ALISON HARRIS WELCHER is the vice president of school turnarounds and transformation at Public Impact, and serves on the firmwide strategy team. Along with managing the turnaround and school transformation practice, Dr. Harris Welcher helps lead national Opportunity Culture implementation. She works intensively with school and system leaders to build both the culture and systems for sustained excellence for all students and educators. Before joining Public Impact, Dr. Harris Welcher served as a teacher, principal, and director of school leadership for the Project L.I.F.T. zone within North Carolina’s Charlotte-Mecklenburg school district. Her work as a principal leading a middle school transformation was highlighted in “Getting Smart: 100 Schools Worth Visiting” in 2014 and in the book Breakthrough Principals: A Step-by-Step Guide to Building Stronger Schools. Dr. Harris Welcher has coached and developed school leaders and principal supervisors in states across the U.S. and in Nairobi, Kenya. In 2016, she spoke before the U.S. Senate HELP Committee on ESSA legislation. Dr. Harris Welcher received her doctorate in educational leadership from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education, from which she also holds a master’s degree in education focused on risk and prevention in adolescents. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Spelman College, and during her time at Spelman was part of Stanford University’s domestic exchange program on urban education and leadership.
Why I Do This Work: “I began my journey with Public Impact by implementing Opportunity Culture at a middle school in Charlotte, NC to extend the reach of excellent teachers so that all of my scholars could attain a quality educational experience. It is my honor to now expand the reach of excellent educators across the nation. I have seen the power of Opportunity Culture transforming schools, teacher career trajectories, and, most importantly, students’ educational experiences.”