Dr. Lisa Harrison to Receive National Award for Middle Level Education

Lisa Harrison Lounsbury Award

For Immediate Release

September 23, 2021

Columbus, OH – Lisa Harrison, Ph.D., Associate Professor at Ohio University in Athens, OH, is the recipient of the Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE) John H. Lounsbury Award for Distinguished Service in Middle Level Education. The award, the highest honor offered by AMLE, was established to recognize individuals whose scholarship, service, leadership, and contributions to the theory and practice of the middle level education ideal have been extraordinary. “I am so pleased for AMLE to honor Dr. Harrison,” said Stephanie Simpson, CEO of AMLE. “Her passion for middle level education and skillful leadership abilities have helped push our organization and the field itself forward.”

The award will be presented in November, 2021 at the 48th Annual Conference for Middle Level Education. Harrison has been an active middle level education advocate since beginning her career as a 7th grade math teacher in Brooklyn, New York. A scholar of middle level education research, teaching, and equity in education, Harrison’s work has made a significant impact both nationally and internationally.  On receiving the award, Harrison said, “It truly is an honor! John Lounsbury and every recipient of this award before me has set a tremendous legacy of advocacy for young adolescents. It’s a privilege to follow in their footsteps and work towards creating equitable in and out of school experiences for all young adolescents.”

Harrison has received several grants, including from the Ohio Department of Higher Education and the Spencer Foundation, through which she conducted important work examining the experiences of Black girls in middle school. Dr. Chandra Diaz, fellow Trustee and Associate Dean of the College of Education at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, applauded Harrison’s receipt of the honor, “Lisa represents in her words, scholarship, and being the importance of inclusion and cultural responsiveness in our schools. She interrogates education at a time when we must elevate Black voices and experiences to help educators unlearn practices that have been devastating to Black students. She is an inspiration to me as a Chicana early-career professor in higher education.”

Harrison has previously received several awards, including the Vincent Anfara, Jr. Outstanding Middle Level Research Award, the Ohio University Women’s Center Social Justice in the Classroom Award, and the Outstanding Mentor Award from the Ohio University Multicultural Center Faculty of Color Mentoring Program. In addition to her research and academic contributions to the field, Harrison has also served in important leadership roles for AMLE, including currently as Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees and Co-Editor of Middle School Journal.  “Dr. Harrison is a tremendous asset to any organization she is involved with, and AMLE has been lucky to have her leadership,” added Jim Barnes, Chair of the AMLE Board of Trustees.

In 2020, Harrison co-authored the 5th edition of AMLE’s landmark position paper on best practice in the middle grades, The Successful Middle School: This We Believe, which has sold more than 10,000 copies in its first year of publication. Among her many contributions to the revision, Harrison was critical in ensuring that an equity lens was applied throughout the text. Dr. Penny Bishop, her co-author and fellow Lounsbury Award recipient, said of Lisa’s accomplishments, “I can’t imagine anyone more deserving of the John H. Lounsbury Award for Distinguished Achievement in Middle Level Education than Dr. Lisa Harrison. Through her extensive scholarship and service to the field, she has thoughtfully led the middle grades education community to examine critical questions about how we serve all students in just and equitable ways.”

The AMLE community looks forward to celebrating Dr. Harrison at the AMLE21 annual conference and to seeing her continued impact on the field of middle level education. As stated by Dr. Micki Caskey, Lounsbury Award recipient and Professor Emerita at Portland State University, “Lisa Harrison is a powerhouse in middle level education! She is a visionary leader, an active scholar, caring educator, and a remarkable collaborator—one who leaves an indelible impression of grace and strength while building a more promising future for young adolescent learners through her positionality and actions. Cheers to Lisa!”


About the Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE)

The Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE) helps middle grades educators reach every student, grow professionally, and create great schools. A membership association with more than 48,000 teachers, principals, counselors, and others as members, AMLE provides professional learning and networking opportunities to those who work with students ages 10-15. www.amle.org www.amle.org/annual

Media Contact

Stephanie Simpson | AMLE | ssimpson@amle.org