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Katherine K. Merseth

Senior Lecturer on Education
Faculty Director, Teacher Education
Katherine K. Merseth

Degree:  Ed.D., Harvard University, (1982)
Email:  [javascript protected email address]
Phone:  617.496.3785
Fax:  617.496.3096
Vitae/CV:   Katherine K. Merseth.pdf
Office:  Longfellow 305
Office Hours:
Office Hours Contact:  Online Sign-up
Faculty Assistant:  Susan Kandel


Katherine Merseth's work concentrates on charter schools, teacher education, mathematics education, and the case-method of instruction. At Harvard, she founded the Harvard Children's Initiative, a university-wide program focusing on the needs of children as well as the School Leadership and the Teacher Education Programs at the School of Education. In mathematics education, she was the principal investigator of the Mathematics Case Development Project funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Massachusetts Math and Science Partnership working with middle school mathematics teachers using classroom based cases; she also served as co-principal investigator of the Teacher Education Addressing Mathematics and Science in Boston and Cambridge Project. Her book, Windows on Teaching Mathematics: Cases of Secondary Mathematics Classrooms (Teachers College Press), represents work in mathematics education and the case method while her involvement as a case method teacher of school administrators exists in her Cases in Educational Administration (Longman).

Internationally, she has edited two volumes of cases about classroom practice in South Africa and Chile. In the charter field, she recently concluded a two year study examining best practices in high performing urban charter schools which culminated in the award winning book, Inside Urban Charter Schools (Harvard Education Press). Recently, Merseth was awarded a Harvard Initiative on Teaching and Learning (HILT) award to explore the use of a new technology platform to enhance the teaching of controversial topics. In addition, Merseth teaches in the General Education Program of Harvard College. Her course, the Dilemmas of Excellence and Equity in K–12 American Schools, has drawn the interest of over 450 Harvard College students each semester and has some of the highest student rankings in the College. Merseth has served as a curriculum developer, teacher, and administrator in K–12 schools. In addition to her Harvard doctorate, Merseth holds a bachelor's in mathematics from Cornell University, a master's in mathematics from Boston College, and a master of arts in teaching secondary mathematics from Harvard.

Click here to see a full list of Katherine Merseth's courses.

Areas of Expertise

Lincoln Greis Distinguished Alumna Award, Od Trail School Bath, Ohio,(2013)

Massachusetts Mathematics Educator Hall of Fame Member,(2007)

Morningstar Award for Excellence in Teaching


Merseth, K., with Cooper, K., Roberts, J., Tieken, M., Valant, J., and Wynne, C. Inside urban charter schools: Promising practices and strategies in five high-performing schools. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.,(2009)

Windows on Teaching: Cases of Secondary Mathematics Classrooms, ed.,(2003)

Case Studies in Educational Administration,(1997)

"Cases and Case Methods in Teacher Education," in Handbook of Research in Teacher Education,(1996)

"How Old is the Shepherd? An Essay on Mathematics Education," in Phi Delta Kappan,(1993)

"Cases, Hypermedia, and Computer Networks: Three Curricular Innovations for Teacher Education," in Journal of Curriculum Studies (with C. Lacey),(1993)

"Weaving Stronger Fabric: The Pedagogical Promise of Hypermedia and Case Methods in Teacher Education," in Teaching and Teacher Education (with C. Lacey),(1993)

"First Aid for First Year Teachers," in Phi Delta Kappan,(1992)


Urban Mathematics Leadership Network, (Austin, TX),(2004-present)

Advisory Board, Change Leadership Group (Cambridge, MA),(2002-present)

Advisor, Roxbury Community Prep Charter School (Roxbury, MA),(2001-present)

Board Member, Media and Arts Technical Charter High School (Boston, MA),(1999-present)

Board Member, Fresh Pond Education (Cambridge, MA),(1997-present)

Board Member, Shackleton Schools (Boston, MA),(1997-present)

American Association of Educational Research,(1978-present)

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics,(1969-present)

Advisory Board, Education and Human Resource Division, National Science Foundation,(2003-2006)

Board Member, Consortium on Math Applications Project (Lexington, MA),(1996-2004)

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