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Edie Harding ’71: Making a Difference through Education

Leigh Green
Edie Harding ’71, remembers her days as a “Shipley Lifer” fondly. “I really felt I could do anything.”

Harding’s first grade class created a newspaper they called The Beechwood Bulletin. “We were all reporters. We’d collect news and write about pets and things first graders care about. It really empowered us to find our own passion,” she recalls.

Now as Senior Program Officer for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Harding leads the organization’s educational strategy for Washington State. Much of her focus has been on bolstering the foundation’s support of early childhood development, particularly for low-income students and students of color in the Seattle area. Harding is a strong supporter for integrated social-emotional curricula such as Shipley’s own SEED program, saying “social-emotional development is hugely important for all kids.” In her spare time, she serves on the Seattle Repertory Theater Board having caught the acting bug at Shipley.

Harding feels she was “pretty darn lucky” to have attended Shipley. In a career spent ensuring quality education for countless others she’s followed an innate desire to simply make a difference. “Take risks. Give back. Live life,” she says. “No one can take your learning away from you.”
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The Shipley School is a private, coeducational day school for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students, located in Bryn Mawr, PA. Through our commitment to educational excellence, we develop within each student a love of learning and a desire for compassionate participation in the world.