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The Life of Tamir D. Harper

An Education Disrupter

At 20-years-old, Tamir Harper is a non-profit executive, an outspoken disruptor for public education, and a Frederick Douglass Distinguished Scholar.

Tamir, a Southwest Philadelphia native and a proud product of the School District of Philadelphia. He currently attends the American University, in Washington D.C., as a part of the awarding winning Frederick Douglass Distinguished Scholars program and is currently majoring in public relations strategic communications with a minor in education. Tamir is an unapologetic speaker, advocate, reformer, and proud education nerd.

He’s not only a changemaker, but a natural leader.

—— Dean Cheryl Holcomb-Mccoy, American University School of Education

When Tamir was 17 years old, Tamir co-founded UrbEd Inc., a nonprofit that advocates for a quality and efficient urban education, by working to disband the school-to-prison pipeline, increasing teacher diversity, improving building conditions, and advocating for local control of schools. He currently serves as the executive director of UrbEd and is active on campus as the editor-in-chief of The Blackprint, the only students of color news publication on campus and serves the co-chair of American University President’s Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Tamir has a mission to create sustainable change for generations. With that mission, Tamir has had the honor of serving in many capacities. His work has been featured in TIMES magazine, The Washington Post, PBS News Hour, and The Philadelphia Inquirer. He formerly served as the National Policy Director for Student Voice, the National Student Officer for Educators Rising, and as the longest serving Commissioner on the City of Philadelphia Youth Commission. He has had the opportunity to serve as a three year member of the School District of Philadelphia Superintendent’s Advisory Council and as a member of the School District of Philadelphia k-12 Counseling Advisory Group. Serving in those capacities has educated, empowered, and inspired him about youth and advocacy work. In 2016, Tamir traveled to Washington, D.C. to serve on a panel for the United States Office of Education concerning teacher diversity moderated by former Secretary of Education John King and started working with Black Male Educators for Social Justice to improve teacher diversity.

Holding true to his passion, Tamir believes that students should receive diversity in their schools, funding in their schools, and a quality education that allows very student to succeed. Harper will continue advocating for all youth in similar situations and strives to play a role in creating sustainable change for generations. At American University for a peer advisor for first year students as they transition to higher education, which continues to inspire him to be an educator.

Tamir looks forward to returning to Philadelphia and entering the classroom after graduating from American University. Learn more about Tamir by visiting or via social media @tamirdharper.