Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership
School of Higher Education, Leadership, and Policy
Degree ProgramDoctor of Education (EdD)
Dr. John Harrison is president of John Harrison & Associates, a consulting and education management company. He serves as a Senior Consultant for the International Center for Leadership in Education and recently retired from the position of Executive Director of the North Carolina Association for Middle Level Education, an organization of over 20,000 educators in over 500 schools, and is a nationally respected leader in school/district leadership and curriculum transformation and middle grades education.
A highly regarded speaker and consultant, Dr. Harrison began his journey in education reform over 25 years ago, when conversations about “A Nation at Risk” led him from the laboratory where he worked as a research scientist, to the classroom, where he became one of North Carolina’s first lateral entry teachers. An award-winning teacher, principal, and district administrator, John seeks to blend the best practices of leadership with strong curriculum and instruction—something he feels strongly should never be separate priorities. As a principal, his school received national attention for curriculum compacting and success with struggling students. His extensive knowledge and experience at middle school level in both rural and urban settings give him a broad background to draw from when working with schools and districts. As an adjunct faculty member, he has taught master’s and doctoral-level students, and chaired over two dozen successfully completed dissertations and served as a member on over 50 dissertation committees.
Dr. Harrison is past-president of the National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform, and co-chaired the National Schools to Watch Committee. He has participated in White House and Capitol Hill briefings and presented and worked with educators in 44 states and six countries. He has discussed education improvement and reform at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, at monasteries in Tibet, and at countless local school board, civic, and PTA meetings across North America. His travels have brought him to well over a thousand classrooms, which gives him a rare perspective on what quality education is, and should look like in action.