The Distinguished Alumnus/a Award honors an alumnus/a who has demonstrated excellence in personal accomplishment, professional achievement, or humanitarian service OR has sustained significant contributions to the school, whose efforts have built community and whose dedication has enhanced the lives of our students, faculty and staff.

2018 Award Recipient

LISA SCHMID ALVORD '61
 
Documentary film producer. Emmy Award winner. Advocate for children and education. Visionary. Lisa Schmid Alvord, Class of 1961, has worn many hats and no ONE descriptor could possibly capture all that she has accomplished and done on behalf of others. Following a successful career as a documentary film maker and journalist, Lisa has made serving children from low-income families her life’s work. As the recipient of the 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award, we honor her for her tireless devotion to giving at-risk children life skills and a strong foundation for the future.
 
Lisa spent her elementary school years at CRS. She commuted to CRS from Millis each day with her older brothers, Paul ’55 and Mark ’59. Following CRS, Lisa attended the Windsor School and then Boston University. After college, Lisa worked as an investigative reporter for Channel 12 in Providence, RI, traveled to the Easter Islands in New Guinea to work on a documentary, and returned to work at WGBH and at WCVB Channel 5, where she was a producer for Chronicle.

In 1984, Lisa produced several films on education, including the Peabody Award-winning documentary “Somerville High.” This documentary took an honest look at the school and its problems and exposed Lisa to the significant challenges both students and educators face in the US educational system. In 1992, she won an Emmy Award for an ABC After School Special called “In the Shadow of Love: A Teen AIDS Story.”

In the early 1990s, Lisa joined forces with CRS alums Kippy Dewey ’60 and her brother Toby ’62, to address the escalating violence facing inner-city youth in Boston. Together, they founded an innovative organization called Urban Improv, which uses improvisational theater to teach violence prevention, conflict resolution, and decision-making skills. Under Lisa’s leadership, Urban Improv partnered with Boston Public Schools to develop a social and emotional learning program for students. Since 1992, it has served more than 70,000 children in the greater Boston area, helping them explore challenging issues such as peer pressure, teen pregnancy, gangs, bullying, or racism. In 2002, Lisa and her Urban Improv team won a New England Emmy for “RE:Action!” – a two-part special showcasing the organization’s methodology (directed by CRS alum Peter Temple ’62).

Spending summers in Westport, MA Lisa has a strong connection to the Massachusetts Southcoast. Lisa recognized an opportunity to change the lives of young girls in the New Bedford area through education. According to the Boston Globe, “The city is home to many low-wage workers whose daughters battle poverty and the pull of traditional roles.” Working with a coalition of community leaders, educators, financiers, fund raisers, nonprofit executives, parents and a Board of Directors, Lisa opened Our Sisters’ School in 2008, an independent, tuition-free, non-sectarian middle school whose mission is to educate and inspire economically disadvantaged girls from the New Bedford area and empower them to step into the future with valuable life skills and a mindset of achievement and excellence by providing a safe, supportive, and academically challenging environment. Many OSS graduates go on to receive full academic scholarships at independent schools such as Andover, Milton Academy, St. George's, Loomis Chafee, and others.

“The school’s faculty and staff work closely with students’ families and other volunteers, building ties between school and community, and developing the kinds of personal and institutional support that will ensure the continuing success of the students in high school, college, and in later life,” said Lisa. “There are over 150 volunteers involved in the day operations of the school, reflecting a deep commitment from the local community to its faculty and students.”

Lisa Schmid Alvord has made an enormous impact on the lives of so many, and CRS is honored to present her with this year’s 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award.

Previous Award Recipients

List of 4 items.

  • 2016 - Talbot "Toby" Dewey '62

    Graduating from CRS was just the beginning for Toby Dewey. In 1971, he returned to CRS to be an assistant teacher in the the then brand new 7/8 grade. He served many roles are CRS which include directing the 7/8 grade spring musical, writing plays, creating the 7/8 advisor system, coaching tennis and soccer and teaching 5th grade in addition to 7/8 grades. He also served on the building committees for the construction of Foster Hall, the Early Childhood Building and the Activity Center. 

