Kirsten Schmitz Phelps

Director, Student Success Initiatives

Kirsten Schmitz Phelps joined Helios Education Foundation from Chicago Public Schools where she was most recently a program manager in the Department of Student Assessment, managing policy development and implementation for the student growth component of Chicago’s teacher evaluation system.  She had previously spent several years as an analyst for Bellwether Education Partners and as a program coordinator at The Aspen Institute, working on numerous K-12 and community college-focused projects and developing a strategic plan for philanthropic funders seeking to expand access to early childhood services. Kirsten began her career as a Teach For America corps member in Dallas, where she taught sixth grade English Language Arts and Reading.

Kirsten’s background in consulting and education program management has allowed her to develop a deep skillset in strategic planning, data collection and reporting, and cross-team coordination.  

After earning her bachelor’s degree in Journalism at the University of Missouri, Kirsten earned a Master of Arts in Urban Education Policy at Brown University. She worked as a research consultant while in graduate school at both the Rhode Island Department of Education and the Rhode Island After School Plus Alliance, and as a consulting analyst at Mass Insight Education, where her work focused on improving parent and community relations and college readiness at high-need high schools.