Ed School’s Rob Watson selected as 2024 Presidential Leadership Scholar

Rob Watson.

Rob Watson will join the ninth class of scholars.

3 min read

Rob Watson, deputy director of The EdRedesign Lab at Harvard Graduate School of Education is one of 60 scholars who will form the Presidential Leadership Scholars’ (PLS) ninth class. For nearly a decade, PLS has served as a catalyst for a diverse network of leaders brought together to collaborate and create meaningful change in the U.S. and around the world as they learn about leadership through the lens of the presidential experiences of George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Lyndon B. Johnson and their administrations.

The class was selected after a rigorous application and review process. Scholars were chosen based on their leadership growth potential and the strength of their personal leadership projects aimed at improving civic engagement or social good by addressing a problem or need in their community, the country, or the world.

In addition to his role at EdRedesign, Watson is a lecturer on education at the HGSE. At EdRedesign, he leads the organization’s talent development programming and its By All Means Communities of Practice initiative, supporting communities across the U.S. to develop cradle-to-career systems of opportunity.

“It is the honor of a lifetime to have the opportunity to be a part of the 2024 Class of Presidential Leadership Scholars,” said Watson. “I am eager to unpack defining lessons of presidential leadership to bridge divides and reinvigorate democratic life. I’m also thrilled to learn from a transformative group of peers and civic leaders from across the nation working to advance the public good.”

During the six-month program, Watson’s project will focus on advancing a new national movement for “Promise Cities” that aim to establish place-based public-private partnerships to eliminate intergenerational poverty and set young people and families on pathways to upward mobility and civic leadership. He will develop this project in partnership with local leaders across the nation and from his hometown of Poughkeepsie, New York.

“My colleagues and I at EdRedesign are immensely proud of Rob Watson and his selection as a member of the prestigious Presidential Leadership Scholars Class of 2024. Rob’s appointment to this select group is a testament to his unwavering commitment to equity, justice, and opportunity for all, his many contributions to civil society, and his bold leadership and optimism,” said Paul Reville, founder and director at EdRedesign and the Francis Keppel Professor of Practice of Educational Policy and Administration at the HGSE.

Over the course of the program, scholars will travel to each participating presidential center to learn from key former administration officials, business and civic leaders, and leading academics. They will study and put into practice varying approaches to leadership and exchange ideas to help strengthen their impact in the communities they serve.

The 2024 program kicked off on Jan. 24 in Washington, D.C.