EdRedesign names Rob Watson deputy director; new fellowship announced

Rob Watson.

Rob Watson

2 min read

EdRedesign, based at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE), has named Rob Watson to the newly created position of deputy director to support EdRedesign’s expanding footprint in the cradle-to-career place-based partnership field. Watson had served as EdRedesign’s director for Partnerships and Community Impact since June 2021. Watson is also a secondary lecturer in education at HGSE. Watson leads EdRedesign’s  By All Means initiative, forging partnerships in the field with communities, national intermediaries, and exemplary leaders working to redefine education and youth development to scale impact. Through community-based collaborations, Watson supports the cradle-to-career place-based partnership field to drive expanded, equitable opportunities for upward mobility for all children, youth, and families.  

EdRedesign also announced the establishment of its By All Means Senior Fellowship, a visiting fellowship initiative led by Watson for exemplary senior leaders of place-based collaborative action. The fellows bring diverse expertise and experiences in cross-sector partnerships, politics, policymaking, school district leadership, community organizing, and public service for the challenges facing children, youth, and families today. The fellowship aims to facilitate new opportunities for collaboration between the Harvard community and leaders at the forefront of social innovations advancing educational equity, upward mobility, and racial justice. Fellows will spend the year working with EdRedesign on signature projects that aim to amplify the impact of their work and the field of place-based collaborative action on the national stage. 

The initial cohort (2023-2024) of Senior Fellows includes: 

  • Russell Booker – CEO, Spartanburg Academic Movement,  
  • Alan Cohen – Founder and CEO, Child Poverty Action Lab,  
  • Sonali Nijhawan – Director, AmeriCorps State & National,  
  • Richard Raya – Chief Strategy Officer, Mission Economic Development Agency, and 
  • Libby Schaaf – 50th Mayor, City of Oakland. 

“We are thrilled to welcome our inaugural cohort of By All Means Senior Fellows. Each Fellow is a nationally relevant practitioner pushing our society to reimagine our social contract and advance educational equity, upward mobility, and racial justice for and with children, youth, and families. Together, they embody the type of community-driven leadership that we’re eager to learn from at EdRedesign. We look forward to the transformative contributions they’ll make to our university community,” said Watson.