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With permission from Cristo Rey Network

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Associate Partner

Strategic Advising

About Bellwether Education Partners

Bellwether Education Partners is a national, nonpartisan nonprofit of over 50 professionals dedicated to helping education organizations become more effective and achieve dramatic results, especially for high-need students. To do so, we work in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, and provide a unique combination of exceptional thinking, talent, and hands-on strategic support:

  • Our Policy and Thought Leadership practice works to shape the broader education landscape by conducting policy analysis, research and writing, and idea generation, and by advising education entities on policy and public affairs.
  • Our Talent Services practice has two complementary offerings. Talent Advising helps clients build talent-ready organizations where diverse teams can work, develop, and thrive. Executive Search identifies and places education leaders through comprehensive recruiting, supports organizational search processes, and conducts individual career coaching.
  • Our Strategic Advising practice works with leading education organizations on their most pressing strategic and operational issues. We partner to create bold but achievable plans, while ensuring that leaders and stakeholders are in alignment around the path forward.

Why bring all this together? Bellwether was founded on the belief that the only way to ensure that all children have access to high-quality schools is to take a holistic approach to education’s most pressing challenges. Having all three areas of expertise makes our work stronger by tying innovative thinking to perspectives regarding on-the-ground realities.

In this way, Bellwether has carved out a special and desperately needed niche in the education reform landscape. We aren’t just a think tank, a consulting firm, or a human capital organization. We are all of the above and more, providing comprehensive, coherent, and lasting solutions to education’s most long-standing and complicated problems.

Organizational Culture

Bellwether takes our mission of serving educators, students, organizations, and communities seriously. But we try not to take ourselves as individuals quite so seriously. We do challenging work, and we know how to have fun. We welcome different experiences and perspectives because we know that our team is stronger for having a variety of political, cultural, and educational beliefs represented. 

Bellwether strives to make the work rewarding and sustainable so we can find harmony between demanding jobs and full personal lives. We are proud that our team has poets, hockey players, food bloggers, activists, teachers, karate black belts, church leaders, cyclists, and much more. Our flexible work environment allows many of our team members to work where they like, and when they like (within reason, of course). This allows us to operate in ways that feel most productive to us and do more of what we love doing on our own time.

These qualities are clear in the core values that guide our work and reflect what is truly important to us as an organization:

  • Mission Mindset: We are dedicated to dramatically improving outcomes for lowincome students. Our nonprofit status allows us to focus on this mission, and it guides the people we hire and the clients and projects we support.
  • Tailored Excellence: We work with our clients to develop customized, innovative solutions. We direct our unwavering focus on quality toward successful outcomes for our clients.
  • Synergy: We believe the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Our Talent Services, Strategic Advising, and Policy and Thought Leadership teams make each other better.
  • Integrity: We exemplify the highest standards of individual and organizational ethics. We carefully balance client confidentiality with transparency to other clients and the public.
  • Diversity and Inclusion: We believe that to achieve our mission, we must be a diverse and inclusive organization broadly reflecting the various communities we serve.
  • Flexibility: We believe in the philosophy of “working smarter, not harder.” We trust our co-workers and teams to do excellent work in the manner they see fit.
  • No Drama: We have no tolerance for drama or the politics of education affecting our work. We respectfully and proactively deal with frustrations, disagreements, and unexpected hurdles.

Further, we value many forms of diversity and believe race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic issues play an especially acute role in the education sector and consequently our work. By actively seeking and hiring talent with diverse backgrounds and experiences, and maintaining an environment where divergent ideas and perspectives are freely expressed, we increase our collective ability to deliver thoughtful, relevant solutions and analyses for our clients and the education sector.

