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Ryan Announces Harvard Teacher Fellows Leadership Team

By Jill Anderson on March 11, 2015 10:06 AM
Dean James Ryan announced the appointment of Eric Shed and Stephen Mahoney as director and associate director, respectively, of the Harvard Teacher Fellows (HTF) Program.

Harvard Graduate School of Education Dean James Ryan announced today the appointment of Eric Shed and Stephen Mahoney – both long-term educators with experience teaching and heading teacher preparation education efforts in higher education and K–12 schools – as director and associate director, respectively, of the Harvard Teacher Fellows (HTF) Program. HTF, launching this fall, is an innovative new pathway for Harvard College undergraduates to enter teaching careers. Shed will begin an appointment as a lecturer on June 1. Mahoney will begin an appointment as a lecturer on July 1.

“Eric and Steve will make an outstanding leadership team for HTF. With their deep knowledge of teaching, learning, and schools, as well as their proven leadership abilities and administrative know-how, I am confident they will get HTF off to a strong start. Moreover, they are both passionate and talented individuals who will be terrific new additions to this community,” Ryan said. “I am excited to welcome Eric and Steve and look forward to watching them help to bring HTF and teacher preparation to the forefront of the national conversation on education.”

Shed comes to HGSE from Brown University where he works as a lecturer and as director of history and social studies secondary education. He has extensive experience training teachers in areas focused on pedagogical technique, history and social sciences, students with special needs, and overseeing field placements. As a teacher educator, his work has focused on advising, mentoring, and supervising student teachers, and also encouraging them to use best practices, develop instructional scaffolds to build critical thinking, and managing the needs of many learners.

Prior to his experience as a teacher educator, Shed spent eight years as a high school teacher focusing on history and government in New York City. Shed earned a Ph.D. from Stanford Graduate School of Education, a master’s in education from New York University, and a bachelor’s in history from Wesleyan University.

“I’m extremely excited to be coming to Harvard to tap into and make connections with the robust research and teaching resources that exist at HGSE. I’m also looking forward to working with students eager to learn about teaching. Harvard College students are clearly talented academics with a variety of strengths to take on the challenging yet rewarding task of teaching,” Shed said. “There is tremendous work that needs to be done. For anyone who wants to have a major impact on teacher preparation this is an amazing opportunity. I couldn’t have asked for a better job to make an impact on teacher preparation.”

For the past 10 years, Mahoney has worked as the founding principal of the Springfield Renaissance School – an urban, high poverty middle high school located in Springfield, Mass. During his time there, the school consistently ranked among the highest in test scores, attendance, graduation rates, and lowest dropout rates for the city. The school also boasts a 100 percent college acceptance rate for every graduating senior.

Prior to his time at the Renaissance School, Mahoney spent more than 10 years working as a principal at a range of different schools. He also began his career as a caseworker for at-risk adolescents, and later spent seven years as a teacher focused on courses in history, government, English, and math.

Mahoney earned an Ed.D. in school administration from Boston College, a master’s in education from Stanford University, and a bachelor’s in International Relations from Brown University.

“Having the opportunity to be on the Harvard Teacher Fellows ground floor is a once in a lifetime opportunity to impact the movement to figure out a better way to recruit, develop, and support outstanding young people who choose to see teaching as their path to a good life spent doing good work,” Mahoney said. “I am humbled by the chance to work at a world-class university and with some of the best minds involved in thinking through teaching and learning, and changing the world. While my colleagues and students are saddened to lose their principal and leader they, like me, see the work with HTF as an extension of what we have tried to do at Renaissance -- create and support teaching and learning that levels the playing field and brings the promise of equal opportunity to urban schools.”

HGSE began collecting applications to lead the HTF program in mid-November. Shed and Mahoney were selected by a search committee from 74 applicants following rigorous interviews, and meetings with faculty, students, and staff. Both have a long history of working as educators and teacher educators.

“Eric and Steve emerged at the very top of an extremely strong applicant pool. We are thrilled that they will be leading HTF. Among his many strengths, Eric brings exceptional abilities as a teacher and a teacher educator. He is the ideal person to help us to develop the program and its innovative elements and curriculum,” said Associate Professor Jon Star, who is currently serving as interim director of HTF. “Complementing Eric, Steve has been an extraordinarily successful leader in several urban schools. HTF will require strong, long-term collaborative partnerships with districts and charter networks, and Steve will do a stellar job at cultivating these relationships. The search committee and the faculty were unanimous that Eric and Steve are the perfect team to help HGSE launch this exciting new program.”

Senior Lecturer Katherine Merseth, who directs HGSE’s Teacher Education Program, and also teaches a popular undergraduate course on American education, echoed similar views on the selection of Shed and Mahoney. “I am delighted with the selection of Eric Shed and Stephen Mahoney as leaders of the HTF initiative. Eric brings important experience in teacher education from his work and study at Brown and Stanford. Steve’s knowledge of schools and his experience as a principal make them a powerful team,” she said.  “I am so pleased to see this dream come to reality.”   

Shed and Mahoney will be working closely with Star in the coming months on transitional work.

HTF, designed by HGSE faculty experts in teaching and learning, was created in response to the growing interest in education among Harvard undergraduates. It is in response to the need for more well-prepared teachers by drawing Harvard undergraduates into the teaching profession. HTF will prepare teachers in three distinct ways. It will train students to teach specific subjects, prepare students to be competent teachers through field-based training from their first day on the job, and provide continued resources and supports necessary to enable students to remain in teaching. The first cohort of seniors can apply in Fall 2015 for a Spring 2016 enrollment.