Design Equitable Strategy

Facilitation and insights to refresh and develop great strategies

You want better, more equitable outcomes for students. That requires a living strategic plan that embodies your community’s values, articulates your intended impact and spells out bold actions to achieve the goals. Education First supports organizations to become more people-focused, inclusive, equitable and coherent. Our strategic planning, program design and organizational effectiveness projects center the voices of people who are closest to the problems you are trying to solve. Tapping into our team’s extensive on-the-ground experience, we help you navigate thorny challenges, explore a range of solutions and make tough but necessary choices about what you will and will not do. Along the way, you will gain new problem-solving tools and expertise and confidence in your future direction. Education First:

  • Researches the landscape and develops organizational strategy
  • Assesses organizational culture and effectiveness
  • Drafts program designs, plans and strategies
  • Aligns budget, staffing and resources
  • Recommends organizational growth and funding strategies
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Coherence Lab

Coherence Lab

Coherence is a mindset and collective approach that consciously addresses silos and bias in public education. The Coherence Lab coaches school system and state education agency executives and middle managers to develop more capable, coherent and resilient organizations. The Coherence Hub provides free, research-based and field-tested tools that education leaders need to address fragmentation, strengthen coherence and improve outcomes for all kids. The Coherence Framework, Toolkit, and Assessment are a product of our partnership with the Council of Chief State School Officers.

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Design Equitable Strategy 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.

Jenn Vranek professional headshot
Jenn Vranek
Founding Partner
Ila Deshmukh Towery
Ila Deshmukh Towery
Rashidah Lopez Morgan professional headshot
Rashidah Lopez Morgan
Bill Porter
Bill Porter
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Recent clients

Equal Opportunity Schools

Education First partnered with Equal Opportunity Schools (EOS) to refine the organization’s strategic priorities and learning agenda to set the stage for continued innovation, growth, learning and impact towards removing barriers to students’ access to rigorous coursework.

North Carolina Racial Equity and Social Impact in Education

Education First facilitated the North Carolina Racial Equity and Social Impact in Education Community of Practice consisting of a group of 15 philanthropists and social impact agents who came together to ask what it would take to move the philanthropic and social impact landscape in North Carolina so that it operates with a racial equity and racial justice lens. Participants identified several areas to prioritize for collective visioning and action. Education First conducted a landscape scan to elevate the challenges that NC education leaders face, as well as the supports they need, when advancing a focus on racial equity in education.

Policy Innovators in Education (PIE) Network

We developed a three-year strategic plan with the Policy Innovators in Education (PIE) Network (PIE Network), which included deep engagement with all staff and the Board, network members and funders. The plan articulated significant growth in services and policy generation for members and how the staff and fundraising could grow as well. When COVID closed schools, PIE was able to accelerate the plan implementation and accomplished the plan’s goals in just two years. We refreshed the strategy with PIE in 2022 to continue the network’s strong momentum.

University of St. Thomas and St. Paul Public Schools

The University of St. Thomas and St. Paul Public Schools partnered to design a district-operated “lab school” that incorporates promising practices for addressing the needs of all students while also prioritizing a focus on preparing and developing effective teachers. The design of this school incorporated a shared vision for K12 curriculum and teacher preparation. Education First led a multi-pronged user-centered design approach, engaged stakeholders and conducted research to develop a strategic plan that guided and informed the school’s design.

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