Who We Are

Our People

Olivia Kelly


Olivia is an Associate on the Engaged Students team. She conducts applied research and policy analysis on classroom, school, and community environments that foster care and equity for historically underserved communities. 

 Olivia’s work is bolstered by her extensive experience as an educator. She spent nearly 16 years in the classroom, teaching everything from middle school English Language Arts (ELA) to college-level English and Education courses. She interned at the Texas House of Representatives and assisted pivotal research for the Arce v. Douglas and González v. Douglas ethnic studies cases out of Arizona. Prior to joining Education First, Olivia partnered on research with the Building Equitable Learning Environments (BELE) Network as a member of the research team at the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL). Her former students, and the students who are directly impacted by her research, motivate her to work for more equitable systems of schooling and community-building for all students and families. Olivia is guided by the belief that when schools and communities are spaces of authentic, critical care, they are well-positioned to become equitable environments as well.  

Olivia holds a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy from the University of Texas at Austin. In her free time, she enjoys reading mystery novels, spending time with her husband (John) and family, making up new nicknames for her dog (Hugo), and taking long walks while listening to her favorite podcast: Who? Weekly. 



Academic and Non-Academic Supports for Students

Research, Program Analysis & Program Strategy

Policy Analysis & Development


Olivia likes

Woman with sunglasses on and brown dog
Olivia and her dog, Hugo.
Woman and man exploring cobble stone streets
Olivia and her husband, John, exploring Prague.