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Checking In: Class of 2012

What are the students in HGSE's class of 2012 doing five years post-graduation? We caught up with a few to find out.
Checking In

On an 80-degree May afternoon in 2012, just under 700 HGSE students received their diplomas. The recently-minted graduates beamed in their warm seats, holding both the traditional children’s book and special anti-bullying bracelets as then-dean Kathleen McCartney urged students to model the communities they want to create in education.

The 2012 winners of the Intellectual Contribution/Faculty Tribute Award, given by faculty and students to one graduating student in each program, have taken that charge and run with it. The 2012 IC/TF winners have migrated across the globe, working with children as researchers, practitioners, and policymakers in a number of states and four different continents. We caught up with 11 of those students to see how they’re working to change the world in 2017.

Jessica Delforge

Jessica (Delforge) Rose

  • Arts in Education
  • Current City: Cambridge
  • Current job: Ed.L.D. candidate, HGSE (graduating this May!)
  • Career highlight: For the last three years I've been in the Ed.L.D. Program at HGSE and it has been life changing for me. I am a better leader, spouse, parent, and person because of it. 
  • Fondest memory of HGSE: Office hours with Steve Seidel. Steve has an amazing ability to help slow down your thinking in ways that I find to be rare and invaluable.
  • Future plans: Assistant superintendent in Lincoln, Massachusetts starting next month and I'm incredibly excited for the opportunity.
    If I couldn’t be in education, I would be: A vegetable gardener or I'd want to find a way to work for Michelle Obama.
Carol Yu

Carol Yu

  • Education Policy and Management
  • Current City: New York/Boston
  • Current job: Global academic director, Bridge International Academies
  • Career highlight: Seeing our first cohort of graduates in Kenya excel on the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education exam (KCPE), a high-stakes national exit examination for primary students. 
  • Fondest memory of HGSE: Late nights at Gutman labs wrestling over problem sets with my classmates.
  • Future plans: Continue to work in international education.
  • If I couldn’t be in education, I would be: Learning to code.
Caroline Kerr

S. Caroline Kerr

  • Higher Education
  • Current City: Coral Gables, Florida
  • Current Job: CEO, Joyce Ivy Foundation
  • Career Highlight: I joined the Dartmouth Board of Trustees in 2015 as one of the youngest trustees in Dartmouth's history. It's an incredible chance to work on the opportunities and challenges facing higher education.
  • Fondest memory of HGSE: The ideas and strategies I learned during my time at HGSE — as well as the friendships and networks — are a regular and important part of my life. We've been fortunate to have three HGSE Higher Ed students work with us as senior fellows to direct our annual College Admissions Symposium: Carrie Alexander, Ed.M.'15; Brittany Carlson, Ed.M.'16; and Nicole Cannizzaro, Ed.M.'17.
Sanderson Doughty

Sanderson Hale Doughty

  • Human Development and Psychology
  • Current City: Portland, Oregon
  • Current Job: Teacher, the Portland School of Experiential Education
  • Career highlight: Dedicating my life to early childhood education and pushing the envelope with that is possible in educating and caring for very young children in a progressive learning environment.
  • Fondest memory of HGSE: Professor Eleanor Duckworth's course, The Having of Wonderful Ideas.
  • Future plans: Continue working in early childhood education, potentially moving into the world of newborns/toddlers, and studying the communication, thinking, development of pre-verbal humans.
  • If I couldn’t be in education, I would be: Making documentary films on forest kindergartens, outdoor education, and native/indigenous education practices/culture/histories.
Alyssa Chan

Alyssa Chan 

  • International Education Policy
  • Current City: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Current job: Policy and Program Advisor, Ontario Ministry of Education
  • Career highlight: After graduating from HGSE, I returned to Toronto to serve as the director of national partnerships for a national Non-Government Organization (NGO). I was able to travel across the U.S. and Canada meeting with school boards leaders, community organizations, foundations, and governments to collaborate on initiatives that fostered civic education, and was grateful to see the collective passion that educators across the country held for the success of students. In the last year, I made the shift to join the provincial government in order to work directly with the policies that support student success. I've gained a great appreciation for the good work — and good people — that serve our students and teachers, and look forward to learn and contribute any way that I can.
  • Fondest memory of HGSE: For me, it was the "people and potential" that made HGSE such an incredible experience. There wasn't a day that went by without learning something new or trying something new, and I remain continually grateful for that year together.
  • Future plans: I hope to create opportunities that integrate the grit and innovation of NGOs with the knowledge and history of the public sector. I'm not sure exactly where that will lead as of yet, but am learning to value the journey as much as the destination!
  • If I couldn’t be in education, I would be: Likely involved in work promoting community health or capacity building — something that inevitably ties back to education anyway!
Paul Tritter

Paul Tritter

  • Current City: Boston
  • Current job: Director of professional learning, Boston Teachers Union
  • Career highlight: Leading a unique labor-management collaboration that brings the voices of teachers to an effort to improve professional learning.
  • Fondest memory of HGSE: The conversations. The excellent conversations that you can just walk into at any moment on campus were a treasure.
  • Future plans: I plan to continue in this role (as long as they'll have me) and deepen the connection between teachers and Boston Public Schools decision-makers so initiative planning at the system level is informed by practitioners' voices through consistent, accessible, and valued feedback structures.
  • If I couldn’t be in education, I would be: Cooking.
Yael Karakowsky

