Jennifer Vranek Founding Partner
Jenn is expert in college and career readiness reforms, state education advocacy and politics, and teacher/leader effectiveness policies and implementation. Jenn founded Education First in 2006 to partner with policymakers, education advocates, and foundation and business leaders to develop powerful education improvement strategies and generate public and educator support for reform. She has worked with policymakers, educators, business leaders and philanthropists in more than 30 states.
Before starting Education First, Jenn was an advocacy grantmaker for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where she launched major grant initiatives of more than $15 million in the Midwest and southeast. Previously, Jenn served as executive director of Partnership for Learning, a CEO-backed education-advocacy organization in Washington; as co-founder of the Washington, D.C. office and director of benchmarking and state services for Achieve Inc., where she led benchmarking of more than 20 states’ academic standards and assessment systems and she designed and launched the American Diploma Project; and as an analyst at the American Federation of Teachers.
Jenn has served for two years as co-content leader for standards, assessments and teacher/leader effectiveness for the U.S. Department of Education’s Race to the Top Reform Support Network, leading the strategy and delivery of technical assistance on the implementation of 19 states’ plans to implement common standards and assessments and teacher/leader effectiveness systems. Jenn’s other current and recent clients include Achieve, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Baltimore City Public Schools, Council of Chief State School Officers, Data Quality Campaign, Educators 4 Excellence, Hawai’i Department of Education, Hope Street Group, Louisiana Department of Education, Lumina Foundation, National Network of State Teachers of the Year, New York State’s Research Regents Fund, Ohio State Board of Education, Seattle Public Schools, Tennessee Department of Education and Washington state’s Excellent Schools Now coalition. She led or was a team member on the development of winning Race to the Top applications for Hawai'i, Maryland, Ohio and Tennessee.
In 2010, Jenn was honored by the Puget Sound Business Journal as one of the "40 Under 40." A 2004 graduate of Leadership Tomorrow of Puget Sound, she is a member of the advisory board for Stand for Children of Washington. Previously, she served on the board of directors of the New School Foundation, which strengthens early learning through full-day preschool and aligned preschool through third grade schooling, and as vice chair of the National Women’s Political Caucus of Washington. Jenn holds a master’s of public policy from Georgetown University and an AB from the College of William and Mary in Virginia. She resides in Seattle, Washington.