Title and Organization:
Heather Harding's professional career has spanned classroom teaching, professional development, non-profit management, and empirical research. Prior to joining the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as a senior program officer, she was the first executive director of EdCORE (The Education Consortium for Research and Evaluation) at George Washington University, where she was responsible for launching the new education research consortium focused on improving outcomes for DC’s public school students. Having begun her career as a Teach For America corps member in rural North Carolina, she served as executive director of the eastern North Carolina TFA region in the mid-nineties. She returned to the organization in 2008 to lead the National Research Partnerships team at TFA where she increased the volume of independent research on the program’s impact, built new alliances with the teacher education community, and developed systems for communicating impact and equipping staff with accurate research evidence. From there, Heather became the senior vice president of Community Partnerships at Teach For America where she oversaw the organization’s partnership work in the areas of policy, research, community engagement, and special initiatives in early childhood education and STEM. Throughout her career, Heather has held numerous practitioner roles in organizations including the Boston Plan for Excellence, Citizen Schools, the Annenberg Institute for School Reform, and KIPP. She earned her master's and doctoral degrees in education policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where her dissertation documented the work of four successful White urban middle school teachers. A trained journalist, Heather attended the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and retains her love of investigative research and artful writing. She lives and works in Washington, DC with her two school-age children. She is a Fellow of the 20th class of the Pahara-Aspen Education Fellowship and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.