Nan Stein

Nan Stein

Senior Research Scientist

B.A., University of Wisconsin; M.A.T., Antioch College; Ed.D. Harvard University

Directs several national research projects on sexual harassment, gender violence, and teen dating violence in K-12 schools; writes and lectures extensively on these issues.

The Shifting Boundaries study co-led by Stein is cited in this July 14, 2015 New York Times editorial focused on helping to prevent sexual assault.

Shifting Boundaries: Lessons on Relationships for students in Middle School, and, Shifting Boundaries: Lessons on Relationships for students in Middle School, are featured as resources from The National Criminal Justice Reference Center, February 2015.

Nan Stein presented at the National Summit on Gender-Based
Violence Among Young People organized by the U.S. Departments of Justice, Education, and Health & Human Services April 6-7, 2011; read all the background research materials>>

Nan Stein testified Feb. 9, 2011 at a hearing on the Legislative Order to Make Recommendations on Bullying and Cyber-Bullying Laws at the Massachusetts State House; read testimony >>

Spring2013SexualHarassment Resource-1Click the icon for the latest list of Sexual Harassment in Schools Resources and related publications by Nan Stein.


Nan Stein is a senior research scientist at the Wellesley Centers for Women, where she directs several national research projects on sexual harassment, gender violence, and bullying in schools. She frequently gives lectures, keynote addresses, and training to school personnel, and serves as an expert witness in lawsuits on sexual harassment and child sexual abuse in K-12 schools. She was co-principal investigator and lead author of the Seventeen magazine (September 1992) survey on sexual harassment in schools, Secrets in Public: Sexual Harassment in Our Schools. Stein co-authored three teaching guides, Flirting or Hurting? A Teacher’s Guide on Student-to-Student Sexual Harassment in Schools for Grades 6 through 12 (1994); Bullyproo(1996) that explores teasing and bullying in elementary grades as the antecedents of sexual harassment; and Gender Violence/Gender Justice: an Interdisciplinary Teaching Guide for Teachers of English, Literature, Social Studies, Psychology, Health, Peer Counseling, and Family and Consumer Sciences (grades 7-12),   (1999).

Her book, Classrooms and Courtrooms: Facing Sexual Harassment in K-12 Schools, was published in 1999 by Teachers College Press of Columbia University. Her writings have appeared on op-ed pages, in education journals, law journals, and several books. Among those journals that have published her writing include The Harvard Educational Review; Journal of School Violence; Journal of Emotional AbuseDuke University Journal of Gender Law & Policy; Hastings Women’s Law Journal; Educational Leadership; Women’s Studies Quarterly; West's Education Law Reporter; and The Peabody Journal of Education. Her op-ed pieces have appeared in Education Week; New York Teacher; and USA Today.

In 1998, Dr. Stein was commissioned by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (U.S. Department of Justice) through the Hamilton Fish National Institute on School and Community Violence at George Washington University to write papers on sexual harassment and sexual violence in schools. Beginning in 1998, she has served as co-principal investigator for the establishment of a National Violence Against Women Prevention Research Center funded for five years by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and has worked across the nation with staff from sexual assault and domestic violence agencies in their prevention education efforts in schools.

Additionally, her research has been supported by the U.S. Department of Education, the National Education Association, and by several private family foundations. In 2000, with funding from The Soros Foundation and several smaller foundations, she conducted research on the intersection of sexual harassment and school safety/zero tolerance, and has published several articles/chapters on the gendered dimensions of school safety. In 2005 she became the Co-Principal Investigator in a two year research project funded by the US Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice, working with 6th & 7th graders looking at the “precursors of teen dating violence.”  As of the fall of 2007, she began research looking at the intersection of bullying and sexual violence in middle schools, funded by the CDC.

Dr. Stein has appeared on many television news and talk shows, including The Today Show; NBC Nightly News; CNN; Nightline with Ted Koppel; CBS Evening News with Dan Rather; The Oprah Winfrey Show; Good Morning America; and the Phil Donahue Show. She has conducted dozens of radio interviews, including segments on Christian Science Monitor Radio, and All Things Considered on National Public Radio, and has been interviewed by scores of journalists. She has been appointed to the editorial boards of the Violence Against Women Journal (2000-2003) and the Journal of School Violence (2001).

Dr. Stein has been working in the area of sexual harassment in schools for over 30 years; she developed the first curriculum on the subject in 1979 for the Massachusetts Department of Education, and conducted the first survey in the country on peer-to-peer sexual harassment in 1980. Prior to working at the Massachusetts Department of Education, she was a middle school social studies teacher in Dayton, Ohio, and worked in the Somerville, Massachusetts schools as a drug and alcohol counselor. Dr. Stein holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Wisconsin, a Masters of Arts in Teaching from Antioch College Graduate School of Education, and a Doctorate in Education from Harvard University Graduate School of Education. In 2003, Dr. Stein was appointed by the Governor of Massachusetts as a Commissioner on the Governor’s Commission on Sexual and Domestic Violence for a term of three years. With Professor Sally Merry, Ph.D. of the Wellesley College Anthropology Department, Stein teaches a seminar on Gendered Violations at Wellesley College. In 2007, she received the Outstanding Contribution to Education award from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.

Download curriculum, resources, and findings from the column on the right--click here for a link to the DVD utilized with the Shifting Boundaries curriculum.