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Geoffrey Canada to Receive Medal for Education Impact

Photo courtesy of Harlem Children's Zone

Dean Kathleen McCartney has announced Geoffrey Canada, Ed.M.’75, as the recipient of the second Harvard Graduate School of Education Medal for Education Impact, the highest honor given by the Ed School. The medal is awarded to a person who is making a lasting difference in the field of education and on the lives of learners across the nation and beyond. Canada will receive the honor following an Askwith Forum on March 28.

“For his tireless efforts to strengthen families and to improve outcomes for thousands of children as President and CEO of the Harlem Children’s Zone, we are thrilled to award the second Harvard Graduate School of Education Medal for Education Impact to Geoffrey Canada,” Dean Kathleen McCartney said. “Geoff’s vision for providing comprehensive education, social services, and community-building programs for the families and children who need them most has drawn national attention. He is an inspiration to all of us who believe that all children have the right to an excellent education, regardless of their zip codes.”

The Medal for Education Impact honors practitioners, policymakers, and researchers who work across their individual spheres of influence and whose careers are dedicated to education opportunity, achievement, and success for all children. It recognizes those who have a transformative effect on the sector through their entrepreneurial spirit, innovative strategies, collaborative work, and superior leadership.

“To be chosen for this medal by the Harvard Graduate School of Education, which has had such a profound impact on my life and on education reform across the nation, is a deeply felt honor,” Canada said.

As president and CEO of the Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ), a nonprofit geared toward helping low-income children and families in New York City, Canada is committed to improving the lives of thousands of children in urban settings through education and services. HCZ is a full-service community organization, comprised of charter schools, preschools, afterschool programs, parenting education, and employment and technology centers for children and residents that currently serves more than 13,000 children and adults.

Canada has received significant praise for his work. In a June 2004, a New York Times Magazine cover story declared HCZ as “one of the most ambitious social experiments of our time.” A year later, Canada was named one of America’s Best Leaders by U.S. News and World Report. More recently, President Obama has spoken of the program as one he’d like to see replicated in other urban areas nationwide. Canada has received numerous education awards and honorary degrees including the McGraw Prize for Education, Robin Hood Foundation’s Heroes of the Year Award, the Jefferson Award for Public Service, the first Heinz Award, and the 2008 HGSE Alumni Council Award to name a few.


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