Akiesha Ortiz, M. Ed, works for the Center for Public Leadership as the program manager for the Alan Gleitsman Leadership Fellowship and the Harvard Kennedy School Fellowship for Serving African American Communities. Akiesha began working in the public education system at the age of 15 as a para professional! She attended the HBCU, North Carolina Central University. Afterwards, she earned her way towards the prestigious educational certification to become a National Board Certified Teacher (Kindergarten through 12th grade with a specialty in Literacy). Akiesha has collaborated with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction with the focus of strategic assessment – later on, she was noted as one of the few minority educators in the top 10% earning gains with all of her students. Winning the honor of becoming a Fulbright Educator she has trained educators, teachers to be, and her colleagues on various skills. The one time Teacher of the Year, was specifically chosen to be an exemplar model in the Harvard READS for Summer Learning Initiative training video later in her teaching. She was plucked from over 100 anonymous teachers as she participated in a study to help students grow their reading skills over the summer instead of the invariable loss due to being out of practice. As an educational consultant, advocate, as well as a community educator in North Carolina, Ms. Ortiz has had the opportunity to engage with families while growing their own skills set to foster growth for the children in their own home. During her graduate studies she continued to enhance her leadership as the keynote speaker for the Harvard Graduate School Donor Fellowship Dinner 2016 hosted by Dean Jim Ryan. A HGSE Communications Fellow, she supported the Alumni of Color Conference as the keynote chair. She was honored to receive the Human Development and Psychology Intellectual Award 2017 from her graduating peers at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Her path has led her to currently work for Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership as she continues her support with policy and programs that uplift and empower all who work in communities that impact the lives of children in various fields. This was demonstrated in her volunteer work as a co-founder of Greener Scott Scholars in 2018, a mentoring program that convenes undergraduates and graduates all over Harvard University. The value of compassionate leadership drives Akiesha as she supports those who strive for great impact, equitable justice, and monumental change.