2019 Teacher of the Year:
Kelly Harper is a 3rd grade educator who believes that education is a powerful tool for dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline and a transformative tool for combating injustice. Her students engage in culturally relevant lessons, and she embeds social-emotional learning to support her students’ learning journeys.
Harper is completing her seventh year as an educator and began her education career as a Teach For America corps member in Houston, Texas. Harper led her students to significant gains and was the 2014 Sue Lehmann Excellence in Teaching Award Houston Finalist and National Nominee.
Desiring to return to her native Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, Harper began teaching at Amidon-Bowen Elementary School in the DC Public Schools (DCPS) in 2014. Harper has served as a teacher-coach for 3rd-5th grade reading teachers at Amidon-Bowen, professional development trainer for teachers across DCPS for English Language Arts (ELA), and written ELA Curriculum for DCPS. She currently is on her school’s Flamboyan Foundation Family Engagement Leadership Team and is a facilitator for DCPS’ Family Engagement Collaborative. Passionate about advocating for her students and her colleagues, Harper has served on the 2016-2017 DCPS Chancellor’s Teachers’ Cabinet and was a 2014 TeachPlus D.C. Federal Policy Fellow. Harper earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Spelman College and a master’s in in education with a concentration in educational leadership from the Johns Hopkins University School of Education.