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Winter 2020


100 Reasons to Love the Ed School: A Special Centennial Issue

#22: Because We Reminisce

In the fall, we reached out to alumni from across the years and asked them to send us their memories of HGSE and their time on Appian Way. We hope these memories make you laugh, make you remember (fondly), and maybe even make you reach out to a former classmate or faculty member to reconnect!

Interested in adding your own memory? Go to the Voices of Appian Way to learn how you can submit a memory on social media.


It was the fall of 1968. As part of my doctoral training to become a psychologist, I had just completed my clinical and community psychology internship at what then was called the Cambridge Child Guidance Center. I told my adviser, Freda Rebelsky, that I had not expected to work in the future with youth, but was surprised to fnd this work very exciting and challenging, and I’d like to learn more about child development, both empirically and theoretically. She said to me, “There is a new professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education who has just come to town from the University of Chicago, where he was a member of that university’s Committee on Human Development. His name is Lawrence Kohlberg, and like you, he was once going to be a clinical child psychologist. But when he learned about the ‘genetic epistemology’ work of Jean Piaget, he decided to focus on research, applying Piaget’s theories to moral development. He is holding an inter-university seminar in Larsen Hall. Why don’t you tag along? Maybe you will fnd an interesting idea or two you can develop into a dissertation.”


I studied children’s television with Sam Gibbon, executive producer of The Electric Company. I was in one of his classes with a German man who taught languages by using music. To this day, I can see this classmate telling us the story of his escape to West Berlin. He hid in a truck of cabbages. When the East German guard at the Berlin Wall border crossing stuck his bayonet in to the back of the truck, fortunately he missed my classmate, Uwe Kind! Thus a great spirit was saved.


At the start of the 2013 spring semester, I had to bring my younger son to HGSE with me for a day of classes. Jackson was 13 and less than thrilled to tag along, until the promise of crispy tater tots in the Gutman Cafe convinced him otherwise. I still have the photo of him with one of the widest smiles I had ever seen in front of his small box of potato treats. It was right there and then he announced his intent to apply to Harvard, although not for its academic standing. “These” he said, “are the best tater tots I’ve ever had!”


In 2004, I appeared on Who Wants to be a Millionaire, which aired during Julie Reuben’s history course. (I was a teaching fellow.) Professor Reuben graciously ended class early so the class could watch it together; our librarian, John Collins, tuned the Gutman TV to the channel. During the show, I had to “ask the audience” about the favor of Red Hots candy. As that question aired, John emerged from his offce…with a bowl of Red Hots. (In case you were wondering, I did in fact do well — $50,000!)


As a new part-time student in the doctoral program, while working fulltime as HGSE’s director of Career Services, I wanted to take three courses my frst semester but was concerned that it might be challenging. My adviser, Terry Tivnan, urged me to go ahead and do it. ‘It’s just three months out of your life,’ he said. And so I successfully did and have applied that helpful mantra each time I’ve faced an overload.


Toward the end of my education policy program, I took a short course on young adult literature. After a year of laws, theories, and statistics, the course reminded me, through incredible stories and discussion with my peers, of the most important goal of education: to discover the world and our place within it. HGSE never let me lose track of the bigger picture.


In 2010, Professor Monica Higgins was awarded tenure. Her breakfast club research group decided to celebrate by flling her entire offce with balloons. We had to do this after hours, which, of course, meant that my daughter had to come with me. Can you imagine being three, watching a room fll up with balloons way over your head? Can you imagine being Monica trying to open your offce door the next morning? Can you imagine how much fun we had?


I wanted to do something for Black History Month but had no idea what to do. I went to Harvard’s Department of African and African American Studies in hopes of getting guidance. I had the opportunity to speak with Ewart Guinier, who informed me that he and [Boston artist] Allan Crite had been friends since high school. Guinier gave me Allan Crite’s phone number. I called Allan Crite and arranged to visit his home on Columbus Ave in Boston. Walking into his home was like walking into a museum! There was fabulous artwork on all the walls. He showed me his sketchbooks from childhood. He had me sign his guest-book. Allan Crite allowed me to look through his artwork. What I found most interesting was his work that featured trees as the theme. I selected several pieces of art that were placed on exhibit in Gutman Library. As a part of the Black History Month celebration, we had a reception in Allan Crite’s honor.


