In May 2013, 744 graduates walked down Appian Way to close their chapter at HGSE. Civil rights leader James Meredith addressed the graduates at Convocation, and Kathleen McCartney led her last Commencement as dean of HGSE, a position she had held since 2006. In her speech, she shared one last piece of advice: “Challenge is a universal life experience. All of you will encounter moments in your careers that feel like loss, difficulty, or struggle. But each of us decides the way forward.”
With Commencement 2018 on the horizon, we’ve reconnected with several of the 2013 winners of the Intellectual Contribution/Faculty Tribute Award (now the Intellectual Contribution Award), to learn where their lives and careers have taken them since leaving Appian Way.
Arts in Education
Current Location: Viroqua, Wisconsin
Current Job: Faculty chair at Youth Initiative High School
Career Highlight: Leading professional development here in United States and in Latin America.
Fondest memory of HGSE: Arts First Festival; Arts in Education Talent Shows; speaking with my mentor, Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot.
Future plans: Summer time with my three children and wife! Maybe write a book about youth taking initiative.
If I weren't in education, I would be: A dancer.
Education Policy and Management
Current Location: Washington, D.C.
Current Job: Assistant principal at Washington Latin Public Charter School, a 5–12 charter school
Career Highlight: At the start of my career, I was a teacher in St. Louis (Missouri) Public Schools. At the time, my middle school students would have matriculated into high schools that were dropout factories. As a first-generation college graduate myself, I was mortified of the idea that my students had worked so hard in my class, and yet they were marching forward into a system that would fail them in so many ways. I co-founded a nonprofit called inspireSTL to help students from across St. Louis apply and matriculate to the top schools in the area — magnet, private, or parochial. Three years ago, I went back to St. Louis and attended eight graduations, and have seen those students excel in college. They have earned distinguished scholarships, are leaders of Black Student Unions and student governments, and have been selected for prestigious internships. Even though I'm only 31, I have been able to watch my former students live the motto we had in our class: "Define Excellence." I challenged them to set a bar for excellence that others could aspire to — and they've done a brilliant job!
Future plans: I would like to be a school leader! I'm also hoping to go back to school in pursuit of a doctorate degree.
If I weren't in education, I would be: A doctor.
Human Development and Psychology
Current Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Current Job: Teaching third grade at Saratoga Shores Elementary.
Career Highlight: My highlights come every day as I am reminded that I teach kids because they give me so much in return. The students continue to make me laugh and love in ways that many others can't. I've learned that my career is in the classroom and I wouldn't want it anywhere else.
Future plans: My plans are to stay in the classroom for the next 10 years and then retire. From there the world is my oyster! Maybe open a school. Maybe teach in another part of the world. Maybe teach and inspire other educators. Maybe do some action research in the field of education.
If I weren't in education, I would be: I would be scrambling to make a living as a singer/dancer in New York or LA.
International Education Policy
Current City: Houston
Current Job: Partner in Montessori Preschool, a network of boutique, teacher-owned Montessori Preschools, headquartered in Houston, that believes in investing in an early education with a global outlook the Montessori way.
Career Highlight: After leaving HGSE, I was invited to develop The Smartest Investment — an initiative by the UN Global Compact, UNICEF, UNESCO, and the Office of the UN Special Envoy for Global Education. The project resulted in a guide that helps companies create a business case for investing in education in a responsible way, as well as an opportunity to work with business leaders through the Global Business Coalition for Education. It had been a childhood dream to work with the United Nations, and I learned that the business community must play a visible role in financing, supporting, and shaping global education efforts around the world.
Future plans: My plan is to create a global company that supports the development of high-quality preschools and teacher training programs, led by trained Montessori teachers. I hope our company can evolve into a global platform in support of early education efforts worldwide — especially in the growing movement to make Montessori education a mainstream option.
If I weren’t in education I would be: An architect. My experiences at HGSE's Project Zero taught me the role of design in learning environments. I would love to work alongside fellow architects and designers as they shape environments for people to interact, learn, and discover themselves.
Sedia (Dennis) Bayard
Learning and Teaching
Current Location: Washington State
Current Job: Humanities teacher at an independent school in Washington State; in March 2018, welcomed third child, Keaton Orion Bayard
Career Highlight: Linking my professional expertise and experience with family life by co-producing a children’s music album, Wishing Well, with my husband Nick and our oldest son Ukweli, and applying my knowledge of educational neuroscience to teach my toddler daughter Piper, to read.
Fondest memory of HGSE: Meeting and becoming friends with so many incredible and inspiring people — including my future husband — and watching Oprah Winfrey give the commencement address.
Future plans: Continuing to practice intentional, mindful teaching and educational leadership.
Mind, Brain, and Education
Current city: Kingston, New Hampshire
Current job: I went right from the MBE Program into the doctoral program at HGSE, so my primary job has been “student.” However, I have also been doing some research contract work, offering teacher professional development sessions, and this year have been an adjunct teacher educator at the University of New Hampshire.
Career highlight: I have just finished and defended my dissertation, so I’ll be walking again this year — just in fancier regalia.
Future plans: Teacher preparation. I enjoy doing research, but I am first and foremost a teacher, and I have taken great joy in helping others develop as teachers.
If I weren't in education, I would be: Retired! I just can’t imagine not being in education. Even when I worked other jobs (I was in the animal field before becoming a teacher), I always approached it as a chance to teach.
School Leadership Program
Current Location: Los Angeles
Current job: Co-founder of STEMulate Learning, LLC, an educational consulting company focusing on K–12 math with an emphasis on cultural competence, growth mindset, and social-emotional learning. Our motto is "STEM Begins with M."
Career highlight: Being an ambassador for HGSE here in Los Angeles, I spoke to a young Latina who was interested in attending HGSE. She didn't believe she was qualified, even though she attended UCLA as an undergraduate like me. After an hour-long conversation encouraging her to apply, she applied and was accepted! She graduated with her Ed.M. from HGSE, realizing the dream of four generations of Guatemalan women. Now there is one more person of color to inspire, motivate, and encourage people to attend the best university in the country!
Future plans: After achieving my goal of teaching math to a million students per month (by training teachers how to effectively teach math to students of color), I will return to my original HGSE goal of starting a charter school for boys of color around math, business, and the arts.
If I weren't in education, I would be: A stand-up comedian who does motivational speaking, or a motivational speaker who does stand-up comedy.
Teacher Education Program
Current Location: Charlotte, North Carolina
Current Job: Founding executive director of Carolina Youth Coalition, a college-access nonprofit organization that prepares high-achieving, under-resourced high school students to get into, excel at, and graduate from college so they can become full participants in society. We just launched the organization in Charlotte in January 2018 but the mission and model we will use is inspired by the Baton Rouge Youth Coalition, whom I previously worked for in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Career Highlight: In 2015, I left the classroom to join the Baton Rouge Youth Coalition and it was one of the best decisions I've made so far. I had the opportunity to not only work alongside some really dedicated co-workers and work with some extremely talented and driven students. Through my work there, I got to combine my passions for working with youth, college-access, and social justice all while building some incredible relationships that I still cherish to this day.
Future Plans: Getting Carolina Youth Coalition off the ground. We are currently in the process of staffing and will soon be recruiting our first cohort of 40 high school Fellows for this upcoming school year! Oh and I'm getting married on May 27th! (Plans, what plans?)
If I weren't in education, I would be: On the PGA Tour — but since Tiger Woods is back now, I'll stick to my day job.
In memory of Daniel Follmer, Ed.M.’13.