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HGSE Welcomes New Faculty Members

Six new faculty members include innovators in African American youth studies, executive leadership, school counseling, and early childhood education

The Harvard Graduate School of Education is pleased to announce the appointments of six new members to its faculty: Frank Barnes, Liao Cheng, Liya Escalera, Shawn Ginwright, Huan-Tang Lu, and Louisa Penfold.

Frank Barnes

Frank Barnes, Ed.M.’95, Ed.M.’07, Ed.D.’15, has been appointed senior lecturer and faculty director of the Doctor of Education Leadership (Ed.L.D.) Program. With decades of experience in urban school district leadership and research positions, Barnes brings a wealth of executive knowledge and leadership to his role. As chief accountability officer for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in North Carolina, Barnes oversaw the collection and analysis of school and student performance for 147,000 students over 180 schools for more than a decade. Barnes also served in a number of roles in Boston Public Schools, including as chief accountability officer, special assistant to the superintendent, and teacher. He has also served as a board member on a number of organizations, including as a founding member of the Charlotte chapter of My Brother’s Keeper and the Charlotte Regional Data Trust at the University of North Carolina.  

Liao Cheng

Liao Cheng, Ed.M.’12, Ph.D.’20, has been appointed as lecturer on education after serving as an adjunct lecturer since 2022. Interested in understanding human development across cultures and its implications for education, Cheng’s research has been published in journals in psychology and education, including International Journal of Behavioral Development, Advances in Child Development and Behavior, and Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology. She has published books on the intersection of education, psychology, and philosophy in China, including What Should I Do? Facing the Inescapable Questions in Life (2022), On Dao (2021), and Something on Your Mind: An In-depth Analysis of Zen Cases (2014). She has earned several teaching awards, including the Goethals Teaching Award at Harvard College in 2018 and 2019. 

Liya Escalera

Liya Escalera, Ed.M.’09, will join HGSE as a lecturer on education effective January 1, 2024. Currently serving as the vice provost for student equity, access, and success at the University of Massachusetts Boston, Escalera brings a vast knowledge and expertise in navigating shared governance, strategic planning, and resource development — especially in open access public institutions of higher education. From 2011 to 2020, she held a variety of roles at Bunker Hill Community College, including dean of behavioral, social sciences, and global learning, and associate dean of academic affairs. Previously, she worked at Fisher College, directing the college’s First Year Experience Program. Escalera will teach Higher Education Concentration students on campus as well as online Master’s in Education Leadership students, joining her previous work teaching at the Institute for Management and Leadership in Education at HGSE.  

Shawn Ginwright

Shawn Ginwright was previously announced as the Jerome T. Murphy Professor of Practice. A leading innovator and scholar of African American youth, youth activism, and youth development, Ginwright brings more than 25 years of experience working with communities of color. A leading voice at the intersection of youth development, racial equity and civic engagement, Ginwright’s research was among the first to show how Black youth in historically marginalized communities can engage in civic organizing and become civic innovators and producers. His theories and concepts include the framework for CARMA (Culture, Agency, Relationships, Meaning, and Achievement), which offers a unifying vision of how to support the development of young people of color. Ginwright is the author of a number of books and scholarly works, including including Hope and Healing in Urban Education: How Activists and Teachers Are Reclaiming Matters of the Heart; Black Youth Rising: Activism and Radical Healing in Urban America; and The Four Pivots: Reimagining Justice, Reimagining Ourselves. He is founder and CEO of Flourish Agenda, a national nonprofit that equips schools, youth-serving organizations, foundations, and local governments with tools and strategies that empower young people of color and allow them to flourish as leaders in their schools and communities. 

Huan-Tang Lu

Huan-Tang Lu has joined HGSE as a lecturer on education. Bringing experience in clinical counseling, psychological assessment, and school-based practices to the Counseling and Mental Health Strand, Lu has deep experience working with ELL students, undocumented students and migrant families. Previously an assistant professor at Rowan University, he also works as a school-based therapist, in-community therapist, and counselor-in-residence. In 2019, he won the Emerging Leader Award from the Association of Counselor Education, recognizing talented and dedicated leaders committed to the advancement of counselor education. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Lu co-founded a telehealth counseling training clinic at Rowan so interns could provide social-emotional learning services to K–12 school students, teachers, and parents in a time of deep educational crisis. 

Louisa Penfold

Louisa Penfold has been named a lecturer on education at HGSE, promoted from annual lecturer. The co-chair of Arts and Learning Concentration, her research and practice focus on contemporary art, early childhood education, and play-based learning across schools, museums, and public spaces. Prior to joining HGSE faculty, Penfold undertook a collaborative doctoral award studying the design of children’s play spaces in modern art museums. Run as a partnership between Tate and the University of Nottingham (UK), this 4-year action research study explored how young children’s learning can be integrated into art museum curatorial practices. From 2020–22 Penfold worked with Professor Catherine Snow as a postdoctoral researcher at HGSE on the Boston Universal Pre-K study, researching the roll-out of 4-year-old preschool education across community-based settings. Penfold runs Art. Play. Children. Learning., a blog for parents on cultivating children’s creativity through modern and contemporary art. Her writing can also be found in various publications, and she has been awarded fellowships and grants from the Smithsonian Institute, the Ian Potter Foundation, and Graduate Women of Queensland Fellowship Fund.


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