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Lisa Harrison receives national award for distinguished service in education

Lisa Harrison, Ph.D., associate professor and program coordinator for Middle Childhood Education, is the recipient of the Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE) John H. Lounsbury Award for Distinguished Service in Middle Level Education.

The award—the highest honor offered by AMLE — was established to recognize individuals with exceptional scholarship, service, leadership, and contributions to the theory and practice of middle level education.

Harrison has been an active middle level education advocate since beginning her career as a seventh-grade math teacher in Brooklyn, New York. A scholar of middle level education research, teaching, and equity in education, Harrison’s work has made a significant impact both nationally and internationally.  

“I am so pleased for AMLE to honor Dr. Harrison,” said Stephanie Simpson, CEO of AMLE. “Her passion for middle level education and skillful leadership abilities have helped push our organization and the field itself forward.”

Harrison has received several grants, including from the Ohio Department of Higher Education and the Spencer Foundation, through which she conducted important work examining the experiences of Black girls in middle school. She has also previously received several awards, including the Vincent Anfara Jr. Outstanding Middle Level Research Award, the Ohio University Women’s Center Social Justice in the Classroom Award, and the Outstanding Mentor Award from the Ohio University Multicultural Center Faculty of Color Mentoring Program.

In addition to her research and academic contributions to the field, Harrison has also served in important leadership roles for AMLE, including currently as vice chair of its board of trustees and co-editor of Middle School Journal.  

In 2020, Harrison co-authored the fifth edition of AMLE’s landmark position paper on best practice in the middle grades, “The Successful Middle School: This We Believe,” which has sold more than 10,000 copies in its first year of publication. Among her many contributions to the revision, Harrison was critical in ensuring that an equity lens was applied throughout the text.

“I can’t imagine anyone more deserving of the John H. Lounsbury Award for Distinguished Achievement in Middle Level Education than Dr. Lisa Harrison,” said Dr. Penny Bishop, her co-author and fellow Lounsbury Award recipient. “Through her extensive scholarship and service to the field, she has thoughtfully led the middle grades education community to examine critical questions about how we serve all students in just and equitable ways.”

The award will be presented to Harrison in November at AMLE’s 48th Annual Conference for Middle Level Education. 


October 6, 2021
Staff reports