Heather Gerker

Heather E Gerker

Graduate Assistant

Professional Summary

Heather is a current doctoral student at the University of Cincinnati where she is studying educational policy and serving as a graduate assistant for the UC Action Research Center and the Mandel Teacher Educator Institute. She holds a B.F.A. in Electronic Media and an M. Ed. in early childhood education with a concentration in Montessori pedagogy. She has taught in a variety of educational settings, including in teacher education, preschool, kindergarten, and Montessori early childhood classrooms. Passionate about organizing, facilitating learning, and connecting with communities, she seeks to understand the role of collective impact in shifting education policy. Her current scholarship focuses on a critical analysis of the relationship between educational policy and practice with an emphasis on progressive pedagogies in public schools.

She is deeply committed to creating an equitable world, centering and uplifting lived experiences of people in marginalized and minoritized communities and seeking to foster supportive and reflective learning environments.


Master of Early Childhood Education: Endicott College Massachusetts, 2007 (Early Childhood Education)

Bachelor of Fine Arts : University of Cincinnati Cincinnati, OH, 2004 (Electronic Media)

Early Childhood Montessori Teaching Credential: Northeast Montessori Institute Boston, MA, 2007 (Montessori early childhood education)

Positions and Work Experience

2019 -2020 Early Learning Field Manager, Served as the expert on strategies and outcomes related to learning and education achievement for children prenatal to 9 that occur within the Greater Cincinnati Region early learning ecosystem., StrivePartnership, Cincinnati, OH

2018 -2019 Director of Professional Development, Designed and produced a high-quality, annual event (of 6,000+ attendees), two smaller annual symposia, and developed and managed a year-long leadership development program., American Montessori Society, New York, NY

2012 -2017 Senior Director of Programs, - Oversight of Early Care and Education programs ($7M budget) located in underserved populations with direct supervision of 13 Center Directors (2016-2017). - Managed day to day operations of the professional development & training department in providing high-quality professional development training to Learning Grove's staff as well as to teachers in regional and national communities (2012-2016). - Program Director of Greater Cincinnati Center for Montessori Education, a division of Learning Grove., Learning Grove, Covington, KY