About the Position

Associate Partners (APs) work as members of small teams and take strong leadership roles in both external and internal capacities.  Externally, APs play an important role with clients and on client engagements by identifying issues, forming hypotheses, designing and conducting analyses, synthesizing conclusions into recommendations, developing work plans, and ultimately helping to implement change with our clients.  Throughout an engagement, an AP is directly involved in discussions and presentations with senior client leadership.  Internally, APs work closely with Bellwether Partners and Principals, and are assigned the role of overseeing and managing the output of more junior staff members (Consultants, Analysts, Fellows) and sub-contractors for Bellwether. 

Associate Partners are accountable to Partners and Principals within Bellwether who, in turn, guide their work and invest in their professional development.  This particular opportunity is in the Strategic Advising practice within Bellwether, led by Managing Partner and Co-Founder Mary Wells and by Partners Lina Bankert and Rebecca Goldberg.  While the AP will have the opportunity to work across the Bellwether practice areas to broaden his/her skills and perspectives, the majority of time will be allocated to supporting Strategic Advising.

In that context, the Associate Partner’s primary responsibilities and duties will be to:

  • take on team and client leadership responsibilities, as described above;

  • partner with clients to develop high-impact business strategies, and implementation plans in response to real-world, time-sensitive challenges brought forward by the client;

  • develop team work-plans and guide team to implement with a high degree of independence;

  • oversee and manage internal Consultants and Analysts who perform research and analytical functions;

  • perform quantitative and qualitative analysis on core strategic issues for clients;

  • identify key data sources, and gather data through interviews and secondary research;

  • support business development through relationship building and input to proposals and actively foster business development opportunities and connections on behalf of Bellwether;

  • write and deliver high-impact reports, presentations, and plans;

  • contribute to Bellwether’s knowledge capture and dissemination;

  • take on internal roles to build out Bellwether’s key capabilities; and

  • generate creative, action-oriented insights and recommendations for both internal and external improvements.


Bellwether is a strong fit for professionals who possess strong personal drive and motivation; demonstrate exemplary professional behavior and values, and who are resourceful, responsible, tenacious, independent, and self-confident. 

The ideal candidate for this position will have formal training and experience from a premier management consulting organization and success as a strategy consultant, bring a sophisticated understanding of relevant issues in education reform, and possess an entrepreneurial spirit.  In addition, the successful candidate will have:

  • at least seven years’ professional experience in a role requiring strategic consulting, project management, research, and analytical problem solving;
  • demonstrable passion and commitment to working in the field of urban education reform;
  • deep familiarity with the challenges facing urban schools and education reform efforts in the U.S.;
  • a well-rounded inter-personal skill set with the capacity to build strong senior client relationships, work effectively in team environment, and facilitate joint problem solving with clients and team;
  • excellent quantitative analytical skills (including high degree of comfort managing financial modeling and data analysis), creativity in problem solving, and a keen business sense
  • strong communication skills, both verbal and written;
  • a highly self-motivated work style and willingness to proactively take on leadership roles within project teams and the firm;
  • maturity, flexibility, and comfort working in a small organization;
  • a strong academic record including a graduate degree, ideally in business; and
  • comfort with some travel.


Bellwether Education Partners provides competitive compensation and an attractive benefits package that includes a performance bonus based on individual and firm success, health care coverage, and a 401(k) plan with an employer matching contribution policy.


Our work is national in scope, and our team is primarily concentrated in three major cities: Washington, D.C.; Chicago; and San Francisco. Although we maintain offices in these cities and strongly encourage our team to regularly access their local office, our flexible working style allows our professionals to work where they have built their lives, thereby enabling Bellwether to hire the best person for each role, regardless of geography.

To Apply

Applications or inquiries about the position should be directed to:

Lynne Graziano, Recruitment and Research Coordinator

The review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled. Applications should consist of a letter of interest and a current résumé and should be submitted electronically.

Bellwether Education Partners is committed to providing equal opportunities. It is our policy to ensure that all individuals with whom we are in contact are not discriminated against on the basis of age, race, ethnicity, color, disability, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran’s status. Further, as described above, Bellwether is committed to building a diverse team and strongly encourages individuals from all backgrounds to apply.