Partner to Improve is an education research and consulting group supporting improvement and systemic change in education through powerful partnerships. Partner to Improve offers consulting services for both the research side and practice side of the education improvement enterprise.

About Erin Henrick

Dr. Erin Henrick is faculty in the Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organization at Peabody College of Vanderbilt University. Dr. Henrick is National Faculty for The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning. Her research, evaluation, and professional interests focus on Research Practice Partnerships (RPPs) and using improvement science principles to support continuous improvement in education. Dr. Henrick co-authored the book Systems for Instructional Improvement-Creating Coherence from the Classroom to the District Office. Dr. Henrick received her Ed.D. in Leadership, Policy, and Organization from Vanderbilt University. 

Areas of Expertise

School Improvement and Instructional Improvement at Scale

Dr. Erin Henrick has expertise in supporting large urban school districts to improve the quality of instruction. She was a co-principal investigator for a National Science Foundation (NSF) funded study (known as MIST), which resulted in a practical theory for a coherent system of supports for teachers and schools. She co-authored multiple articles on the topic and co-authored the book Systems for Instructional Improvement-Creating Coherence from the Classroom to the District Office.

Research-Practice Partnerships

In addition to working on a highly regarded and longstanding Research-Practice Partnership out of Vanderbilt University (MIST), Dr. Erin Henrick was the lead investigator of a WTGrant Foundation study which resulted in a framework and related tools for assessing the effectiveness of RPPs. She has presented on this work at national conferences and workshops, and has co-authored an article with a district leader on the value working in an Research-Practice Partnership. Dr. Erin Henrick is currently the external evaluator for two NSF funded RPPs.

Parental Engagement 

Dr. Erin Henrick, along with colleagues Claire Smrekar and Carrie Ramsey, developed a Parental Engagement Program, Connections 360,  which includes a framework and implementation materials designed to support schools in developing a positive school culture that promotes high levels of parental engagement.

Erin Henrick

President of Partner to Improve

About Emily Kern

Dr. Emily C. Kern, director of research and evaluation at Partner to Improve, has spent her career teaching and working to improve education for all students. Dr. Kern specializes in evaluation (with a focus on research-practice partnerships), research design, instrument development, and mixed methods analyses. Dr. Kern earned her PhD from Vanderbilt University in K-12 Leadership and Policy Studies with a minor in Quantitative Methods. Prior to getting her doctorate, Dr. Kern spent 10 years working in highly diverse, predominately low-performing public schools in Austin, TX, as both a classroom math teacher and a math instructional coach. In addition, Dr. Kern has served as a district curriculum writer, provided professional development to teachers and instructional coaches, and mentored new teachers.

Please contact Dr. Kern HERE.

About Andrea Houseman

Andrea Houseman, office manager and research analyst at Partner to Improve, earned an MA in Anthropology and Women’s and Gender Studies from Brandeis University. She has worked in university research settings as both an administrator and a researcher. She is experienced working with grant-related financial systems and has conducted student assessments and observations within school classrooms. Andrea is excited to support the educational improvements and systemic changes brought about through the work of Dr. Erin Henrick and Partner to Improve.

Please contact Andrea HERE.

About Danny Schmidt

Danny Schmidt, senior research analyst at Partner to Improve, received his MEd. from the University of Washington in Educational Policy, Organizations, and Leadership where his thesis investigated the usage and inequities in Seattle Public Schools’ intradistrict school choice policy. During his time in Seattle, Danny worked with the Office of Enrollment Planning to create public-facing interactive data visualizations in Tableau, bilingual informational materials for parents and guardians, and internal communication standards for potential school boundary changes. Before joining Partner To Improve, Danny worked on a research team investigating Networked Improvement Communities.

Prior to graduate school, Danny spent his career working as an environmental educator in K12 settings in both the US and Mexico. He created bilingual educational materials for teachers and students, organized and led professional development trainings for teachers and school administrators, and taught thousands of students in hands-on outdoor classrooms.

Please contact Danny HERE.