Coach, Convene & Build Capacity

Effective leaders never stop learning

Big changes require big shifts in thinking. Education First can help you create the intentional opportunities your staff, project team or network needs to reflect and improve together. We design and facilitate convenings, workshops and retreats that are grounded in best practices in adult learning—with opportunities for participants to explore job-embedded problems, practice and apply what they’ve learned and increase their sense of agency. Through our informed facilitation, executive advising and convening design, we shape powerful learning experiences for communities of practice and help system leaders build capacity, transform individual and organizational practice and take collective action. Education First:

  • Designs convenings, one-off workshops and retreats (explore our Strategic Convenings Toolkit)
  • Manages communities of practices, learning networks and funder collaborations
  • Facilitates learning and shared decisionmaking among executive teams
  • Advises executives on strategy and implementation
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Strategic Convenings Toolkit

Education First developed the Strategic Convenings Toolkit to help organizations of all types and sizes to effectively and efficiently host outstanding meetings that energize participants and lead to real change. We routinely plan and facilitate events engaging from a dozen to hundreds of participants. The most transformative interactions stem from a basic premise: Everyone in the room is an expert and the job as planners/facilitators is to harness the power of the group you have convened. Based on hundreds of successful convenings, Education First created our Strategic Convenings Toolkit and Coaching to help planners everywhere realize the full potential of their next convening.

Access the Strategic Convenings Toolkit

Coach, Convene & Build Capacity Experts

Education First is a seasoned team of trusted advisors to the leaders responsible for delivering what many Americans want most: public education that effectively prepares all students for success in college, careers and a world of constant change.

Susan Bodary
Susan Bodary
professional headshot for Kelly James
Kelly James
Ann Duffy
Ann Duffy
Principal Consultant
Celena Siprajim
Celena Siprajim
Principal Consultant
Learn about our people

Recent clients

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

As part of the Foundation’s strategy to improve math outcomes for students in grades 6-12, Education First is helping the foundation design new communities of practice and learning networks in California that will boost teacher skills, knowledge and confidence in math. Issues to resolve include determining what school district leaders and educators say they need, identifying the appropriate focus of and participants in networks, and bridging the gaps in capacity and resources in rural and urban areas.

Joyce Foundation

We have worked for nearly a decade with Joyce Foundation to strengthen educator pipelines in Chicago, Minneapolis and Indianapolis. Our engagement has included deep, targeted technical assistance to support teacher preparation partnerships of districts and EPPs in and across these three priority districts, including hosting partnership meetings to spur closer collaboration with regional educator preparation providers and advising the Chief Talent Officers on issues running the gamut from strategy through classroom implementation.

NoVo Foundation

We conducted research to inform NoVo’s SEL investment strategy for spreading high-quality, integrated SEL to all schools in the country. The NoVo Foundation and Education First have awarded over $6 million in grants in the SEL Innovation Fund (now called the SEL in Action Awards) to teachers and districts to support their efforts to incorporate SEL into their classrooms, address student trauma, build adult SEL skills and celebrate cultural diversity. We designed and facilitated a professional learning community and many convenings for all grantee teachers and districts.

Through-year Assessment Network

Through virtual quarterly learning sessions, a convening for academics and assessment teams, coaching and publications, the network supports 10 states that are implementing or exploring through-year summative assessment to develop high-quality systems of assessment that advance student learning.

Learn about our clients

What’s next? Action steps to help you benefit from our expertise:

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