Our staff employs its extensive experience in government, policy research, think tanks and classroom teaching to advise governments, organisations and schools.
Dr Ben JensenCEO
Ben has advised governments in Australia, North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia on education strategy and reform. Before founding Learning First in 2014, he was director of the Grattan Institute’s School Education Program. He also worked with numerous education systems across the world during five years at the OECD, where he conducted international research on education policy and school and teacher effectiveness.
Katie Roberts-HullDirector of Policy
Katie is working on how high-performing systems have reformed early school education, and on evaluating professional learning programs across systems. She has taught in a disadvantaged rural school in Texas under the Teach For America program, and worked in education policy role in the US at TNTP (formerly The New Teacher Project).
JAMES BUTTONDirector Communications and Strategy
James works with Learning First and its clients to develop a narrative of school reform, told in strong stories and plain language. He spent 20 years as a journalist with The Age newspaper in Melbourne, was a speechwriter for former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, and worked at the Grattan Institute.
DR MEGHAN LOCKWOODManager
Meghan works with school systems to design and evaluate professional learning for teachers. A certified coach in Harvard’s Data Wise Improvement Process, she has taught Year 6 English and social studies in Massachusetts and English as a foreign language in Santiago, Chile. Meghan wrote her dissertation about how a large US system supported teachers’ learning through collaborative inquiry, a hallmark of professional learning structures in the world’s top-performing systems.
Jacqueline’s work focuses on school system reform, and how the interaction between teacher professional learning and high-quality curriculum can drive improvement. Before joining Learning First she managed the Centre for New Public Education at the Foundation for Young Australians. She also worked as a classroom teacher at a government secondary school in Melbourne's outer northern suburbs.
DR PHOEBE DOWNINGSenior Associate
Phoebe has produced a report for the US National Center on Education and the Economy on how the world’s high-performing systems have improved their school leadership. Her work focuses on system reform, with a focus on high-performing systems such as Canada, Singapore and China.
Sanaya is helping to evaluate professional learning programs across schools in Victoria, and on a school improvement model for Tasmania. Before coming to Learning First, she managed casework for a federal MP, primarily working with people from non-English speaking backgrounds.
DR ANNA CLARKLeadership Consultant
Anna works with Learning First’s leadership and training projects. A consultant with INSEAD, one of the world’s leading business schools, she trains middle and senior managers in Asia, Europe and Australia on leadership development.
Georgie BoschExecutive Assistant and Operations Associate
Georgie works closely with the CEO in finance and manages the operations of the business. Before joining Learning First she worked for 20 years in professional services and industry in Executive Assistant and Operations capacities.
Rachelle Cole Associate
Rachelle works with school systems to improve assessment practices and teacher professional learning. Before starting at Learning First, she taught languages and humanities in a Melbourne secondary school, where she was also domain leader. She has also worked as an assessment and curriculum consultant for schools and non-profit organisations.
Zoe WrightJunior Associate
Zoe, a recent Bachelor of Arts graduate from the University of Melbourne, is evaluating teacher professional learning programs. She has spent time working as a teacher’s assistant at a primary school in Melbourne’s west, and in the communications team at Cape York Partnership.
Michelle HuangData Analyst
Michelle helps to evaluate professional learning programs by analysing surveys of teachers and school leaders. She has experience in data processing and management for a large-scale children’s health research project. She is pursuing a Master of Data Science at the University of Melbourne.