Akiesha Ortiz currently facilitates leadership development and learning at the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard Kennedy School for the Fellowship for Serving African American Communities, the U.S. Latino Fellowship, the Dubin Emerging Leaders Fellowship, and the U.S. Latinx Initiative as a Fellowship Program Manager. She is responsible for directing programming that brings extraordinary emerging leaders into the folds of mission-driven cohorts where she engages students with various learning opportunities to develop their talents. She is also an executive member of Harvard’s Committee on the Concerns of Women, where she supports the objective of community and empowerment for all women across Harvard.
She graduated magna cum laude from the HBCU, North Carolina Central University. Before her work at Harvard, Akiesha held an award-winning career in public education expanding two decades. She’s been a Fulbright Educator, Teacher of the Year, in the top 5% of teachers who showed monumental standardized improvements with her students for the entire state, a video exemplar for Harvard READS Research, and a community educator/trainer for Communities in Schools.
Based on her expertise in Human Development and Advocacy and her creation of a trauma-based curriculum for students, she began working with Dr. Renee Jarret Boynton and Dr. Neena McConnico as an educational expert on childhood trauma. She currently serves as a consultant/educator for STRIVE, which moves this work further. With a team of collaborators, she trains emerging leaders in the field of education so that they can expand their understanding of how to navigate in a more meaningful and impactful way for children and their families. One of her biggest joys is her work as the co-founder/staff advisor for Greener Scott Scholars, the only mentoring program that convenes Black undergraduates and graduates from all over the Harvard Community. Akiesha is driven by the ethos to inspire, educate, and empower as we all work together to pursue lives of happiness, parity, acknowledgment, and security.