Lauren Leigh Kelly


Lauren Leigh Kelly taught high school English full-time for 10 years in New York, focusing on curriculum development and teaching for social justice. She developed curriculum for courses in Spoken Word poetry, Hip Hop Literature and Culture, and Theatre Arts at the school where she also taught 10th and 12th grade English.

Lauren graduated from Wesleyan University with a Bachelor of Arts in English. She then spent a year teaching English to children in Japan. Upon returning to New York, Lauren accepted a New York City Teaching Fellowship through which she taught high school English while attending St. John’s University, earning a Master of Science in Adolescent Education. 

After teaching 9th grade English and serving as a Journalism adviser in Long Island City, Queens, Lauren accepted a position teaching 10th grade English and College Writing at a public high school in Long Island where she also co-directed the school drama club. 

Lauren earned her Ph.D. from Teachers College, Columbia University, where she also taught graduate courses in English Education and organizes the annual Hip Hop Youth Summit hosted by the Institute for Urban and Minority Education (IUME). 

In 2016, Lauren received a postdoctoral research fellowship at Boston University's School of Education, through which she conducted ethnographic observations of urban charter high school classrooms, investigating the development of critical consciousness through adolescents' schooling experiences. 

Lauren’s current research involves exploring the function of Hip Hop culture as popular text in secondary classrooms and the role of critical media literacies in fostering classroom dialogue around youth identities and social justice. 

"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." -Nelson Mandela