Full name: Nicole Marie Erb
Degree/Graduating Year: Ed.M. Learning and Teaching, 2015
Location: Allen Park, Michigan
Position on HAEd: Co-Chair of Detroit Chapter
Current role or job: Supervisor of Curriculum and Instruction, Detroit Public Schools Community District
3 Fun Facts: I was a competitive ballroom dancer in college. I student taught on the Isles of Scilly in England. I have an adorable tuxedo cat named Asimov.
Why did you join HAED?
I love meeting and working with people who are passionate about education, and when I moved to the Detroit area, I was disappointed that Detroit didn't have an HAED chapter. I met Mary when we both volunteered for a HGSE Admissions event, and I was excited to hear that she was starting a local chapter.
What do you hope to achieve through HAED?
I hope to learn more about the impressive work being done to support education and literacy throughout Detroit, within both formal and informal learning spaces.
How did you get involved in education?
I knew that I wanted to be an educator since I was in high school. A love for literature and a desire to work with students led me to start my career as an English teacher.
What is something that inspires you?
I'm inspired by the authors who are speaking truth to power through their young adult novels that explore current issues facing our teens, and I hope that educators will make space for these incredible stories in their classrooms.
What is the most memorable experience you remember from your time at Harvard?
During S308: Models of Excellence, I interviewed students from King Middle School in Portland, Maine, about Small Acts of Courage, an incredible project that honored unsung civil rights heroes in their community. This course introduced me to Expeditionary Learning, which helped to inspire and shape my philosophy of education and my belief that students can and should be doing exceptional work that impacts their communities. Check out this video of Small Acts of Courage, and visit modelsofexcellence.eleducation.org to explore inspiring examples of student work.
What advice do you have for other Harvard alumni?
Be open to new opportunities. When I was at HGSE, I expected to teach for several more years, but I'm grateful for the path that led me to my current position. Every day, I learn something new about leadership, instruction, and districtwide urban education reform, and I'm excited for the future of education in Detroit.