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.
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.
Maria Worthen, Founder and Principal Consultant
Education Policy Strategies works to improve K-12 education policy and transform inequitable systems by providing services to our clients, including:
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 who is driven to inspire and empower others who are passionate about this work to create real and lasting change.
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 has been keenly aware of injustice since she was young and found herself with a fire in her belly to address it. Specifically, she was spurred by her father’s stories of growing up in segregated schools in Arkansas, to fight racism and institutional injustice. Two particularly influential educators in her K-12 education helped her find her voice and set her on a path that would eventually bring her to education policy. She believes that it is her responsibility to be a force for positive change 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.
Earlier in her career, Maria was a preschool teacher and a social worker, practicing with children and youth in a variety of settings. Born in Italy and raised in Iowa, 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. She is based in Falls Church, Virginia, USA where she lives with her husband, son, and two feline overlords
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.