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. Henrick, President of Partner to Improve, is an education researcher, evaluator, professional development provider, speaker, and author. Dr. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. Henrick is currently the external evaluator for two NSF funded RPPs.

Parental Engagement 

Dr. 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. Kern received her Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in K-12 Leadership and Policy Studies with a minor in Quantitative Methods. Dr. Kern specializes in quantitative analyses, data-driven decision making, district and school accountability, and improving math education at scale. During her time at Vanderbilt, Dr. Kern worked as a research assistant for several studies and as the instructor of record for the undergraduate course Public Policy. She provided both quantitative and qualitative analyses for the longitudinal “Middle School Mathematics and the Institutional Setting of Teaching” (MIST) project, which was a research-practice partnership with urban districts intended to support the improvement of math instruction at scale. In addition, she spearheaded a quantitative comparative analysis of math instruction between classrooms in urban districts in the U.S. and China (MIST-China). Dr. Kern has also collaborated with Dr. Jason Grissom to assess the relationship between a racially representative educator workforce and minority student education outcomes and to examine how principals in urban schools spend their time.

Prior to getting her doctorate, Dr. Kern spent a decade working in highly diverse, predominately low-performing public schools, 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.