So many across the country and world are seeking answers to how to develop school systems that help all students from preschool through graduate school, become knowledgeable, reflective, compassionate and engaged community members working toward our individual and collective thriving. I want this too.

I’ve worked in education with a focus on equity and large-scale systems change nationally for over 20 years. My work in these areas has ranged from partnering with school districts / systems on strategic advising and strategy planning, equity assessments, process design and facilitation. It has also included partnering with funders, universities, researchers, think tanks, policy advocates, community organizers, public speaking, presentations, publications, tools and frameworks.


"It is rare to meet an individual who has a deep understanding of what it means to set ego aside and engage in a collaborative process to find new solutions to the inequities that plague our world.  Sheryl Petty is a masterful facilitator who lives her convictions and brings together people who often appear to approach an issue from opposing positions.  She has been an invaluable thought partner to me in the fight for justice.”  

—Janice Jackson, Education Consultant; Former Senior Associate, National Equity Project; Former Deputy Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Education


Sample Clients:

  • Half Hollow Hills Central School District (NY), facilitated session with Leadership Council on equity and student success

  • Hartford Public Schools (CT), strategic advising on equity, for their future directions strategy planning

  • Baltimore’s Promise (a city-wide, collective impact effort) – co-facilitation with Management Assistance Group (MAG)

  • Southern Education Foundation and the Center for Popular Democracy – facilitation of southern strategy convening to advance public education

  • Panasonic Foundation – presentation to their senior consultant pool on culturally-based approaches to systems change

  • New Models Working Group (a consortium of regional and national funders including Ford Foundation, Hewlett Foundation, Sandler Foundation, Nellie Mae Foundation, National Public Education Support Fund, Stuart Foundation, Southern Education Foundation) – co-facilitation with Movement Strategy Center; joint strategy development for transforming public education in the U.S.

  • National Urban Alliance for Effective Education (NY) – invited presentation to Superintendent’s Symposium on Promoting Lasting Transformation in School Systems

Sample Publications, Frameworks & Presentations:

  • Phillips Academy, Andover, MA. Keynote Presentation. Annual Independent Secondary School Health And Wellness Summit. "Cultivating Reflective, Kind, Knowledgeable & Engaged Human Beings." April 2017.

  • Minnesota Education Equity Partnership. Keynote Presentation. "Deeper Pathways to Educational Equity: Personal Transformation, Systems Change & Movement Building." February 2016 Conference.

  • Book Chapter on higher education in Educating for an Ecological Civilization: Interdisciplinary, Experiential and Relational Learning. Chapter 4: "Field-Building, Equity & Transformation: What We Can Do, How to Do It, and Who We Need to Be." Process Century Press, MN. 2016.

  • Petty, S. (January 2015). Supporting Sustainable Improvement in School Systems: Capacity Building for Equity and Excellence. In Opening the Doors to Opportunity for All: Setting a Research Agenda for the Future. Select Series Essays from the Research Roundtable on Equity and Opportunity in Education. (p.64-74). Washington, D.C: The Equity Project, American Institutes for Research (AIR).

  • Petty, S. (2010). The New Frontier: An Integrated Framework for Equity & Transformative Improvement in Education. Oakland, CA: California Tomorrow.

  • Petty, S. and Zion, S. (2014). Student Voices in School and District Improvement: Youth-Adult Partnerships for Student Success and Social Justice. In Ability, Equity, and Culture: Sustaining Inclusive Urban Education Reform (Disability, Culture, and Equity Series). Eds. Kozleski, E. and K. T. King. New York: Teachers College, Columbia University.

  • Gazmuri, S. K., Petty, S., and Porter, E. (2010). Equity-Driven Systems Change (ESC) Toolkit. A change management toolkit with rubrics and facilitator guides for improving educational institutions. Oakland, CA: California Tomorrow.

  • “Education for Equity & Justice: What’s Needed & What’s Possible for Systems Change?” Panel Presentation. International Education Think Tank. Education for Race and Justice: Education for What Ends? Preparing Children and Youth for an Interdependent World. Harvard Center for Global and International Studies, Advanced Leadership Initiative. Harvard University. March 2010.


"The relevance of Dr. Petty's work for the times we find ourselves in public and urban education speaks for itself. At the core of the problems we face are issues of equity, cultural responsiveness and social justice. Dr. Petty's Equity Framework, coupled with her master facilitation of diverse audiences of stakeholders, create the space, language and conditions necessary for all of us to enter what often are uncomfortable and scary, yet non-negotiable conversationsif we are indeed going to tackle the beliefs, practices and systems that perpetuate inequities and do real service to entire communities and particular groups of students."

—Gislaine Ngounou, Former Chief of Staff, Hartford Public Schools (CT)