Ever since I can remember, I’ve been a dabbler. I love exploring new things, learning about people and discovering perspectives different from my own. It’s why I studied for a Bachelor’s in Anthropology and African American Studies at the University of Virginia. The history and stories were fascinating. These majors didn’t exactly set me on the clearest career path, though, so after graduation, I worked as a bus driver while I figured out what to do next.
I’d always been interested in education but didn’t want to become a teacher. Being the center of attention in the classroom was not my idea of a dream job – I wanted to work more individually with students to help them navigate life. To bring together my main interests – education and working with people – I decided to pursue a Master’s in School Counseling at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
During my Masters, I came across the career academy model. The more I learned about it, and Ford Next Generation Learning (the organization helping deliver it), the more I realized I wanted to work as a school counselor within the model. The stars aligned and I landed my first job at Hillsboro High School in Nashville. It was wonderful – in addition to my role as a counselor, I got to lead the implementation of a new International Baccalaureate program and be part of a new district-wide school counselor leadership team. While the students and my colleagues were fantastic, after a few years I realized I wanted to step things up and help spread these educational approaches across the US.
So I went back to school (yet again!) and studied for a Master’s in Public Policy at the University of Virginia. Afterward, I began working with Ford Next Generation Learning, managing their Roadmap: a five-phase, multi-year process for transforming teaching and learning, the culture, systems, and structures of schools, and partnerships between schools and their larger communities. I managed the whole process, from supporting coaches and training new ones to dealing with contracts and invoicing.
As a Ford NGL team member, I also devised tech platforms to help make our lives easier. But I kept hitting barriers. I often found myself thinking: “If only I could write some code to help solve this, it would help make everyone’s life much easier.” So, last summer, I completed a full-time, 12-week software engineering bootcamp. I’ve since been applying my latest skills to building new things within the organizations I work with. This really sums up my career: I just keep following my heart and interests and putting it all together in exciting new ways. I’ve learned that there’s no single career path, besides just living your life.
I first met Edge several years ago in Nashville, when they were exploring the possibility of adapting Ford NGL’s model for the UK. As the manager of the Ford NGL Roadmap, I got to help Edge figure out how to translate the work in the US to a completely different context. A few months after their visit, I remember being at the beach with friends, half-vacationing, half-working, and thinking: “Wow, this has never been done before and I get to help create what comes next. This is so exciting!” It was a lot of responsibility, but thrilling too – I had a role in shaping the future for students across the pond.
Following Edge’s successful pilot, Olly approached me in spring 2020 about his vision for Edge Future Learning. To help transform education across the UK, he wanted to create a new arm of the organization that would weave together a framework of best practices from around the world, convene a network of like-minded partners, and provide training and support for schools. Easy, right?
In June 2020, I officially joined Edge as an associate and began bringing their vision to life. A year and a half later, Edge Future Learning has an amazing training offer and an excellent network of partners. Our work is gaining traction across the country, and we have a whole team of talented, driven individuals. I have these moments where I think: “We’re doing it, we’re actually doing it!” I’m overwhelmed with gratitude for our team and all that we’ve accomplished in such a short time. Currently, I’m helping bring new parts of the EFL vision to life and get to do what I love – work with people, consider various perspectives, figure out what things look like in practice, and work towards the overall mission of making education more meaningful for students.
Looking back, I remember how much I wanted to transform education across the US. To think I’m now doing this around the world is incredible – it’s remarkable watching all this work grow and seeing the impact it has on students, educators, and partner organizations. It’s unbelievably energizing. I’m beyond excited to be on this adventure with the EFL team and can’t wait to see what’s next on the horizon.