    In 1981, Toby joined his mother as co-director of the Charles River Creative Arts Program (CRCAP) and became director in 1986. Toby headed the program for 24 years. Under his leadership, the summer camp program became a model for similiar programs throughout the country and abroad. CRCAP not only brought many talented staff members to CRS, the program also recruited a number of students who enrolled in CRS because of the reputation of the summer program. 

    A decade later, Toby, his sister Kippy and Lisa Schmid Alvord '61 founded Urban Improv, an interactive theater program teaching conflict resolution and violence prevention to local youth. We are proud to count Toby among our alumni!
  • 2018 - Jeffrey Raider '95

    Jeff is the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Harry’s Inc., a company that manufactures and sells razor blades and grooming products to brands and consumers all over the world. Harry’s Inc. is headquartered in both New York City and Eisfeld, Germany. Its New York offices are home to Harry’s, the direct-to-consumer men’s grooming brand founded in 2013 that was created to provide men with a return to the essential shaving experience – simple, well-designed products offered at a fair price. The German team oversees blade manufacturing at the century-old razor factory that Harry’s merged with in 2014.

    Prior to Harry’s, Jeff co-founded Warby Parker, the transformative lifestyle brand that offers designer eyewear at a revolutionary price while leading the way for socially-conscious businesses. Before starting his own companies, Jeff was a Senior Associate at private equity firm Charlesbank Capital Partners and also worked at Bain & Company. Jeff graduated from The Johns Hopkins University with a BA in International Studies, earned a Masters in International Affairs from The Johns Hopkins Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, and also earned an MBA from Wharton Business School. Jeff currently lives in lower Manhattan with his wife and three young children.
  • 2014 - North Lyman Cunningham '60

    North’s involvement at CRS has been long and varied. In the early 1970s she taught kindergarten and coached 7th and 8th grade girls sports teams and in the 1990s returned to coach tennis. North served on the Board of Trustees from 1979 to 1985 and again from 2004 to 2013. She served twice as a member of the Head of School Search Committee, selecting Cathy Gately and Gretchen Larkin. North is currently co-chairing the 2014 Advisory Board. North has made numerous contributions to the Alumni Council, serves on the Development Committee, and has been a member of every capital campaign committee. She also hosted her class’ 50th reunion at her home. North and husband, Rip, chaired the Fair and sat on numerous committees as parents.
     
    North’s two brothers Terry ’57 and Linc ’64 are CRS graduates as well as are her two children, Gil ’88 and Winnett ’90. North’s mother believed in the first 10 years of education as a very important time of preparation for one’s future, and helped the school many ways. North is a very active Garden Club member, an avid tennis player, fisherman, and skier and helpful in numerous activities in Dover and Maine.
  • 2013 - Kristen George '92

    Kristen graduated from Bates College in 1996 and then spent two years serving in the Peace Corp in Malawi teaching biology at a high school and working with kids on AIDS education. She chose this location because of a family trip to Africa when she was at CRS.

    After her time in the Peace Corp, she returned to school to earn a MPH from the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Feeling she needed more grassroots training, she made the last minute decision to become a nurse and earned a BSN from Johns Hopkins. She spent 5 years working as a senior clinical nurse at the University of Maryland Medical Center in the Shock Trauma Center, the country's top rate trauma center. It's a 12-bed unit and she served on the leadership team, maintaining the unit and overseeing the nursing staff. 

    Kristen feels passionate about public health and policy and bettering the lives of others. She has worked tirelessly toward this aim each day at her job but also gets to fulfill this mission by responding to emergencies when she can. She was on the ground in Haiti two weeks after the earthquake, providing medical care, in 2012. Kristen joined the Air Force Reserves as a flight nurse and transports injured soldiers to and from the front lines to home bases in planes set up as hospitals. She teaches at-risk kids about distracted driving and decision-making. She also co-chairs a patient evacuation program in the event of a disaster in or around the University of Maryland Medical Center and sits on the Board of Driectors for a non-profit organization that gives small grants to start-up development projects. 

    Kristen is a member of an engaged CRS class who organizes reunions at the drop of a hat and gathers for mini-reunions often. She and her two sisters attended CRS.