The best memory was seeing the thick FedEx admissions packet on my doorstep. I think my heart stopped for a moment and blood drained from my face. I felt euphoric, then lightheaded, then nervous that this packet couldn’t really be meant for me. I didn’t tell many people I was even applying because it felt like a pipe-dream. As reality set in, doubt began to fll my mind. As an immigrant, a woman, and public school educated, would I ft in? Would I be able to compete? Would my voice and opinion be taken seriously? I juggled multiple jobs as a student and took out student loans, which took 15 years to pay off. That investment was worth it. Having that experience, access, and credential is a privilege I don’t take for granted.


In the middle of my HGSE graduation ceremony, I got a very important call from the Gift of Life Marrow Registry. After walking across the stage and taking just a moment to hug my family, I anxiously returned the call to learn that I had matched as a donor for a 54-yearold man suffering from severe aplastic anemia. Two of the best moments of my life happened literally back to back: getting my master’s degree and learning my cells could save a stranger’s life. More than a year later, I was fnally able to meet my recipient, Michael. It turns out he’s also an education advocate, a scoutmaster, the loving spouse of a kindergarten teacher, and a father of two.


My favorite memory was my awesome study group for HT100. We found each other randomly on orientation day and formed an instant bond. We were very different and we used those differences to support each other and make each other laugh. We are lifelong friends more than 10 years later.


My favorite class was 21st Century Demographic Transformation: Opportunities and Implications for U.S. Schools taught by Susan Eaton. I loved exploring case studies of towns in America experiencing demographic change and posing creative solutions to unite diverse groups and resolve conficts. I found the movement toward bilingual schools in Utah particularly compelling. A class like this is so relevant in our current political climate.


My favorite memory from my time at HGSE is the warm welcome and embrace of the Ed School community. From my frst steps entering Gutman, to the various meetings at Larsen, to the plenaries in Longfellow, the people and the environment of Hugsy always made me feel welcome and at home. The consistency of kindness shown by everyone was nothing short of magical. And this even spilled over to the streets 'round the corner with the self-donate book-stand. With a grateful heart, I know I’ll always fnd a home at Appian Way.

MAX KLAU, ED.M.’00, ED.D.’05

I remember going to a “Welcome New Students” party in the basement of Gutman in the frst week. I remember connecting with all the other new students who had lived such fascinating lives and thinking to myself, “Enrolling in this program was a great choice!”


My favorite memory was serving on the HGSE Colloquium Board and inviting my faculty-mentor, Professor Francisco Jiménez, from Santa Clara University, where I completed my B.A., to speak at the HGSE. Equally important, it was a meeting of two of my most signifcant mentors in higher education, Professors Jiménez and Charles Vert Willie. Subsequently, as an admissions offcer at Santa Clara, I invited Professor Willie to keynote a mentoring symposium that I created around one of his visits for a conference in San Francisco.


My frst day at HGSE was as an expectant, eager, and completely intimidated student. In her faculty welcome address that morning, Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot admonished us, with kindness but also urgency, to fnd time each week to “dance in the leaves” — metaphorically, to live our lives fully through playful moments that would nourish our humanity as well as our minds. I have extended Sara’s advice to my students over the years as the frst “true” thing I ever learned at HGSE.


I have so many HGSE memories! My more recent memory is with Professors Bob Peterkin and Maree Sneed. Even though Bob is retired, he still supports his Urban Superintendent Program students when they are superintendents. Bob came out to consult with us in Santa Fe. After an evening dinner, Bob got a bloody nose that wouldn’t stop bleeding. So Maree and I took Bob to the emergency room. We waited hours for the doctors to see him and meanwhile froze in the emergency room as we waited. We kept asking for blankets for the three of us. We still laugh about it to this day! Never in a million years did I think I’d end up in the emergency room with my HGSE professors begging for hospital blankets. Nothing like the USP family!


