

Senior Lecturer on Education

Irvin Leon Scott

Degree:  Ed.D., Harvard University, (2011)
Email:  [javascript protected email address]
Phone:  617.495.2940
Office:  Gutman 449
Office Hours Contact:  Email the Faculty Assistant to set up the appointment
Faculty Assistant:  Kevin Walsh


Irvin Scott joined the faculty of Harvard Graduate School of Education during the summer of 2016. At Harvard, Scott's concentration is educational leadership. He is excited about his work teaching at HGSE in the School Leadership Program and Doctor of Education Leadership Program. "Both programs are producing amazing leaders who are doing great things on behalf of children throughout the country," he says.

Before coming to Harvard, Scott served for five years as the deputy director for K–12 education at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, where he led the investment of $300 million in initiatives focused on transforming how teachers are recruited, developed, and rewarded. This work was built on existing efforts that were occurring in the Gates Foundation's Intensive Partnership. At the Foundation, Scott also led a team to initiate the Elevating and Celebrating Effective Teaching and Teachers experience, which has become a teacher-driven movement and can be found in a majority of states across the country. Look up #ECET2 to learn more. This teacher-led effort involves bringing thousands of teachers together to collaborate with their peers, engage in teacher leadership, and celebrate the profession. In an effort to address educational inequities in the U.S., Scott also led an effort at the Foundation to build strong partnerships and deeper engagement between faith-based organizations that serve underrepresented students, families, and communities.

Prior to his Foundation work, Scott spent over 20 years working in the "trenches" as a teacher, principal, assistant superintendent, and chief academic officer. Right before going to the Foundation, Scott was the Chief Academic Officer for Boston Public Schools, where he was responsible for the academic programming of the school systems, as well as overseeing all regional superintendents and schools in the district. Scott previously served as high school academic superintendent for the district and co-chaired Harvard University’s Urban School Leader' Summer Institute.

In 2006, Scott was selected into the Urban Superintendents Program at Harvard University. After completing a year of intense course work, he interned with John Deasy, Superintendent of the Prince George's County Public Schools in Maryland from 2007-2008. During that time, he led a team to plan and implement the district's new Leadership Development Office for 225 principals.

Scott began his professional education experience in the classroom as an English teacher and choral director for fifteen years. He also served as the principal of McCaskey East High Schools in Lancaster, Pennsylvania for four years. As principal, Scott led a team of teachers and administrators to reform the 3,200-student high school into eight small learning communities, as well as to develop core curricula for all students. He also directed Project Forward Leap, a nonprofit, academic enrichment program for urban, middle-school scholars in Philadelphia, Harrisburg, and Lancaster Pennsylvania.

Scott holds a bachelor's degree from Millersville University; a master's degree in education from Temple University; and a master's and doctoral degree from Harvard University.

Click here to see a full list of Irvin Scott's courses.

Sponsored Projects


PeopleOrganizationsLinksSunil ShakyaLeadership Institute for Faith and Education: Building Successful Faith and Education Partnerships for Student Achievement (2020-2021)
Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

The goal of the Program Development period would be to schedule for (Fall 2021) the start of an online version of LIFE. The learning experience would be a purposeful trajectory whose learning objectives would likely include: (a) responding to the current academic, social and political contexts; (b) contributing to a knowledge base on issues of social and educational equity; (c) building human capitalto complement the social capital that these organizations already have, or seek to deepen; (d)cultivating the skills [particularly consensus-building and collaboration] that will enable sustained engagement; and (e) developing an action plan to scale efforts for maximum impact.


LeadersÂ’ Institute for Faith and Education (LIFE) (2017-2018)
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

In communities across the nation, faith-based organizations (FBOs) provide out-of-school learning programs designed to help students attain improved education outcomes, and faith-based leaders use their voices to advocate on behalf of the needs of the students and families they serve. We can more effectively reach our goal of increasing educational outcomes for all students if we increase the capacity and the number of organizations that serve and support students and their communities, including our FBOs. To do so, we need to learn more about the field—what organizations are working in education reform, what activities and tactics do they employ, what outcomes are they attaining, what tools and resources do they need to increase their capacity, how can we advance the knowledge of the field in efforts of replicating the high-quality work?Dr. Scott seeks to identify, understand, and elevate the work of exemplary faith-based supplemental education programs and faith-based advocacy organizations. We seek to learn whether the creation of an institute that provides the space and time for the sharing of ideas, resources, best practices, lessons learned, etc. can result in the development of sustainable, strong, effective, actionable and replicable faith-based supplemental education (out-of-school learning) and advocacy programs. We envision that the institute will bring faith, education, policy, and advocacy leaders together to identify, understand, and elevate best practices for effective faith-based education programs.

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