Effective governance is essential for all complex organizations. The Ed-Fi Alliance is no exception to this rule, and we have devoted significant staff time and resources to updating and formalizing our governance structure in 2018. By “governance structure,” we simply mean that we have assigned roles and created processes to ensure we’re running Ed-Fi in accordance with our mission, vision, and guiding principles at all times. 

It’s not that we’ll be operating far differently moving forward, we’ve simply added more procedures to document our practices and have created more opportunities for the broader Ed-Fi Community to get engaged. This was a logical next step for the Alliance; we are growing rapidly and are encountering more and more opportunities to partner, collaborate, and expand our technology.  

Through our governance structure, we aim to: engage our community in structured and meaningful ways; highlight the benefits of interoperability where it intersects larger challenges; equip leaders to promote the use of quality, accurate, and secure data throughout their organizations; recognize and incorporate feedback mechanisms from the vendor ecosystem; strike an appropriate balance between stakeholder engagement and structured decision-making; allow time for feedback to inform all key strategic and operational decisions; promote the Ed-Fi mission and vision.


Here’s a visual representation of our governance structure:

Ed-Fi Governance Structure

This chart illustrates the fluid, community-based approach we take to managing the Alliance. We make decisions based on input from the Community, always maintain transparency, and balance priorities and practicality. We seek input from outside experts when considering new opportunities, and plan to maintain our agility so we can continue to implement community recommendations in a timely manner as we scale.


What’s New to our Model?

  • Community Workgroups – These work groups ensure both IT and non-IT participation in our decision-making and play a crucial role in formalizing opportunities around Ed-Fi standards.
  • Governance Advisory Team – This group serves as the formal liaison between the Ed-Fi Community and our internal team, coordinating the collection and review of educator, IT, and business perspectives.
  • Leadership Council – We are thrilled to be forming this council in 2019, comprised of superintendents, chief state school officers, and education thought leaders.

In addition, we now have a formal process for surfacing and tracking ideas, requests, and opportunities, as well as a polling process for community input on proposed changes and opportunities.


Who’s on the Ed-Fi Governance Advisory Team?

You may hear from one of these folks at some point requesting your input, and you’re always welcome to contact them as well.

Ed-Fi Alliance and MSDFChris Moffatt, GAT Chair

Troy Wheeler, Ex-Officio

Maureen Wentworth, Ed-Fi Product Management

Jami O’Toole, Michael & Susan Dell Foundation

Work GroupsDean Folkers, Nebraska Department of Education (Assessment Work Group)

John Raub, Wisconsin Department of Instruction (Finance Work Group)

Jamie Martinez, Volusia County Schools (Assessment and Visualization Work Group)

Tim Casey, Skyward (Technical Advisory Group)

At LargeStephen Fedore, Tulsa Public Schools

Mark Racine, Boston Public Schools

Satish Pattisapu, Arizona Department of Education


Community Workgroups

In 2018, we established the following community work groups to inform our work in specific growth areas:

  • Assessment Work Group: The Assessment Work Group gathers the perspectives of the assessment community (SEAs, LEAs, vendors, and thought leaders) and strategizes collectively with the aim of making the Ed-Fi data and technology standards more widely adopted.
  • Finance Work Group: The Finance Work Group gathers the perspectives of the financial community (SEAs, LEAs, vendors, and thought leaders) and strategizes collectively with the aim of making the Ed-Fi data and technology standards more widely adopted.
  • Reporting and Visualization Work Group: The Reporting and Visualizations Work Group is shaping the Ed-Fi Alliance’s investment in a free toolset that “lights up” the Ed-Fi Data Standard.


Looking Ahead

In 2019, we plan to fully operationalize this governance structure, establish our Leadership Council, and form new community workgroups. We have always been a community-driven organization and this updated governance structure ensures we will continue to hear and incorporate the views of all audiences our technology impacts.

To keep the feedback loop between our staff and community strong, feel free to reach out to a member of our Governance Advisory Team (or any of us) any time. You are our feet, brains, and hearts on the ground and are literally at the center of our organization.

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