Dana Borelli-Murray
Dana Borelli-Murray

Dana Borrelli-Murray, Educator

Dana is an applied anthropologist living and working as school administrator in Providence, RI. The daughter of a musician and an international flight attendant, Dana’s passion for culture and the beauty of diversity developed early, as she declared her future career in anthropology at age ten. During college, she studied in Italy and Ecuador and interned with the National Geographic Society. After graduating early, Dana enrolled in a Masters-PhD program at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and studied under linguistic anthropologist David Samuels. Her master’s thesis entitled "Sounding Joy: The Role of the Hollow Square in Sacred Harp Singing" explores the physicality of music making in shape note singing culture. For this project, she lived in a trailer parked in Mr. Boodle Holcombe’s yard in Ider, Alabama and worked in a chicken house when not attending church services. Her research explores the intersections between history and community, spirituality in music, and the performance of identity. 

Dana took a leave of absence from her PhD program to complete a second master’s degree in Urban Education Policy at Brown University. There, she used her social science training to interrogate education policy from a critical race theory perspective. She studied the intersection of anthropology and education under famed anthropologist Dr. Shirley Brice Heath while working as her teacher assistant.

Dana is currently the Expanded Learning Director at Highlander Charter School in Providence. She manages multiple federal grant programs, developing programs that expand and extend how, when, and where learning takes place for students and families. She is driven to explore alternative education system and prove that understanding human cultural difference is vital to policy-making. 

Dana serves on the board of directors for Longitude, an international non-profit based in Providence. She is a Theta II cohort member for Leadership RI and is a member of the Extraordinary Rendition Band where she currently toots her 1930's-era tenor saxophone.

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