Background and Core Values

I'm Kathleen Hayes (she/her/hers), Chicagoan, native Midwesterner, public school parent, connector, advocate, mobilizer. My 30-year career spans the education, journalism and communications sectors, which means I can tap into a range of know-how and knowledge to meet your needs. From my early career in corporate communications and journalism, and throughout my 20 years in the education sector, I've been a writer across a range of topics (snack food, healthcare purchasing, teacher evaluation & compensation to name a few), formats and audiences. I've also worked in multiple areas of the education sector, including six years as a high school English teacher, contributing to a district office policy implementation team, synthesizing teacher policy research in an education research organization, and leading the design of a groundbreaking professional learning community for cooperating teachers of preservice teachers. In the education sector, I'm driven by my belief that ensuring equitable opportunities and outcomes for students means we must provide sustained, embedded support to the adults who serve students in schools. I bring to any professional relationship a thoughtful, curious learning stance and find joy in helping others problem-solve and deepen their learning. My services are backed by an Ed.D. in education policy from Teachers College at Columbia University, an M.Ed. from University of Illinois-Chicago's teacher preparation program, and a master's in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism. 

Whether it’s writing an education policy report or collaborating with school leaders and educators, much of my work affects humans in schools, where systemic inequities are present and continue to harm. So how I work – from my fee structure to my intentional approach to relationship-building – is rooted in my core values: equity, liberation, justice, joy, honesty, vulnerability, and continual learning and growth. In turn, these values stem from my belief in the brilliance of every child and the power of their identities, questions, experiences and ideas; in the power of the voices of those who are silenced by systemic racism, discrimination and poverty, and a commitment to centering and amplifying those voices; and that systemic change is integral to ensuring justice for those harmed by institutional racism, discrimination and poverty.