Kellie Blair-Hardt_Profile

Kellie Blair Hardt

NEAF-Pearson Foundation Global Fellow 2013


I believe that global education is severely undervalued and under recognized in most public education systems.

Without incorporating it into our classrooms, students miss out on a wealth of information surrounding them – about their communities, states, other states, and other countries. The more students have the opportunity to become globally aware of cultures, demographics, and economies, the better prepared they will be for their own career competency. The most significant thing I learned while in Brazil is the vast difference in education systems. This experience was my first time out of the country. I was astounded by my lack of knowledge about global education issues.


While in Brazil, for the first time in my life, I experienced culture shock.

Though I had learned a little Portuguese from Rosetta Stone (which did allow me to feel more comfortable visiting a country that I had never experienced), when I got off the plane, I quickly realized that I could no longer understand anything around me – the people talking, the signs all around the airport; nothing. At first I was embarrassed to ask for help, or to have Brazilians think that I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t want to be another “dumb” American. I now can relate this to the large number of Hispanic students in my community and classroom. I have become much more culturally sensitive. I have begun to reflect that in my lesson plans to allow more teamwork and communication among bilingual students and those students who are struggling with English.


Don’t have negative preconceptions of others – “do not judge a book by its cover.”

I think that being an effective educator means that we cannot accept stereotypes, particularly when it comes to those who are new to the United States.


I believe the key to achievement in learning is foster student engagement and the desire to learn.

True learning and achievement is derived when we allow students to actively participate in the construction of what they need to learn, assuring that the importance of what they are learning is related to their everyday lives and the lives of those around them.


I believe the role of family and community in education is just as important as the role of the educator.

Without the support of community and family, there is a lack of respect for student learning and a detrimental disconnect. This support must come from active collaboration, in order to understand the goals, needs, and perspectives of everyone.

The views expressed on this site are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Pearson Foundation.


Kellie Blair Hardt, a special education science teacher in Manassas, Virginia, received the National Education Association Foundation’s 2013 Horace Mann Award for Teaching Excellence, as one of the nation’s top educators. This teaching excellence award recognizes and promotes excellence in teaching and dedicated advocacy for the profession.

She has dedicated herself to guiding special education students, not only in the science classroom, but also by promoting self-awareness and self-advocacy. She believes that students with learning and/or emotional disabilities need to see themselves as successful; and she uses every opportunity to showcase what success can look like if students apply themselves. Mrs. Hardt is praised for having a great deal of respect for all students and setting high expectations for them. She is known for telling her students that “there are no excuses” and “there are no ‘I can’ts’.” Her passion for teaching and mentoring is all about what her students can do, and how she will help get them there.

She is now pursuing a Ph.D. in higher education at George Mason University and plans to graduate in 2015. She hopes to continue to inspire her students to pursue careers in education or at least think of themselves as students beyond high school.