Katherine K. Merseth

Office Address
Non Resident
Mailing Address
John F. Kennedy School of Government
79 JFK Street
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Katherine Merseth is Senior Lecturer on Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Her research and writing concentrate on teacher education, case-method instruction, charter schools, and mathematics education. She was the founding executive director of the Harvard Children’s Initiative, a University-wide program focusing on the needs of children. At HGSE, Merseth is the founding director of the School Leadership Program and the Teacher Education Program. She also led a doctoral research group, the Chartering Practice Project, that studied the practices of high poverty, high performing charter schools in Massachusetts.  This group published their findings in an award winning book, Inside Urban Charter Schools in the summer of 2008. Merseth has received several awards for her teaching and contributions to the mathematics profession including the prestigious Morningstar Award awarded each year to the outstanding teaching faculty by the students at HGSE and the Massachusetts Mathematics Educators Hall of Fame. She also received among the highest ratings in the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences for her course The Dilemma of Excellence and Equity in K-12 American Schools in 2012. 

She is a frequent workshop speaker and consults widely with school districts and education organizations, nationally and internationally including recent work in Chile, Greece, Qatar, El Salvador, South Africa and Brazil. In the spring 2011, she was a Visiting Senior Scholar at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching working on their Pathways project to improve mathematics learning and teaching at the community college level. Her publications include case books for use in professional development programs including Cases in Educational Administration (Addison Wesley/ Longman) and Windows on Teaching: Cases of Secondary Mathematics Classrooms (Teachers College Press), Being a Teacher: A casebook of South African Cases (Pearson) and several mathematics textbooks.  Additionally her research has appeared in Phi Delta Kappan, Journal of Teacher Education, Teaching and Teacher Education, and Teacher Education Quarterly.

As a practitioner at the K-12 level, she has served as a math teacher, math curriculum developer and central office administrator. In addition to her two Harvard degrees (M.A.T. in secondary mathematics education and Ed. D. in Administration, Policy, and Practice), Merseth holds a B.A. in mathematics from Cornell University, and an M.A. in mathematics from Boston College. She spends any free time on her tractor at her Maine farmhouse, hiking, or rowing on the Charles River.




  • SUP-415 Dilemmas of Excellence and Equity in K-12 American Schools

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