Doctoral Candidate in Education Leadership, Harvard Graduate School of Education
2018 RIDES (Reimagining Integration: Diverse and Equitable Schools) Fellow at the
Harvard Graduate School of Education
2018 Rappaport Public Policy Fellow – Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston, Harvard
Mariel moved with her family to Boston from the Dominican Republic when she was five years old and since that early age she has had an undeniable love for education and community uplift.
The first in her family to graduate from college, Mariel witnessed first-hand the unequal access to educational opportunities between the haves and have-nots. She realized that poor, immigrant kids like her were rarely seen in elite schools and halls of power and has committed herself to ensuring that socially just and equitable schools were the norm in impoverished communities not the exception.
Currently a doctoral student in Education Leadership at Harvard, Mariel finds her inspiration in the classroom, the streets of Boston, and her Dominican identity. She was an ESL Math teacher working with Spanish-speaking immigrant middle schoolers in Dorchester and then became a teacher coach, developing novice teachers all over the Commonwealth, especially undocumented educators who were recipients of DACA.
Believing that those directly impacted by educational inequity should be at the center of power, Mariel launched the Homegrown Program at Teach For America-Massachusetts. The first program of its kind within TFA, the Homegrown Program sought to recruit and support teachers who grew up in low-income communities in Massachusetts, as well as develop their leadership capacity so that they became the ones at the table making decisions and advocating for children in their own communities.
In 2016, Mariel acted on her long-time interest in politics and fell in love with community organizing. She co-founded a neighborhood group that brought together educators, parents, students, and community members to craft an advocacy platform that would bring greater attention to the top education issues concerning Boston families.
Now at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Mariel continues to focus on issues of equity and integration at the school systems level, paying particular attention to expanding access to opportunity for undocumented students and families in the Boston Public Schools and increasing diverse teacher pipelines both locally and nationally.
Mariel credits her family for these achievements – they have exemplified for her what it looks like to never take ‘no’ for an answer, to have hope in the unseen, and to always make time for family and community celebration.
Mariel will bring the equality fight wherever she goes next, and one day hopes to serve as the Superintendent of the Boston Public Schools and give back to the school system that opened the first door of opportunity for her in 1993.