Press | New Leader Testifies Before U.S. Senate Education Committee

Washington, DC–New Leader Alison Harris Welcher will testify before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions on Thursday, July 14, in a hearing on “ESSA Implementation: Perspectives from Education Stakeholders on Proposed Regulations.”

Drawing on her experience as a principal in Charlotte, NC, where she transformed a failing middle school into one of the highest-gaining in the state, Ms. Welcher will deliver remarks on the US. Department of Education’s proposed regulations for implementing accountability provisions of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). She will highlight the urgent need for states and districts to ensure all schools – particularly those identified for improvement – are led by an outstanding leader. She will further argue for accountability systems that look at the growth and performance of all students as well as subgroups of children. She will support gauging school quality based on multiple measures while urging federal officials to keep the focus on academic indicators. She will also encourage lawmakers to consider ways to upgrade school report cards so they are transparent and accessible for parents, and allow educators and partners to tell the story of their schools’ progress and advocate for students.

Currently, Ms. Welcher is the Director of School Leadership for Project L.I.F.T., which supports 7,500 students across nine Opportunity Culture schools in Charlotte, NC. In this role, she builds the capacity of instructional leadership teams and evaluates the instructional programs at supported schools to help school leaders align resources to improve student outcomes. Between 2011 and 2015 she served as a New Leader Principal of Ranson IB Middle School. Welcher completed her teacher preparation through Teach For America and her principal preparation through New Leaders’ Aspiring Principals program. She has been selected for several prestigious fellowships, including Teach For America’s School Systems Leaders Fellowship and the Relay Graduate School of Education’s National Principals Academy Fellowship and Leverage Leadership Institute Fellowship. In 2016, she will begin the Doctor of Education Leadership program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she previously received a master’s degree. She is a proud graduate of Spelman College.

After her testimony, Ms. Welcher will respond to questions from Senators.

Read the written testimony

Watch the hearing and oral remarks