Consultant, Public Education Reform
13 Years on Board (Founding Director)
Shari Berland is an independent consultant specializing in public education reform initiatives. Shari currently manages strategic planning, program evaluation, and policy analyses to support district redesign efforts throughout the US. While at the New York City Department of Education, Shari helped to create more than 250 new schools for underserved youth; in Chicago, Shari has worked with education accelerators and venture philanthropies such as LEAP Innovations, The Chicago Public Education Fund, and The Renaissance Schools Fund (New Schools for Chicago), managing projects ranging from the development of a local Breakthrough Schools cohort and a personalized learning program for high school students, to turn around policy and school-based budgeting. Shari has also worked directly with Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to establish and refine an RFP process to support the Renaissance 2010 initiative and has participated in more than 70 new school review panels. Recent national clients include SchoolWorks, the National Association of Charter School Authorizers, the Indiana Charter School Board, the New Jersey Department of Education, and the Raza Development Fund. Shari currently sits on the Local School Council of the Disney II Magnet School and on the Education Council of the Christopher House Elementary School, both in Chicago. She is also a founding board member of Pilot Light, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the integration of food and nutrition education into CPS curricula and policies.
Earlier in her career, Shari was a general policy practitioner focusing on issues such as emergency management and women’s rights. After 9/11, Shari worked for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help develop and coordinate the World Trade Center Federal Recovery Office in lower Manhattan. Shari was a senior staff member at FEMA from 1994 to 1998, advising Members of Congress regarding political and programmatic issues. Shari has also lived in the Middle East and Europe, working on relevant social/public policy issues. She directed research for the Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel and drafted legislation for a Victims Witness Assistance Program that was later implemented by Israel’s Ministry of Justice. Following the fall of communism in the Czech Republic, Shari conducted market and social research for a prominent firm in Prague. Shari was able to hone her project management skills in NYC at a private sector firm, KRC Research & Consulting (research arm of BSMG, Worldwide), where she created value-added marketing and branding strategies for corporations such as Merck, Monster.com, and Compaq.
Shari holds a BA in Sociology from the University of California at Santa Cruz (1993) and an MPA from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (2000).