Who We Are

Education Policy Strategies is an education-focused public policy consultancy specializing in K-12 policy research and analysis, strategy, advocacy, and thought leadership. We work with our clients to maximize their impact to create a more equitable and just world for children and youth.

The mission of Education Policy Strategies is to ensure that those who seek to create positive change in the lives of young people are equipped with the knowledge and capacity to maximize their impact through public policy.

Who We Serve

Education Policy Strategies works with purpose-driven non-profit organizations, coalitions, government agencies, and other entities that are committed to advancing young people’s wellbeing and equity.

Our clients share the belief that all students can succeed when students have the right opportunities and resources.

Our People

Maria Worthen, Founder and Principal Consultant

Our Mission In Motion​

Education Policy Strategies works to improve K-12 education policy and transform inequitable systems by providing services to our clients, including:

  • Policy strategy Roadmapping
  • Education policy research and analysis
  • Policy priority development and alignment
  • Advocacy strategy design and implementation
  • Education policy thought leadership

Our approach

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We Specialize In Supporting Our Clients In The Following Areas:

Federal policy:

  • The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)
  • Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) and the American Rescue Plan (ARP)

State and local policy:

  • Next-generation assessment and accountability
  • Blended and online learning
  • Education technology
  • Competency-based education and personalized learning,
  • Innovation zones
  • Social-emotional learning
  • School safety and health
  • Positive youth development
  • Data systems
  • Cross-agency collaboration
  • Education funding models

Maria Worthen, MSW is the Founder and Principal Consultant at Education Policy Strategies LLC. She is a mission-oriented, nationally-recognized K-12 education policy expert and practitioner who empowers others to create lasting change.

Making An Impact With Education Policy

As the Vice President of Federal & State Policy at the Aurora Institute (formerly iNACOL), Maria led the development of the Center for Policy Advocacy and provided testimony, lawmaker education, and technical assistance to the White House, U.S. Department of Education, and to hundreds of state policymakers. She published numerous articles and papers on federal accountability and assessment and state policies that support competency-based education, personalized learning, online learning, and blended learning.

Maria served as Education Policy Advisor to the Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa. She also worked at the US Department of Education, serving in the Office of Legislation and Congressional Affairs, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, and the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, and at the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement. She was a 2003 Presidential Management Fellow.

Maria’s Passion For Education Policy

Maria has been keenly aware of injustice since she was young and found herself with a fire in her belly to address it. She was spurred by her father’s stories of growing up in segregated schools in Arkansas, to fight racism and institutional injustice. She believes that it is her responsibility to push systems to do better by young people from wherever she sits, and working for justice and equity through policy is one way she can fulfill that obligation. 

A lifelong learner, she believes that we can and should question, shift, and transform old ways of thinking and doing when it serves the greater good, even if it feels uncomfortable. 

Maria’s Work Beyond Education Policy Consulting

Maria started her career as a preschool teacher and is currently a school social worker at a public high school in Northern Virginia. She holds a B.A. in Government and Italian Language and Literature from Smith College and a Masters in Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis. 

"Maria has been able to provide insight into the federal political actions within Washington--a great help as we are not located within the beltway and can easily miss opportunities to influence national policy. Maria is astute, insightful and dependable--great qualities in a fast-paced world."
David R.
Great Schools Partnership

Have a question? Want to learn more about our services?

Connect with Maria and the Education Policy Strategies team here.

Work With Education Policy Strategies

We partner with outstanding leaders and experts who share in our mission and values. If you are a consultant working in education policy, government relations, organizational development, research, or communications, we’d love to connect and find ways to collaborate. Contact us here for more information.

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