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Because it takes a village - an organized one.

City on a lake

​ELEVATE PUBLIC SCHOOLS is a joint venture between Landmark Consulting Group, EF International Advisors, Advanced Reasoning Institute and a growing list of collaborators under a unified vision, purpose and pedagogy.

Elevating a school's performance and ensuring long-term sustainability require a multi-dimensional effort. For example, academic achievement cannot be achieved in isolation - it must be coupled with addressing the organizational culture, financial resources and other areas.

That's why we're collaborating with diverse teams possessing distinct expertise to provide a more coordinated set of support and solutions to schools aiming to enhance their performance or undergo growth. Indeed, as the saying goes, "It takes a village," yet we emphasize the significance of having an organized one.

Team Leaders

Sarah Gallagher - Practice Leader - Education Sector

Sarah Gallagher

Practice Leader - Education Sector

Sarah Gallagher is an educational equity-driven leader with 20+ years of systemic change-management experience within public, and parochial schools. Sarah’s belief that all students deserve the opportunity to achieve their own dreams drives her commitment to providing high quality and highly engaging learning opportunities for all students.


Sarah began her career in education as a math and science teacher in Providence, Rhode Island were she could frequently be found engaging her students with real-world experiences and where she became an early-stage adopter of project and problem based learning.  Driven to find the best ways to keep students’ curiosity at the forefront of learning, Sarah shifted her focus from the classroom to becoming a researcher at the University of MIchigan.  During her time at U of M, she joined the project based learning lab where she studied the teaching practices that yielded the highest academic and student engagement in science classrooms. Her time as a researcher continues to inform her deeply curious and analytical approach to solving complex educational challenges.


As a native New Orleanian, Hurricane Katrina created an urgency for Sarah to return to direct service to students and schools.  Sarah has since trained hundreds of teachers as a coach through Teach For America, served as a school principal in Chicago, served as a superintendent in northwest Indiana, and led a charter management organization as its chief academic officer and CEO.  As CEO, she leveraged the Design Studio process to transform school culture and academic outcomes resulting in attendance increases from 80% to 96% and school renewal outcomes shifting from one-year terms to the consistent granting of full-term renewals within a 24 month period.  She is a believer in the power of the Design Studio and she is driven to empower schools with this powerful methodology as they achieve mission fulfillment for their students.

Sarah holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Notre Dame, a master’s degree in secondary education from Providence College, a master’s degree in developmental psychology from the University of Michigan. 

Ted Fujimoto - Managing Director

Ted Fujimoto

Managing Director EFIA

Ted Fujimoto, holds over two decades of experience as a leading strategy consultant in the education reform and charter school sector nationwide. Ted has provided strategic guidance and leadership development support to charter school associations during their early stages in states including California, Washington, Texas, New York, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, New Jersey, South Carolina, and Missouri. Additionally, he has provided expert advice on scaling and ensuring quality for hundreds of charter schools. Through facilitating strategic planning processes, Ted has enabled teams across the country to concentrate their efforts on achieving high impact and sustainability.


What sets Ted apart is his exceptional understanding of the challenges faced by grassroots efforts in transforming public education, the complexities involved in scaling school impact while considering advocacy and association roles, and the evolving priorities of major education philanthropic foundations across the 24+ states he has collaborated with.

Having founded his first company at age 18, Ted is an entrepreneur and expert in leadership development and organizational redesign who has worked with for profit and not for profit groups including LVMH, General Motors, Remy Martin and the California Chamber of Commerce.  


In 1992, Ted became passionate about education reform as he realized his biggest challenge was finding qualified people to hire to help grow his business.  This ignited the co-development and co-creation of Napa New Technology High School, which opened its doors in 1996. The school conducted all learning through project-based learning, modeled after the project management protocols used by Ted’s company while combining a focus on creating a culture and team agreement of trust, respect and responsibility. He co-founded the national school design network that evolved to become the New Tech Network and helped develop the replication strategy and methods for Big Picture Learning.

Shortly thereafter, Ted sold his first company and became an equity partner in a consulting firm that specialized in redesigning the customer retail network experience for 11 automotive and hospitality brands worldwide. Through this experience, he learned the importance of creating an intentional culture as an essential ingredient to scale with quality. Both New Tech Network and Big Picture Learning replication methods were inspired by this work on how to scale–and now have over 500 schools combined in their networks.

Ted was subsequently invited to oversee both the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Carnegie Foundation grants for a Sacramento region education and workforce development intermediary organization working to redesign schools. He is the recipient of the 2002 Center for Digital Government “In the Arena” Award for Education Leadership in transforming vision to reality.

Steven Zipkes - Practice Leader - Project-Based Learning

Steven Zipkes

Practice Leader - Project-Based Learning

Steven Zipkes, proud Educational Practitioner currently holds several positions as the Founder and President of Advanced Reasoning in Education: Think Global PBL Academies and Founding Principal of Cedars International Next Generation High School in Austin, Texas where he designed and opened his next 100% PBL, STEM school in 2016 and notably he is the former Founding Principal of Manor New Technology High School. 

Zipkes’ design of a 100% Project Based Learning school that focuses on STEM integrated curriculum and 21st-century essential skills has been recognized globally, distinguishing his school design in many arenas.

One of Mr. Zipkes’ greatest professional honors was a visit by The President of the United States, Barrack Obama, to Manor New Tech who highlighted the successful PBL STEM practices and the positive impact the school’s design had on student achievement.


Steven was invited to present at the Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard University in response to his contribution and recognition for closing the Achievement Gap and in 2014 was awarded the National STEM Visionary Award by the International Association for STEM Leaders. 


He has been featured at many STEM events, including the US News and World Report’s STEM Solution Conference, and was the opening Keynote Speaker at the 2018 International Lean In STEM Conference in Warsaw, Poland. He is a contributing author in both Design, Make, Play: Growing the Next Generation of STEM Innovators and Deeper Learning: Beyond 21st Century Skills. 


His schools have had numerous case studies conducted on his innovative PBL STEM approach, including the OSPrI study, a research collaboration between George Washington University, George Mason University, and SRI International, and the S3 STEM School Study out of The University of Chicago. 


Mr. Zipkes hails from The University of Texas at Austin and holds Mid-Management Principal and Superintendent Certifications and has served in both of those roles throughout his career.

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