Yael Karakowsky Ross

  • Mind, Brain, and Education
  • Current City: Houston
  • Current job: Executive director, SER Mexico
  • Career highlight: I was hired right after graduation by Mike Feinberg and Aaron Brenner from KIPP to work with them in a pilot project that aimed to support the creation of transformational schools internationally. The organization (1 World) today supports schools in Mexico, Israel, South Africa and Chile. My role since 2012 has been to lead our work in Mexico, where we started our work with one school of 28 children. Today I am proud to share that after a lot of work, commitment from Mexican business leaders and amazing team efforts we have a growing network of 12 schools, serving around 2,000 Mexican children and families.
  • Fondest memory of HGSE: There isn't a single one. The year at HGSE was a year that overall marked the rest of my life — my professors, classmates, and the administration made, and continue to make, an incredible impact in my life.
  • Future plans: Keep improving access to quality education and advocating for the right every child has to get it.
  • If I couldn’t be in education, I would be: Finding or creating a way to be in education.... I will always be in education.
David Knight

David Knight

  • Prevention Science and Practice
  • Current City: Chicago
  • Current job: Ph.D. candidate, the University of Chicago
  • Career highlight: Before going to Chicago, I was a public high school teacher in Boston. I taught at an arts school and was so inspired by my students and colleagues that I became involved some some advocacy/activist work in the city and started publishing some of my own writing, even a short documentary, in newspapers, magazines, and journals — all focused on youth, race, and educational justice. I continue this focus today as I work toward my doctorate.
  • Fondest memory of HGSE: There are so many, but I remember several spontaneous and unexpectedly powerful conversations about education and justice with my classmates. It's so interesting because I remain close friends with some of these same people today! Some of us just were just catching up on the phone the other day!
  • Future plans: After completing my Ph.D., I hope to become a professor, doing work that supports both university students and young people in my local community.
  • If I couldn’t be in education, I would be: A journalist, which still might be possible somewhere in the future!
Natasha Patterson

Natasha Patterson

  • School Leadership Program
  • Current City: Chicago
  • Current job: Assistant principal, Chicago Public Schools
  • Career highlights: Serving as school director/principal of UCSN–Rogers Park for the 2013-2014 academic year and earning a Level 1+ on the SQRP; securing a partnership with the David Lynch Foundation and the University of Chicago Crime Lab to bring Transcendental Meditation and the Quiet Time program to the students and staff of Gage Park High School, a valuable tool in helping teachers and staff deal with stress and trauma; increased the number of 2016 Gage Park High School graduates earning early college and career credentials.
  • Fondest memory of HGSE: Attending the weekly leadership class, which my School Leadership cohort affectionately called "Feelings Friday," taught by Lee Teitel, Nancy Gutierrez, and Tai Sunnanon. This class was truly transformative for me — both personally and professionally.
  • Future plans: My immediate plans include transitioning into a career in policy and advocacy. This summer, I will be working as a summer fellow in the Office of the Illinois Secretary of Education. I am really excited about this wonderful opportunity to hone my skills in policy and leverage my experiences as a former teacher and school leader. Once I complete this fellowship, I hope to find a full-time opportunity which will allow me to impact and influence educational policy at the state level.
  • If I couldn’t be in education, I would be: A reporter covering an education beat.
Hetal Jani

Hetal Jani

  • Specialized Studies
  • Current City: New York
  • Current job: Founder and executive director of SPEAK Mentorship; Founder and president of Studor
  • Career highlight: Since graduating, I realized that I wanted to create opportunities for young girls of color to mentor with professional women who share similar cultural backgrounds so they can see clearer pathways from high school to career. SPEAK Mentorship has already worked with a few young adults through the mentoring program and has highlighted the work of many amazing women, including fellow HGSE grads, through our Speaker Series. I've also since completed my M.A. in applied behavior analysis from Queens College of New York and an M.B.A from IE Business School. The past two years, I've been living in China, working with different education organizations and learning all about the language and culture. Thereby, I've also been very lucky to include traveling southeast Asia during my time here. 
  • Fondest memory of HGSE: When Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot sang to us on the last day of class. Brought me to tears. Simply beautiful!
    Future plans: My near future plans are to build relationships between education institutes and individual educators in China and America with the hope of promoting cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary teacher development programs. For SPEAK Mentorship, I am looking to collaborate with schools to provide mentoring programs to better understand how strengthening cultural identity can affect academic and social development.
  • If I couldn’t be in education, I would be: Teaching dance, specifically a blend of Indian and western, to students around the world so I can continue to travel and learn more about the world we live in.
Allison Browne

Allison Estes-Browne

  • Technology, Innovation, and Education
  • Current City: Amherst, Massachusetts
  • Current job: Grade 5 Classroom Teacher
  • Career highlight: I had been a special education teacher for many years before HGSE. After my experience with the TIE Program, I felt more confident with integrating technology in a way that made real change for the students I work with. Besides working with students with special needs to be their best selves, I assisted with creating a one-to-one school in New Hampshire and led efforts to integrate state-of-the-art assessment practices. I am now preparing to shift my focus back into the regular education environment as I prepare a move to Amherst, Massachusetts. I look forward to sharing my experiences with blended learning environments and authentic assessment with a new community.
  • Fondest memory of HGSE: My entire year at HGSE was a life changing experience. I was able to work with the brightest professors like Chris Dede, Stone Wiske, and Dave Dockterman, who continue to influence my teaching and inspirational thinking. In all of their classes I remember the distinct feeling that I was being asked to do more than I felt capable of. It is a very uncomfortable feeling to be presented with a challenge that feels unattainable. Sometimes I met the challenge and sometimes I didn't, but that too is a part of the journey. The year did not lead me to where I imagined I would be, but — as is true with all education — it prepared me better for unpredictable paths.
  • Future plans: Allowing myself to grow into an educator more committed to educational equity and excellence for all communities.
  • If I couldn’t be in education, I would be: A community organizer (which is a teacher by another name).


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