Joe Anderson
Senior Consultant

Joe collaborates with district and school leaders, educators and funders to design and apply innovative strategies to challenges in K12 education. In partnership with the NoVo Foundation, he supports school districts and CMO teams through a design process to build more equitable environments in which to learn and work. He also manages the SEL in Action Fund that provides grants and technical assistance to educators and LEAs addressing students’ social, emotional and academic wellbeing. Recently, Joe worked with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Walton Family Foundation, and multiple SEAs and CMOs to reimagine summative assessment, and with the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to develop a framework for more equitable research design and practice in student assessment.

Joe believes that every student has a right to excellent teachers and schools. As an undergrad at Widener University, he witnessed the inequities between schools around the university in Chester, PA and those a mile away in wealthier neighborhoods. His desire to close opportunity gaps led him to Teach For America and teaching elementary and middle school in the Rio Grande Valley and Austin, TX.

Prior to Education First, Joe served as a Policy and Research Specialist at the Indiana Department of Education. He earned his Master of Public Affairs from the LBJ School at the University of Texas. He lives with his wife and two daughters in Austin, where they beat the heat by visiting Texas’ beautiful rivers and swimming holes. Joe also spends his time playing soccer, cooking and eating as much BBQ as he can.

Joe's expertise

  • Convene learning communities
  • Design for equity
  • Social, emotional and academic development (SEAD)
  • Coherent instructional, assessment and accountability systems
  • Invest with impact

Recent clients

  • NoVo Foundation
  • Texas Education Agency (TEA)
  • Chan Zuckerberg Initiative
  • Chicago Public Schools (Empowered Schools Cohort)
  • Wallace Foundation

Joe likes


  • The great outdoors!
  • anderson-bbq
    Mmm...barbeque