We’re thrilled to welcome Elysa Severinghaus to EdNavigator as our new Executive Director in Boston. (In the photo above, she's right in the middle.) With nearly a decade of experience in schools and education organizations across Boston, Elysa brings a multi-faceted perspective to our team. She’s served in a range of instructional and operational roles with Match Education and KIPP Massachusetts, including as a member of the founding team at KIPP Academy Boston Middle School, where she built the English Language Education program and taught 5th and 6th grade. Immediately prior to joining EdNavigator, she served as senior program manager at Empower Schools. Recently, we sat down with her to get to know her a little better.
Let’s start at the beginning. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I was very into math and science as a kid, and my career interests were closely tied to that. When I was in middle school, I really wanted to be a marine biologist—I liked animals and loved the ocean from the opportunities I had as a child to visit my family in the Dominican Republic. I tried to write a research paper on dolphin communication when we got to choose our own topics, but there weren’t many resources to support that interest where I grew up in Vermont, a landlocked state whose most storied sea life is Champ the lake monster. Likely because of my parents’ medical professions, I got interested in how doctors and nurses help people, and how I might use science to help others too. I got particularly interested in neonatology because I had been cared for as a preemie at my local hospital. I kept my long-term science interests throughout high school, despite a teacher who discouraged me from continuing in honors track science classes, and my interests were continually informed by what I was exposed to.
How did you get into education?
While I was in college, I worked with a summer program called SEAD (Summer Enrichment at Dartmouth) that brought a small cohort of high school students to campus every summer starting in 9