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This is what happens when we – educators and educational leaders – believe in kids and in folks who want to make a difference in the lives of kids. The quote is from one of Harvard University’s newly minted doctors after successfully defending her dissertation yesterday. Below is the introduction of an article/post from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education leading up to this time of year when its doctoral candidates begin defending their work, the last step to earning the title “doctor.” Following the introduction is the dissertation topic for Studer Education Research Fellow (and now doctor) Melissa Matarazzo.

MMdoc3Dr. Matarazzo shared a bit of her dissertation defense day experience with our team:

… I commented to someone today that, as a farm kid who was only destined to farm, I never even knew what an advanced degree was. Education taught me what it meant to improve myself, and what titles I would need to make a difference for the learning of others. With you, I’m getting to influence what farm, city, suburb, and other kids need, because folks like you believed in me….

Powerful message. Share it with every student, every teacher, every leader that you know. Let them know you believe in them. Connect them to purpose. Let them know they are destined to be great and to do great things.




Harvard Graduate School of Education Headlines retrieved 4.17.2014 online from: http://www.gse.harvard.edu/news-impact/2014/04/ed-d-and-ed-l-d-candidates-present-dissertation-defenses/.

MatarazzoDr. Melissa Matarrazo’s profile from the Harvard Graduate School of Education as a member of the 20th cohort of the Urban Superintendent’s Program: Melissa began her careers as a middle school teacher and assistant principal in Derry, New Hampshire. Following her completion of the EdM in School Leadership at HGSE, Melissa became the principal of the J. Henry Higgins Middle School, in Peabody, Massachusetts, the state’s largest middle school. Melissa also instructed graduate students in an administrative cohort through the American International College of Springfield, MA. and led groups at HGSE’s “Art of Leadership” summer institutes. Melissa has developed a deep curiosity about effective professional development for teachers and significant dedication to the importance of high expectations for all students. Education: B.A. in History, Brown University. Ed.M. in School Leadership, HGSE. Available online here. Dr. Matarazzo is a Research Fellow at Studer Education. Prior to joining Studer Education, Dr. Matarazzo served as the Executive Director for Achievement and Accountability in the Charleston County (SC) School District. She has served as a supervisor of teacher interns at the College of Charleston, SC and an adjunct instructor at American International College in Springfield, MA. Follow Melissa on Twitter at @LrngLdr.

Our mission at Studer Education is to provide students with a great place to learn, teachers with a great place to teach, and parents with confidence that their children are getting a great education. Visit us online at http://studereducation.com. Studer Education is a division of Studer Group, ranked for the sixth straight year on the Best Small and Medium Workplaces by Great Place to Work® and a recipient of the 2010 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.