Aaron North, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

TITLE: Vice President, Education

FUNDING AREAS: Charter schools, K-12, and higher education

CONTACT: anorth@kauffman.org, 816-932-1000

IP TAKE: As a Teach for America alumnus with a resume that includes extensive involvement in the charter school movement, North is the type of educator that Kauffmann likes to fund. This is a VP who knows firsthand the challenges and issues faced by charter organizations.

PROFILE: Aaron North is the vice president of education at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, based in Kansas City, Missouri. The foundation supports education and entrepreneurship programs, keeping much of its focus on the Kansas City area. Kauffman's education models initiative looks for promising innovations in instruction and school organization that lead to improved student achievement. It sees charter schools as a source of that innovation, and North has extensive experience in charter school organizations.

Before joining the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation (often just referred to as the Kauffman Foundation), North was founding executive director of the Missouri Charter Public School Association. His charter school experiences go back further, however, to Minnesota, the state that launched the nation's first charter schools in the early 1990s. While in Minnesota, North worked as a charter school sponsor and in the Minnesota Department of Education's Office of Choice and Innovation. He also has experience in charter school governance, serving as secretary of the board of a charter school in Minneapolis. North brought his charter school experience to the Kauffman Foundation and serves as board secretary of the foundation's Ewing Marion Kauffman School, which started in 2011.

North's duties at Kauffman extend beyond charter schools. He helps lead a college access and scholarship program for deserving students in the Kansas City area. The Kauffman Scholars program identifies students in middle school, then works to prepare them for college and support them until they complete a degree. The Kauffman Scholars program has supported about 1,500 young people in Kansas City, providing academic advising and mentoring throughout high school and college.

As Kauffman's director of education, North monitors the success of the Kauffman School and Kauffman Scholars program to ensure they are on track to meet their goals, making changes to the programs as needed. Charter schools, charter networks, and other organizations seeking support from North and Kauffman should have a strategic vision for student achievement, be able to show how they will use data to monitor their progress, and be willing to change course when necessary to meet their goals.

North began his education career as a Teach for America member. This national organization recruits top college graduates to teach in high-need schools across the United States. While at Teach for America, North taught English at a high school in rural North Carolina. Before entering education, he worked at Andersen Consulting and Sprint PCS. North holds a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Kansas and a master's degree in public policy from the University of Minnesota's Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs.