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Jamelia N. Harris, Ph.D.

Advocate for Black Girls and Gender-Expansive Youth

About Dr. Harris

 Dr. Jamelia Harris is the Senior Director of Collaborative Research and Innovative Thought at the National Crittenton. Her research is committed to centering the voices and lived experiences of Black girls in the K-12 pipeline and contributes to the current national discourse which calls for a re-centering of Black girls’ specific needs in youth legal and school system reform. At the crux, her professional and scholarly objective is to support stakeholders in gaining a more nuanced understanding of the racial-gender dimensions of educational inequities that are often overlooked in conventional policy, practice, and advocacy discourses toward designing inclusive, supportive, and empowering schooling environments for all students.


Dr. Harris is an educational research consultant with expertise in race, gender, school climate, and discipline. She has supported school districts and organizations across the nation with research-based professional development. Prior to joining the National Crittenton, she served as the Senior Black Girls Matter Researcher for the African American Policy Forum where her work supported national advocacy campaigns including #BlackGirlsMatter and #SayHerName. She also worked as an expert researcher on a statewide study titled "Transforming School Discipline in California." Dr. Harris holds a Ph.D. in Urban Schooling from the University of California, Los Angeles.

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Teaching Expertise

“Knowledge rooted in experience shapes what we value and as a consequence how we know what we know as well as how we use what we know.”
― bell hooks

As a Black feminist and interdisciplinary scholar, my epistemological groundings and trainings shape the foundation of my approach to teaching.  My teaching, an extension of my equity and justice orientation is grounded in the tenets: knowledge, consciousness, and empowerment (hooks, 1984). I see myself cultivating student-centered learning environments that encourage critical engagement with race, gender, urban education policy, and carceral studies. I have extensive teaching experience, ranging from my work with middle and high school aged students in youth prisons and community-based programs, to university-level instruction at both the University of California, Santa Barbara and the University of California, Los Angeles. I have had the opportunity to teach courses and facilitate within various topics including: school discipline and climate,  relationship building, youth voice, intersectionality in education, qualitative research, and youth participatory action research. 


Dr. Harris provides professional development, consultation guidance, and keynote presentations on the following:

Personal Statement Development

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Personal statements are the most integral component of any admissions process. Dr. Harris leverages her storytelling expertise to support clients in developing outstanding essays that convey their purpose, academic preparedness,  impactful experiences, and unique contributions.

School Discipline and Climate Improvement

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Dr. Harris provides didactic and interactive professional development workshops and research-based partnerships that bridge theory, empirical research, and best practices toward promoting inclusive learning environments for all students. She has specific expertise on the needs and experiences of Girls of color including improving discipline disparities, school connectedness, and interpersonal relationship dynamics.


Pupil and Teacher

I attended a workshop hosted by Dr. Harris as part of our school district's summer professional learning institute. The workshop was engaging and full of such important information on effective practices to address the root causes of school discipline inequities. Dr. Harris shifted my thinking about the role of relationship building in counteracting some of the biases that contribute to the miseducation and criminalization of BIPOC children. This year, I will prioritize deepening student engagement in setting classroom norms and expectations, addressing the ways I contribute to power imbalance in the classroom, and intentionally building relationships rooted in love and mutual respect with my students. 

- 5th Grade Teacher in Chicago Public Schools

Contact Dr. Jamelia Harris

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