Amanda Perkins

Amanda was a people geek before #peoplegeeks were cool. She has a keen interest in what gives people purpose, what makes them change (and resist change) and what helps them grow. She married those interests with her belief in the power of public education to serve as Education First’s first Director of Human Capital. In that role, Amanda designed and implemented our talent strategy—including talent selection, onboarding, personalized professional support, evaluation and career pathways—using what works in cutting-edge organizations from inside and outside public education. After five years leading our internal talent work, Amanda became one of Education First’s Principals, turning her focus outward to bring promising talent and culture practices and tools to other organizations within the education sector, leading our Thriving Organizations work. 


As a first-generation college student, Amanda knows that public education can help all children discover and thrive. And she wants all children to thrive. She has a decade of experience in improving teaching effectiveness for multiple school districts and a national nonprofit. Amanda began her career in education in the Strategy and Planning Office at Chicago Public Schools and her approaches to adult learning and professional coaching and growth were shaped greatly by the time she spent leading the New Teacher Center-Chicago program. Amanda’s work with Education First’s clients has been focused mainly on helping adults understand their strengths and achieve their potential, as showcased in the work she has done to support, and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In her first year at Education First, Amanda also served as project manager for USED’s Reform Support Network’s Teacher and Leader Effectiveness and Standards and Assessment Communities of Practice.

Amanda lives with her family outside of Denver and is now a Collaborator with Ed First. In her personal life she is an “avid amateur” who enjoys dabbling in painting, making mosaics, practicing yoga, mixing essential oils and gardening.

Amanda's expertise

  • Human Capital/People Geek
  • Educator Evaluation, Development and Support
  • Planning and Problem Solving for Successful Implementation
  • Professional Development

Recent clients

  • The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
  • The Education First team
  • Smarter Balanced
  • The US Department of Education

Amanda's human capital work books

  • Switch by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
  • Practice Perfect by Doug Lemov, Erica Woolway and Katie Yezzi
  • Work Rules! By Laszlo Bock

Amanda likes

  • Exploring magical places with my family

  • Making medicine using plants that are all around us, like this flowering Osha.