Strategies Overview

What Matters Most

Our work and expertise center on a core set of levers we believe are most critical to supporting change in our education systems including:

Accelerate Academic Success

academic improvement

The global pandemic continues to cast a long shadow on schools and our best efforts at improvement are often undermined by systems that are ineffective, unaligned, and inherently unjust. Education First partners with local school systems and state agencies to advance meaningful change. We apply our own experience as educators and system leaders to help you build more coherent instructional systems grounded in better academic strategies, social and emotional learning and teacher supports. We also support policymakers, advocates and funders to re-envision systems of local, state and federal assessment and accountability to balance the use of data for equity and transparency with data that drives instructional improvement.

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Transform the Teaching Profession

teaching profession

We believe it’s time to transform the teaching profession because the old ways simply aren’t working. More than half of all public schools are understaffed, and most schools still operate with a “one teacher, one classroom” model that fails to meet the needs of many students. We know that educators succeed when they are prepared and trained effectively and when they are supported to help their students thrive academically and socially. We also know that students are more likely to succeed when educators reflect their racial and cultural identities. Education First collaborates with school system and state leaders, unions, and educator preparation programs to design policies, systems and structures that transform how teachers and leaders are recruited, trained and supported. As former educators and system leaders, we understand the challenges of talent development, and we can help you identify the changes that will allow your students and educators to finally succeed.

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Cultivate Coherent & Thriving Systems


Public education is facing monumental challenges–including looming enrollment challenges and funding cliffs in traditional districts– that must be confronted systemically, with focus and collaboration. Today’s district, charter network and state leaders can seize this moment to move beyond sector silos and either/or thinking. By collaborating more authentically within agencies, across agencies and with stakeholders, education leaders can substantially improve the design and implementation of policies, programs and solutions. The result: More resilient, coherence and adaptive schools and school systems. Drawing on our own experience as former system leaders in traditional districts and charter management organizations, Education First helps leaders and stakeholders align around a clear vision and shared priorities; assess and address organizational culture and effectiveness; and implement policies, practices and funding to produce transformative change for students, families and educators.

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Expand Postsecondary Options & Success

All students should have options and support to explore careers in high school and they should graduate with enough academic readiness to pursue and succeed in postsecondary education. Yet too many high school students lack access to high-quality career programming and college-level coursework–and the costs for college keep rising. These challenges fall hardest on students experiencing poverty, students of color and first-generation college students—the same students who have the most to gain from persevering and earning a degree or industry-recognized credential. Education First consultants bring our lived experiences as first-generation college graduates and system leaders to partner with K12, postsecondary and workforce leaders to develop more seamless and meaningful transitions among and across systems.

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

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