Over the course of this year--my second here at Harvard--I’ve had the good fortune to get connected with two outstanding people: Crystel Harris and Akash Wasil. Crystel and Akash have each been helping to build out the ideas for New Teachers Thriving, and so I wanted to be sure to introduce them here.
Crystel is a first year student in the Doctor of Education Leadership Program. Prior to coming to Harvard, Crystel excelled at managing high-stakes projects ranging from the classroom to the central office of The New York City Department of Education. She was a founding teacher at a new middle school, developed New York City’s first teacher residency program, and directed Mayor de Blasio’s initiative to recruit and retain a diverse teacher population for all of New York City. Over her career, Crystel has demonstrated an exceptional ability to lead teams and scale programs in urban communities. She has a profound knowledge of the new-teacher experience and a proven track record of improving teacher quantity and quality. Crystel was involved in the pilot program that we put together in partnership with the Boston Teachers Union and Boston Public Schools, and she is currently helping with all aspects of New Teachers Thriving.
Akash is currently a senior here at Harvard and will be graduating later this month! He spent his time here on campus studying clinical psychology and intervention science. Earlier, he spent time as a college preparedness teacher in New York City. Ever since, he’s studied evidence-based interventions to help students and teachers. Through his work with the Weisz Lab for Youth Mental Health here at Harvard, Akash designed interventions rooted in empirically-supported principles. Last summer, he worked with Kenyan students to design and implement a four-week stress reduction program in their high schools. Akash is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, and will be attending a PhD program in Clinical Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania this fall to work with Dr. Rob DeRubeis and Dr. Angela Duckworth. Akash and I are working together to make sure that every aspect of the work that we do with teachers is grounded in the most cutting-edge research related to well-being and resilience.
I feel so fortunate to work with these two outstanding individuals!