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Learning First Alliance Staff

Cheryl Scott Williams, Executive Director

Cheryl Scott Williams is a nationally recognized leader in education reform and improvement with extensive experience leading nonprofit boards and building successful board/staff relationships.

Prior to coming to the Learning First Alliance, she served as a senior consultant at APQC. She was previously Vice President, Strategic Initiatives at Teachscape, a San Francisco based company that designs and delivers online, job-embedded professional development for teachers and principals. In addition, she has served as Vice President, Education at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), and she spent 14 years directing the Education Technology Program at the National School Boards Association (NSBA) before joining CPB.

Williams is a past president of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), past board chair of the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), and current board member of the National Coalition for Technology in Education and Training (NCTET). She began her career in education as an English Language Arts teacher in Montgomery County, MD, and Fairfax County, VA. She holds a BA and MA in English and Secondary Education from the University of Maryland, College Park.


Anne O'Brien, Deputy Director   

Anne O’Brien joined the Learning First Alliance in September 2007.  Prior to joining the Alliance, she worked for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southeast Louisiana, helping rebuild the agency after Hurricane Katrina. There she managed first the school-based mentoring program and then enrollment and matching for the agency. She has also consulted on the development of school-run mentoring programs. 

O'Brien brings a practitioner's lens to her work, having taught high school biology, physical science, and remedial math at East St. John High School in Reserve, LA, and serving as a Teach For America corps member in the Greater New Orleans region. She holds a Bachelor's degree from Grinnell College and a Master's degree from George Washington University’s Graduate School of Education and Human Development, and she is an alumna of the Education Policy Fellowship Program at the Institute for Educational Leadership. She currently serves as an appointed (by the Arlington (VA) County Board) community member of the Arlington Partnership for Children, Youth and Families. She also blogs on education issues on behalf of LFA for Edutopia.


Tarsi Dunlop, Program and Operations Manager

Tarsi Dunlop joined the Learning First Alliance team in 2011. She came to the Alliance from the Roosevelt Institute Campus Network, where she served first as the National Network Coordinator and then as Director of Operations.

Dunlop originally hails from Western Massachusetts. In 2014, she completed an Executive Nonprofit Management Certificate program at Georgetown University. She received a BA in Political Science from Middlebury College, and she spent her junior year at the London School of Economics. She has also held internships at the National Center for Law and Economic Justice and in the office of the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA). She currently serves on the Steering Committee for the Roosevelt Campus Network's 10th anniversary celebration and on the National Board of Advisors for Forge Columbus, a start-up nonprofit in Columbus, Ohio.