DR BEN JENSEN
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.
DIRECTOR 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).
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.
DR PHOEBE DOWNING
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.
Jacqueline is working with an Australian state on system-wide school reform and teacher development. 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.
James Button Director communications and strategy
James is working 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.
Sanaya Khisty associate
Sanaya is helping to evaluate professional learning programs across schools in Victoria, and to design and implement reforms to improve initial teacher education around the world. Before coming to Learning First, she managed casework for a federal MP, primarily working with people from non-English speaking backgrounds.
DR ANNA CLARK
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.