I have a memory of talking with former Deans Pat Graham and Jerry Murphy about Pat’s frst address to the faculty. The stakes seemed incredibly high! This was early in the fall just after Pat had been named dean and Jerry as academic dean. I was serving as Pat’s assistant while I was fnishing up my thesis. I recall conversations about a faculty retreat and I was extremely enthusiastic about getting the entire senior faculty on a boat and taking them on a cruise or to an island in Boston Harbor to discuss the future of HGSE. While I was expanding on what a cool idea this would be, I could detect some wariness on Jerry’s part. They obviously thought this was too much and too risky when Jerry fnally said to me, “Some faculty might just miss the boat!” I knew then that dealing with senior faculty was above my pay grade.


My favorite memory is getting engaged in the Radcliffe Sunken Garden. My sweet husband walked into Gutman where two friends and I were rushing through a project for Jed Lippard’s class on charter school policy. We were way over our meeting time, so he sat there patiently. We fnally left and he steered me into the Sunken Garden and proposed because he knew I loved that space so much! It turns out the other women knew it was about to happen and were in the bushes taking pictures!


In 1993, I took a class titled Schools and the Law, led by Professor Jay Heubert, Ed.D.’82. He taught us how to use the law to promote education reform and improve student achievement. Specifcally, he emphasized that, by law, all students and staff have a sacred right to attend schools that are safe, secure, and successful. After graduating from Harvard, I used his teachings to prevent school violence and improve student achievement throughout America.


My advisor at HGSE was the late Chester Pierce. He was the kindest gentleman who took me under his wing and shared stories about his career and life that I will always remember. I knew I could go to him during offce hours just to talk and listen to his wisdom. He told me one day, “If you come to Harvard and only visit the library in your college, you would have wasted your experience. Venture out and explore the many libraries at this university.” His advice led me to discover nooks and crannies around campus that opened up a whole new world to me. Chet taught me the importance of connecting, building relationships, listening, and mentoring. That one connection on Appian Way helped to mold me into the educator I have become.


I remember how I felt when Dean Pat Graham spoke to the entering class of 1985 and said, as I recall, “You all belong here.” Every time I think about HGSE, I am reminded of the responsibility embedded in her remarks. I also remember moments with Carol Weiss, who taught me the difference between measuring and knowing how you’ve made a difference.


Our cohort arranged a two-day IEP retreat at Harvard Forest. We learned more about our classmates and just plain enjoyed each other’s company. At the end of the weekend, we each had a piece of paper with our name at the top. Our classmates silently walked around the room, leaving anonymous notes meant to inspire and encourage the person on the page. I still have mine and look at it if I feel like I’m having a rough time personally and professionally.


Learning to view human development through a crosscultural lens transformed my thinking, research, and teaching of human development to undergraduate and graduate students. From Beatrice Whiting, Robert LeVine, Jerome Kagan, and Catherine Snow’s excellent crosscultural courses and research, my theoretical understanding of child development was broadened beyond U.S.-centric and Western perspectives. The learning was so exciting I wanted to be a graduate student at Appian Way for the rest of my life.


For 13 weeks, I dragged myself to the Higher Education and the Law course, which I found just utterly boring. At week 14, it was time to study for the dreaded fnal. A few of us got together and decided to divide and conquer all the course content. After we wrote summaries of all the reading and case law, somehow it all clicked and I loved this course, highlighting for me that learning is more fun and effective with other people.


As a frst-year doctoral student in 1976, I hoped that HGSE’s renowned anthropologists could help me understand the culture of the high school I’d just left. They did, and, smitten by their introductory course, I asked Beatrice Whiting if I could contribute to her current research. To my surprise, she said yes. That was the frst of many rich collaborative research opportunities I’ve had at HGSE, where students learn from faculty and faculty learn from students.


