For the next few months I’m going to be your eyes and ears into the current Teach For America case team. To kick things off in this first post, I thought it best to cover the basics: a little bit about me and a little bit about our current work. As the project (and blogging) continue, I will use future posts to highlight a few more things in-depth. But first, let’s set the foundation.
About me: I joined Bain & Company as a college intern back in 2005. I was studying Public Policy at Duke at the time, and even then I had a strong interest in education policy, but after graduation I was really eager to continue building my analytic toolkit and Bain offered the perfect opportunity to do just that. In my third year with Bain, I took six-months off to work for the Gates Foundation in Seattle where I was able to put my Bain toolkit to use addressing the meaty education policy challenges I feel passionately about. I loved the experience and decided then that I would do a joint-degree in policy and business. Flash forward a few years and I just recently graduated from Harvard’s joint-degree program with HBS & the Kennedy School, where I got both an MBA & a Master’s of Public Policy. Along the way, I also did internships with education organizations (U.S. Department of Education and an after-school non-profit in South Africa) and I completed my Capstone joint-degree project with a research project and set of recommendations for improving management capacity in State Education Agencies. Whew. As you can see, I’m pretty passionate about education reform and feel lucky I got staffed on this project!
Our project: As part of our global commitment to education, Bain has an ongoing partnership with Teach For America. This particular project is a deep-dive into some recommendations that came out of a project last year. That initial project examined ways in which Teach For America could better support their alumni interested in careers in k-12 education, and specifically those interested in school system leadership (e.g., superintendent). Because that work identified the principal role as a critical first step – and because we need many more great principals in the US – this current project is focused on understanding leadership career pipelines for principals.
The end goals of this project have become two-fold. The first goal is to ultimately provide Teach For America with a set of recommendations for how they can support their alumni in preparing for principal roles. In order to create meaningful recommendations for Teach For America, we must first understand how school districts attract, hire, develop and retain great school leaders. As we do this research we will be learning from many leading districts and CMOs from across the country. We will visit districts in-person to speak with HR professionals and principals and we will also conduct a survey of teachers and principals in a variety of districts. We believe that our learning from this process and the information that we collect will be valuable and useful not only to Teach For America, but also to the broader education community that can learn from the work of these districts and CMOs. So, the second end goal of this work is to publish a whitepaper that captures what we have learned in a way that will be insightful and useful to other districts/CMOs and the education community more generally.
With that, we have surveys to write, district visits to prepare for and lots of reading to do. I’m off!
— Kendall Fitch, Consultant, New York