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Summer 2012

Study Break: Amy Loyd, Ed.L.D. Candidate


Program: Doctor of Education Leadership Tool for Change: Reform at the state level Hometown: Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico

Amy Loyd loved her job. As director of education for a tribal nonprofit organization in Anchorage, Ala., where she oversaw teachers, counselors, and family advocates who served more than 1,100 Native American K–12 students, Loyd felt challenged and rewarded every day. And she came to love her adopted state — the people, the beauty, and XTRATUF boots, what she calls "quintessential Alaskan footwear." She wasn't looking to leave, especially after adopting her daughter, at least not to start a regular graduate degree program. But Loyd also realized there were limitations to her learning and leading. "I kept hitting walls that I knew I could tear down or climb over, if only I had the right tools in my toolbox," she says. "I just didn't have the right tools yet."

And then one day, as she was scanning an e-newsletter from the Harvard University Native American Program that she regularly received, she saw her tool: the Ed.L.D. Program. "I immediately knew I wanted — and needed — to be a part of it, so that I could become a more effective leader into the future."

In July 2010, she and her husband sold their house and most of their belongings, packed the Honda CR-V, and with their five-year-old daughter and two elderly dogs, drove 5,000 miles towards that future.

You ended up in Alaska because . . . I'd always wanted to see moose and the northern lights, and I was curious to learn more about Alaska Native cultures.

Better sport during the very long road trip to Cambridge: You
X Your five-year-old daughter: She saw the adventure and beauty in each day. I grumbled about my sciatica and sleeplessness.

You speak: English and Spanish; ancient Greek and French in their written form; a few German phrases (my husband is German). I wish I spoke my native language, Zuñi, or my daughter's native languages, Yup'ik, Iñupiaq, and Gwich'in Athabascan.

Biggest misconception about Alaska: It's always cold and snowy
The capital is Anchorage
It's totally dark for most of the year
X Other: Igloos. We don't live in them, though hunters sometimes build them as temporary shelters.

Biggest adventure: Backcountry hut-to-hut ski trip in February, the coldest month in Alaska. We had to breathe on one another's eyes to defrost them.

You worked this summer at the Department of Education as part of the Ed.L.D. Program. Two differences between Alaska and Washington, D.C.: 1. D.C.'s oppressively hot summer climate.
2. Direct service work versus policy-based work.

Favorite Leader: Frances Perkins
Why? Devoted to social justice, Perkins tackled the most daunting problems of her time and radically restructured society through the New Deal to solve them. Little-known talent: River guide. Growing up in the high desert alongside the Rio Grande, I have a deep reverence for water and a particular love for rivers.

What's next? My year-three residency and my interests are now at the state level in education reform.
Why? We're asking states to do more with less. I see a lot of room for possibility and growth in states' capacities for leading transformation in the sector. States are where the action is, the greatest lever for moving the sector.