Who We Are




Meira Levinson


Meira Levinson is Professor of Education at Harvard.  She is a normative political philosopher who writes about civic education, multiculturalism, youth empowerment, and educational justice. In doing so, she draws upon scholarship from multiple disciplines as well as her eight years of experience teaching in the Atlanta and Boston Public Schools.  She consistently attempts to bring scholarship, policy, and educational practice into rigorous conversation with one another, in the belief that this kind of cross-fertilization can produce some of the most intellectually and practically generative work.

Levinson has published five books:

Dilemmas of Educational Ethics book cover           

She has also published dozens of articles and book chapters, some of which can be accessed for free here.  A national leader in civic education, Levinson serves on advisory committees or boards of the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools, CIRCLE/Tisch College, Generation Citizen, National Action Civics Collaborativethe Civic and Moral Education Initiative at Harvard, and Theory and Research in Education.  She was also a writer for the College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards


Levinson earned a DPhil in political theory from Nuffield College, Oxford, and her BA in philosophy from Yale University.  She lives with her husband and two daughters in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston.

Click here for a complete c.v.


Jacob Fay


Jacob Fay is a fourth-year doctoral student at the Harvard Graduate School of Education focusing on the history and philosophy of education. His research interests include the history of liberalism in American public education, non-ideal theory, issues of distributive justice in schools, and the normative foundations of public education. In addition, Jacob is currently a Co-Chair of the Harvard Educational Review. Before enrolling at Harvard, Jacob taught 8th grade history at the Dwight-Englewood School in Englewood, NJ. He earned an MA in American History from Brandeis University and an AB in History from Princeton University

   Andree-Anne Cormier Headshot


Andrée-Anne Cormier


Andrée-Anne Cormier is a PhD student in philosophy at the University of Montreal and was a Visiting Fellow during 2013-2014 at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE). She is interested in understanding what liberal-democratic justice requires in specific non-ideal educational contexts and what duties of justice liberal states have towards children/future citizens. More specifically, her dissertation explores the conditions under which it is morally acceptable for the state, and for civil servants, to exercise power over children’s education. Her goal is to develop a liberal-democratic account of ‘educational legitimacy’, which aims to specify (1) how authority over educational matters should be divided between parents and the state; and (2) under what conditions policy-makers’ and practitioners’ decisions in the domain of education can count as reasonable, i.e. legitimate although not necessarily ‘perfectly’ just.

  Dan Covino Photo.   


Dan Covino


I am a high school social studies teacher. I graduated from Grinnell College in 2010 with a degree in history, and taught high school American history in Iowa from 2011-2015. In 2016, I received my master's in education from HGSE. This August I will begin teaching social studies at Excel Academy Charter High School in Boston. I am particularly interested in creating civic education and service learning opportunities for my students, especially those involving local institutions of higher education. 

David J. Knight


David J. Knight is an educator and researcher in Boston. He is an affiliated researcher with the Justice in Schools Project. Drawing on his boundary-crossing work as both an urban public school teacher and scholar, David writes on a wide range of issues related to education and youth, including urban adolescent development, the intersection of racial and gendered identities among young males, and teaching for social justice. His writing has appeared in national newspapers and journals. He has also been involved in local organization efforts around Boston desegregation as part of the Boston Busing/Desegregation ProjectBoston Busing/Desegregation Project. In addition to his work in Boston, David has taught, mentored and worked with young people in urban and rural areas, from Cape Town, South Africa, to the Dominican Republic to San Francisco. David holds an A.B. in history from Dartmouth College and master's degrees from Stanford and Harvard. Originally from the New Orleans area, David lives in Cambridge.



Tom Preston

Tom Preston completed his Master's at HGSE in May 2014. Before coming to Harvard he studied philosophy and politics at Oxford and taught English in state secondary schools in the United Kingdom. His areas of interest include the philosophy of education, distributive justice in political theory, non-ideal theory, and the principles of fairness in an educational context. Tom returned to the UK in the summer of 2014 to work for the educational charity Teach First. He continues to contribute to the work of the Justice in Schools project.


Brendan Randall

Brendan Randall is a recovering lawyer and teacher studying religion, law and education as a doctoral candidate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE). He is interested in how schools can prepare students to live in a religiously diverse democratic society and his research focuses on religiously-motivated student speech on controversial social issues. Brendan also has a Master of Education from HGSE in school leadership and a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School in religion, ethics, and politics. Before returning to graduate school, Brendan taught history, applied ethics and comparative religion at the Emma Willard School, an independent, all-girls boarding school in Troy, NY.


Ilana Finefter-Rosenbluh



Ilana Finefter-Rosenbluh is a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Graduate School of Education. Her research interests focus on school quality, evaluating and improving educational settings, teaching and learning, educational ethics, organizational decisions and counseling, professional development and social perspective taking. Prior to coming to HGSE, Ilana was a guidance counselor and a high school teacher for 8 years. She earned an MA in Educational Counseling from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, and a PhD in Education from Bar-Ilan University, Israel.

Chris Buttimer


Chris Buttimer is currently a doctoral student at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE).  His research interests include critical pedagogy, ethnic studies, and youth participatory action research, as well as teacher education and school reform.  Prior to coming to HGSE, Chris taught middle school English in the Cambridge Public Schools for 6 years.  Over the past few years, Chris has worked with the Boston Public Schools in a variety of roles, and he organizes with teachers, students, and community activists in the Greater Boston area through the teacher activist group, TAG Boston.  In addition, Chris provides professional development to Title I schools in MA around disciplinary literacy.  Chris earned an Ed.M. in teacher education from UMass Boston in 2006 and an Ed.M. in language and literacy from HGSE in 2010.


 James Noonan

James Noonan


James Noonan, Ed.D., is a researcher affiliated with the Justice In Schools project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education where he pursues questions related to teachers' experiences of learning, teacher identity and agency, and school and district quality. In addition, James is the School Quality Framework Project Director with the Massachusetts Consortium for Innovative Education Assessment (MCIEA). Previously, James held multiple school-based and program development roles at Peace Games (now Peace First). James has also worked in an adult literacy program for recent immigrants and a play-based program for homeless children and families. James has an Ed.D. in Culture, Communities, and Education and an Ed.M. in International Education Policy, both from Harvard University, as well as a B.A. in English and a B.S. in English Education, both from Boston University. He lives in Jamaica Plain, MA with his wife, a teacher in the Boston Public Schools, and their two daughters.



Xin Xiang


Xin Xiang is a third-year PhD student at Harvard Graduate School of Education, with concentration in Cultures, Institutions, and Society. She graduated from the Harvard College with a B.A. in Psychology, and did her thesis research on cultural variations in moral judgments among Tibetans, Han Chinese, and Americans. She co-founded and leads an educational nonprofit, CLOVER, which provides experiential learning opportunities for underprivileged migrant children in Guangzhou, China. She is interested in understanding the experiences of growing up in contemporary China for students of various socio-economic backgrounds, especially for migrant and left-behind children, and the social and educational policies that interacts with these experiences.