WAVES Team Members-Zelle Allyson Crawford

Zelle Allyson Crawford


Originally an educator from Boston, MA’s South End “Zelle” (short for Elizabeth) has always been an elementary school teacher at heart. A long-time resident and community member of the South Bronx, NY, whenever possible Zelle spends time in rural New Jersey, the island of Puerto Rico, and wherever “duty calls.” 

From deep roots in the contemporary K-12 education reform movement, over the past several decades Zelle has led and learned from a wide array of communities, organizations, groups, and individuals of many ages working towards equitable access to education in the United States (U.S.) and its insular territories. 

Zelle’s broad, interdisciplinary experience touches academic, nonprofit, for-profit, and government sectors, and focuses on social wellbeing. Under Zelle’s leadership at Room to Grow (a community-based organization dedicated to supporting parents of young children, birth through age three) a dedicated team delivered high quality parenting programs in the Northeast (NY & MA) and achieved growth, fiscal sustainability, and improved community integration for the nonprofit across its multi-state social service operation. 

Zelle is an inaugural “OG Fellow” of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s signature Culture of Health Leadership programs (Interdisciplinary Research Leaders, 2016). 

Most recently, Zelle co-founded evolutionforward – a national education network dedicated to child-parent wellbeing – with a diverse group of interdisciplinary, intergenerational leaders from across the country and beyond. Zelle is the co-author of a children’s zine that highlights Afrolatin Bomba dance as a healing social art, as well as other educational publications to advance U.S. child-parent wellbeing.