Taryn Campbell remembers the exact moment that launched her into a career of public service. During an undergraduate course on the sociology of memory, her professor pushed her to understand how communities and countries grapple with traumatic events in their histories and how those events affect the fabric of those societies. That experience instilled in Taryn the fundamental idea that everyone should be provided the educational opportunities they deserve.
Her familiarity with the political and environmental history of China drew her to Changsha, where she taught English to young people in migrant schools. Here, she saw her teacher colleagues focusing deeply on memorization. To help support critical-thinking skills and creativity, she created teacher workshops to promote project-based learning for Chinese elementary and middle schools.
She stayed abroad working on various international development projects, including a vocational training program for low-skilled high school dropouts. Focusing on the students’ strengths of communications and creative expression, Taryn developed partnerships with USAID programs to create a performance group that produced public service announcements on public health issues.
In graduate school back in the states, Taryn strengthened her efforts on youth development programming through the lens of community engagement processes, program evaluation and program design. How do you design programming to lift communities out of poverty? How do you design them responsibly and with the community? How do you measure their effectiveness? These questions became the underlying principles that she believes should be applied to American public education.
At The Boys’ Club of New York, she applied these principles to curriculum development, program management and evaluation. She also launched professional development initiatives around masculinity, gender, diversity, inclusion and equity. Through The Boys’ Club’s afterschool programs, she saw the challenges of the K12 school system that their programs were designed to support, and Taryn knew more needed to be done to fix the root cause.
That’s why she joined The Broad Center. As part of The Broad Academy’s program team, Taryn helps Academy Fellows tackle equity in their education systems.
What are people often surprised to learn about you?
People are often surprised to hear that I may or may not have been in a girl pop group when I was in high school.
What was your first paying job?
I probably wrapped a thousand holiday gifts working at my mother’s toy store in high school.
Articles by Taryn
The Broad Academy Experience, The Broad Center Blog, August 3, 2018
Over the last 15 years, The Broad Academy has helped hundreds of current and aspiring urban school system leaders develop their leadership and accelerate their impact on behalf of the students and families they serve. Check out the work Taryn Campbell and The Broad Academy team does to create an exceptional experience for our fellows. Read more.