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, President of Partner to Improve, is an education researcher, evaluator, professional development provider, speaker, and author. Dr. Erin Henrick is a professional development facilitator for the Research+Practice Collaboratory and has facilitated over seven National Science Foundation CSforALL workshops, supporting teams of researchers and education practitioners to develop high functioning research-practice partnerships aimed at ensuring that all students in the United States have access to high quality computer science education. Dr. Erin Henrick has facilitated sessions for the Education Leadership Institute at Union University, focused on developing school leaders’ capacities to use continuous improvement methodologies and view improvement as an organizational issue that requires improvement across multiple layers of a system. Dr. Erin Henrick has also served as faculty for the Governor’s Academy for School Leadership at Vanderbilt University, leading sessions on parental engagement, improving instruction at scale, and improvement science. Dr. Erin Henrick also provides school improvement consulting services, and most recently has consulted with The Webb School, a private boarding college preparatory school in Bell Buckle, Tennessee. She also conducted an ½ day seminar for high school principals in Denmark on system-wide instructional improvement and was the invited speaker for a professional development retreat for over 150 teachers from the Silkeborg high school, the largest high school in Denmark.

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, senior research analyst 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 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, 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.