NWEA Expert Recognized for Leadership in Addressing Effects of Systemic Racism on the Early Years of Life

Dr. Aaliyah Samuel has been selected as Senior Fellow for the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University

Portland, Ore. – Dec. 8, 2020 – As the first Black woman to receive this prestigious title at the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, Dr. Aaliyah Samuel will provide important guidance and expertise in the Center’s pursuit of a more equitable and just society in which all children and families have the opportunity to thrive.

“I’m joining an incredible group of thought leaders committed to a joint vision that ensures children – especially in their early years of life – have opportunities and resources to start on a path toward lifelong success,” said Dr. Aaliyah Samuel, EVP of Government Affairs and Partnerships at NWEA. “Through a research-informed approach, I will help the Center develop its strategy for understanding and communicating the effects of structural inequities and racism on child development.”

Samuel has served as a Center Fellow for nearly two years.  In recognition of her exceptional work and leadership, the Center has awarded her the Senior Fellowship title. She will serve as Senior Fellow through the 2021 year while continuing her policy and advocacy focused efforts at NWEA.

“As a Center Fellow, Dr. Samuel has been a key partner in conceptualizing and planning how we can address the disruptive effects of systemic racism and other structural inequities on the foundations of health and development in the early years of life,” said Dr. Jack P. Shonkoff, M.D., Director, Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. “As a Senior Fellow at the Center, Dr. Samuel will be instrumental in helping us maximize the contributions we can make in pursuit of our shared vision of leveraging science to drive innovation in early childhood policy and practice.”

Learn more about Dr. Samuel’s work with the Center at developingchild.harvard.edu


About Dr. Aaliyah Samuel

A lifelong educator, Aaliyah Samuel has put equity at the heart of her work creating partnerships and influencing state policies grounded in data, research, and best practices. She earned her doctoral degree in organizational leadership from Nova Southeastern University, focusing on effective literacy interventions for children in primary grades. She previously led education policy programs at the National Governors Association and First Things First, a statewide organization to fund early education and health programs. Dr. Samuel joined NWEA in 2018 and is the executive vice president of government affairs and partnerships. In 2019, she was appointed as Center Fellow (and now Senior Fellow) to the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University.

About the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University

Founded in 2006, the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University drives science-based innovation in order to achieve breakthrough outcomes for children facing adversity. The Center uses advances in science as a powerful source of new ideas focused on the early years of life and catalyzes local, national, and international innovation in policy and practice in collaboration with a broad network of research, practice, policy, community, and philanthropic leaders. Together, we seek transformational impacts on lifelong learning, behavior, and both physical and mental health.

About NWEA

NWEA® (formerly known as Northwest Evaluation Association) is a mission-driven, not-for-profit organization that supports students and educators worldwide by creating assessment solutions that precisely measure growth and proficiency—and provide insights to help tailor instruction. Educators in more than 10,000 schools, districts, and education agencies in 146 countries rely on our flagship interim assessment, MAP® Growth™; our reading fluency and comprehension assessment, MAP® Reading Fluency™ ; our personalized learning tool powered by Khan Academy, MAP® Accelerator™; and our state solutions that combine growth and proficiency measurement. Visit NWEA.org to find out how NWEA can partner with you to help all kids learn.

Contact: Simona Beattie, Sr. Manager, Public Relations, simona.beattie@nwea.org or 971.361.9526