Improving educational outcomes
for low-income children
Established in 2011, the Smarter Learning Group is a national consulting firm that helps organizations build stronger partnerships, attract more investment, and achieve better results in improving educational outcomes for low-income children
SERVICES & CAPABILITIES
We help clients create and execute strategic plans that are ambitious, achievable, and actionable. We specialize in helping non-profit organizations and public agencies expand their services, work more closely with school districts, and pursue new approaches to scaling and sustaining their work. We advise CEOs, executive directors, and senior leadership of non-profits and foundations. Our clients recognize the value of our thought partnership, confidential guidance, data-driven approach, and ability to think creatively and deeply about the challenges they face.
We help clients cultivate relationships and develop new approaches to attract additional investment. We support the development of innovative public-private partnerships between and among federal, state and local government agencies, foundations, and other private-sector investors. We have particular expertise in building school-community partnerships involving a wide range of organizations working across the cradle-to-career continuum. We help our clients refine their message, align programmatic initiatives, improve results, secure funding, and strengthen their overall case for support. Learn more about our cohort-based consulting services.
We understand how to build, manage, and leverage the power of networks of organizations and individuals to solve problems. We help our clients accelerate progress, expand their influence, crowd-source ideas, and build bigger constituencies for what they offer. We provide leadership and management to solutions-focused campaigns in education. We help our clients make measurable progress and achieve collective impact on some of the most persistent and seemingly intractable problems that our society faces. We have a proven track record of success in helping communities and organizations improve outcomes related to early school success, afterschool and summer learning, and high school graduation.
EXPERIENCE MAKES THE DIFFERENCE
Ron Fairchild is President and CEO of the Smarter Learning Group. Prior to launching the firm in 2011, Ron served as the founding CEO of the National Summer Learning Association and the executive director of its predecessor organization, the Center for Summer Learning at Johns Hopkins University from 2002 to 2010. He has extensive experience in fundraising, program management, growth strategy, board development, campaign leadership, and communications. His earlier positions include serving as the director of education programs for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and as an education associate with the Public Education Network. He is also a former public school teacher who holds a B.A. and master’s degree from Vanderbilt University.
Bob Saffold is Vice President of the Smarter Learning Group. Prior to joining the firm, he served as chief operating officer of National Summer Learning Association in Baltimore, MD. Bob has extensive experience in nonprofit and public-sector leadership, including program development and implementation, budgeting, operational planning and management, resource development, and strategic planning. Bob has served as a classroom teacher, school district administrator, and CEO of a local education foundation. He has a B.A. from Wofford College, a master’s degree in education from the University of South Carolina, and a master’s degree in policy development and program evaluation from Vanderbilt University.
Jenny Atkinson is a senior consultant with the Smarter Learning Group. Jenny Atkinson has worked with Boys & Girls Clubs for over twenty years, serving as the executive director of a Boys & Girls Club in Boston, creating education and art programs on a national level, training and advising Club staff around the country and working directly with children and teens. Jenny has served on advisory committees for PBS shows including Design Squad and The Secret Life of the Brain. She has been a jurist for The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, Coming Up Taller Awards. She has taught college courses on child growth and development, human development and sociology. Jenny holds an undergraduate degree from Harvard University and a master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
OUR CURRENT & PAST CLIENTS INCLUDE