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Gwen Baker

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Gwen Baker
Chief Operating Officer and Partner
Strategic Advising

Background: Gwen Baker is Bellwether's Chief Operating Officer and serves as a partner with the Strategic Advising practice area. She has over 15 years of experience in education reform and focuses primarily on the uses of technology to advance ambitious goals.  

Before joining Bellwether Gwen was CEO and Co-Founder at CoreSpring, Inc., a nonprofit whose mission is to  provide the field with access to high-quality formative assessment content and digital authoring tools. During her tenure at CoreSpring, the team partnered with organizations to build a shared bank of over 50,000 open education resources in core subject areas. They also built a suite of authoring tools that enables item developers with little or no technical experience to draft complex items that measure learner’s progress toward college- and career-ready goals. Today, educational technology companies, nonprofits, and schools use CoreSpring’s technology to administer millions of items each month. 

Before CoreSpring, Gwen worked at NewSchools Venture Fund, where she led the organization’s portfolio data collection and analysis efforts as well as the community of practice work. Before NewSchools, Gwen served as Director of Knowledge Management at New Visions for Public Schools, the largest school reform organization in New York City. Gwen also worked at Teachscape, Inc., where she served as Vice President of Teaching and Learning and Senior Vice President of Operations. She began her career at Andersen Consulting (now Accenture), working with clients to build performance-based and simulated learning solutions. 

Gwen holds a master’s degree in Learning Sciences from Northwestern University, an interdisciplinary graduate program focused on applying the principles of cognitive and computer science to education and business, and a bachelor’s degree in Corporate Communication from Ithaca College. She lives in New York City. 

Why I do this work: The fact that wealth (or lack thereof) directly influences the quality of education a child receives from a public institution infuriates me. This needs to change.  

Recent Media

Gwen Baker
Lauren Schwartze
Amy Chen Kulesa

Despite some gains over the past 20 years, significant numbers of students are not meeting grade-level expectations as defined by performance on academic assessments. Meanwhile, few schools are able to support the sort of accelerated academic learning needed to catch students up to grade-level expectations.

Evidence indicates this is not for lack of educator commitment or dedication. Instead, many educators lack clarity about how to help students catch up. Common messages about holding a high bar for academic rigor and personalizing learning to meet students where they are can be perceived as being at odds with one another.

Unfinished: Insights From Ongoing Work to Accelerate Outcomes for Students With Learning Gaps,” synthesizes a broad body of research on the science of learning in order to inform efforts to help students close gaps and meet grade-level expectations. This deck argues that helping students catch up is not about rigor or personalization — classrooms need both.

Closing learning gaps requires students to be motivated and engaged to grapple with challenging, grade-level skills and knowledge — while also having their individual learning needs met.

The report identifies what must happen among educators, systems-level leaders, teacher developers, instructional materials providers, and technology experts to move beyond the dichotomy of “rigor versus personalization” and toward a future that effectively blends the two.

Title image for Bellwether publication