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Gallagher honored for improvements to public education

USC School of Education Dean Karen Symms Gallagher (Photo/Meiko Takechi Arquillos)

USC Rossier School of Education Dean Karen Symms Gallagher has been named a Pahara-Aspen Education fellow, a highly selective honor designed to support entrepreneurial leaders who are committed to transforming public education.

Gallagher is the first dean of a school of education to receive this prestigious accolade, which recognizes her leadership and the commitment to creating innovative solutions and defining new ways to provide an equitable and excellent education for underserved children.

“Dean Gallagher has changed the landscape of education by opening new channels of access to students of all ages and backgrounds, and by challenging the notion that traditional educational structures will produce the most successful outcomes for all learners,” said Elizabeth Garrett, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. “She has had a significant impact on USC Rossier students — both on campus and online — who will be among the most innovative educators in the world, and she has helped ignite a passion for discovery in many of our neighborhood’s underserved K-12 students. Through this honor, Dean Gallagher’s peers acknowledge her ambition and creativity in redefining public education.”

Gallagher joins 23 other accomplished leaders in the spring 2013 cohort of fellows.

“We are excited and energized by the extraordinary leadership talent represented in this new cohort,” said Kim Smith, founder and CEO of the Pahara Institute. “These leaders are working tirelessly to create equity and excellence in our public schools, and we are honored to be able to support them in this work.”

Approximately 100 education leaders have been honored with the fellowship, which provides exceptional leaders with the unusual opportunity to step back from their demanding daily work to reflect with peers on their collective and individual impact as change agents.

Under Gallagher’s leadership, USC Rossier has designed and implemented a number of groundbreaking initiatives that have garnered attention across the country.

In 2009, she and her faculty launched the school’s online Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program, the first of its kind from a major research university. The robust technology platform featuring live synchronous classes is blended with field-based teaching experiences in each student’s community. Since it began, the MAT has graduated more than 1,200 teachers, a tenfold increase over USC Rossier’s on-campus program. MAT students live in all 50 states and 40 countries.

Gallagher also led the redesign of USC Rossier’s practitioner-focused EdD program in which doctoral candidates solve real problems of practice in the field through work in thematic dissertation groups. The EdD has become a model for doctor of education programs nationally and is the basis for USC Rossier’s new Global Executive EdD, which enrolls students from around the world in a hybrid program of face-to-face and online coursework.

In September, Gallagher and her faculty opened USC Hybrid High School, a new Los Angeles public charter school. The school serves students most at risk of dropping out with individualized and self-directed curricula, new technology tools to manage their schedules and expanded hours for those with jobs or family care obligations.

The Pahara-Aspen Education Fellowship is a two-year, cohort-based program that aims to identify transformational leaders in education reform, facilitate their dynamic growth and strengthen their collective efforts to improve public education.

The fellowship is a partnership between the Pahara and Aspen institutes. Fellows become members of the Aspen Global Leadership Network, which includes nearly 1,600 leaders from 45 countries.


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Gallagher honored for improvements to public education

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