For many years I had a dual role: HGSE lecturer and elementary classroom co-teacher. I used my Harvard research to inform my school practice, and I brought my “real” world experience in schools back to Harvard. This boundary-spanning position gave me enormous credibility with my Harvard students, modeled a new professional role for them, and demonstrated that university professors can also teach kids! It was value-added for both sides!


My greatest memories at HGSE have to do with the kind of community I was able to build for myself while I was there. Whether it was sitting silently across from a friend at Gut-man Library while we wrote papers about our personal stories and our theories of learning, the team meetings at the top of Larsen where we scribbled on the whiteboard for hours preparing for Workplace Lab, or the consistent “Thirsty Thursday” drinks at the Sinclair, I took away from HGSE more than just learning; I took lifelong friendships and colleagues.


On a September afternoon in 1964, I found myself chatting with a classmate, an African American named Charles Smith, who had worked in Cameroon and Germany. As a young white teacher, I wanted to help students overcome poverty and language barriers. We both did. So began a 55-year friendship, extending to our families, that lasted until Chuck’s death in August and perhaps made the world a little better. Thanks, HGSE.


At year’s end, the seventh cohort of the Ed.L.D. program got together on the second foor of Larsen to celebrate and say goodbye. We were looking for a photographer and ran into the hallway to see who was around. A few minutes later, in comes none other than Howard Gardner. With a little iPhone tutorial, he was able to leave us with a very memorable photo and fnal moment of the year.


Many of my fondest memories took place in Gutman Library. No matter how my day was going, I knew I would always be greeted by a friendly smile from Maribel, who was on the custodial staff, once I walked through those doors and I could always count on my friends and the security team for laughs.


I had the great pleasure of hearing lectures by Jerome Bruner, who also showed flms of his research studies. He was an inspiring teacher who brought a breath of fresh air to social studies curricula in the late 1960s. My studies were split between HGSE and romance languages; I was part of a graduate seminar in French literature, which boosted my confdence that I might someday go for a Ph.D. — which I did, a few years later.


ooking back to the mid-1960s, the highlight was working with David Riesman, author of The Lonely Crowd, who gave me my only Harvard A+. He continued to be helpful during my 31 years as a community college president. Not a highlight: having to memorize Herold Hunt’s POSDCORB (planning, organizing, staffng, directing, coordinating, reporting and budgeting), which,
54 years later, I still don’t get.


Our USP cohort dinner with the Elmores. It was such a fun evening. They were so hospitable and kind. Pulling all-nighters to prep for Maree Snead’s law class where “no sloppy thinking” was allowed. I still use that phrase to this day. USP feld trips with Bob and Deborah where we had opportunities to learn from superintendents in the feld.


Coming to Boston from Australia meant that I got to experience a lot of New England for the frst time. Apple picking, pumpkin carving, turkey and squirrel watching, and a white Christmas. One of my fondest memories is launching my second Gusto & Gecko picture book at the Ed School with Elli, my illustrator from Sweden, surrounded by supportive friends and faculty. For many, it would have been just another lunchtime event (because there were never a shortage of events at the school) but for me, it was a wonderful moment and a highlight of my time at HGSE.


I remember the Gutman elevator. It was so slow that people started gathering for it to arrive. While we waited, we talked, but as soon as the elevator arrived, everybody was silent. And once inside the elevator, none of us said a word.


My favorite memory from my time at HGSE is of the good times with my coursemates and professors in and out of class. A group of us became close friends through the numerous discussions at Gutman library and Askwith Forums, and we continued our conversations at the various eateries at Harvard Square. We had wonderful professors who would take time to chat with us and answer our questions along the corridors of Longfellow and beyond.

AUL NASH, ED.D.’59 (from a short essay in the 1970-71 Bulletin)

In my second year, in my capacity as president of the Student Association, I had to discover who really ran the school of education. It turned out to be a diminutive, white-haired lady called Miss Christine Gill. Whenever I had a problem or question or request, I came to learn that the most effective way to move to the stage of action was to go see Miss Gill in her incredibly crowded and chaotic little office. Amidst a score of other tasks, she would gently and patiently turn her attention to me, immediately pinpoint the center of my problem, turn to her desk, piled high with disorder and ruin, scrabble among the mess for a few moments, and miraculously come up with one of her little slips of yellow paper on which by chance she had just scribbled a couple of days ago the name or telephone number I needed. It was clear that she had been at Harvard since 1636 and that she carried the entire personal and corporate history of the school of education in her head.


My fondest memory was working as a tri-chair for the 16th Alumni of Color Conference (AOCC). I rarely see Filipinx Americans assume leadership in broader People of Color spaces, so it was an honor and a moment of radical imagination. I was a cultural broker between HGSE students, faculty, staff, administration, external stakeholders, and more. I piloted the inaugural AOCC youth fellows, an internship for high school youth to help design and lead the conference. (Go Ny’lasia and Carolina!) It’s a joy to give back to a space that recognizes who you are in your most unapologetic and authentic skin!


One of our final lectures in the higher ed program was by the legend Henry Rosovsky. With clarity and precision he made a case for the power of sustained, deep learning of one particular subject over simply making light-touch surface connections between many areas of knowledge. I think about that lecture a lot. It’s tempting in today’s world to take the sound bite and run with it, to skim the surface of a topic and believe we’re informed about it. However, as educators we should instead be asking: What else is there to know? How can I probe deeper to really understand what’s happening?


One of the biggest impacts HGSE had on my career was being able to use the Harvard name as a magic wand with credibility to inspire other first-generation, low-income, underrepresented students to consider Harvard and other highly selective institutions as options for college, graduate, and professional schools. I also loved that I could direct my HGSE "recruits" to my longtime mentor, Professor Charles Vert Willie. and he gave them a Texas-size welcome. I was an academic counselor at a Northern California community college for almost 25 years before retiring. We were able to prepare many students to dream about and enroll in careers and programs previously unimaginable, some at our most prestigious universities. That was at The College of San Mateo, the Extended Opportunities Programs and Services (EOPS) specifically, my other alma mater where my academic counselor/mentor Adrian Orozco sparked my career path and dream to return to work alongside him providing a space where students experienced diversity, inclusion, and belonging — a foundation that served to help catapult the next generation into meaningful lives of service. Dreams do come true!


The TIE Program allowed me to explore the burgeoning world of interactive media for children with Senior Lecturer Joe Blatt, Ed.M.’77, providing a framework for thoughtful design and evaluation of educational television, games, and multimedia. After graduation, I worked at a local PBS station, creating videos for the “AV cart” that K-12 teachers would use as a teaching aid in their classrooms. While filming master teachers for a series on best practices for teaching reading, I became inspired by the power of nursery rhymes to boost early literacy. As I started my own family, there was almost no one using rhymes in traditional media, which led me and my husband, Harry Jho, to take a leap and produce our first episodes of Mother Goose Club. Since 2007, these song-videos have gained a global following through YouTube and other digital platforms. My passion for enriching educational experiences for children started at an early age — I’ve always loved children’s music, learning about how children learn and teaching. Now, I’m proud to say our company’s mission at Sockeye Media is to bring “preschool to the world” and inspire joyful learning. We deliver by creating engaging educational content and advocating for quality media experiences for families. I recently attended a workshop hosted by the FTC to discuss the future of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) where Harry was a panelist representing digital creators. Even in the face of the new uncertainties of this digital era, I am, as a parent and creator, excited about the opportunity to advocate for children learning nursery rhymes everywhere.

Read longer essays written by alumni: A to B – Why They Got into Education.
Explore HGSE's Centennial website, a central resource for events, stories, ways to get involved, and more.