I am ELP: Justin Wells, Chief Program Officer

What’s your new role?

I am serving as the Chief Program Officer (CPO) of Envision, a new role for the organization. My job is to steward the overall academic model of Envision Education, which is enacted through our four charter schools in the San Francisco Bay Area and through our nationwide consulting arm, Envision Learning Partners (ELP).  

What does Envision Education hope to achieve with this shift?

Before the CPO role was created, the bridge between ELP and our schools ran through the CEO, at the very top of the organization. The intent of my role is to lower the altitude of that bridge and add lanes. I am working to increase the bandwidth of learning between our schools and our nationwide coaching. 

How does it support Envision E ducation’s mission and vision?

Since its founding, Envision has been dedicated to the idea that students deserve an education that attends not just to what they know, but also to what they can do and how deeply they can reflect. (See our principles of High-Quality Performance Assessment, or HQPA.) And we’ve always been committed to serving not only students in our own schools but also students everywhere, by sharing our ideas with public schools and advocating for shifts in policy.  In that sense, Envision is proud to be living out the original purpose of charter schools: places to test ideas and, if they work, share them. The job of the CPO is to ensure that we live up to that ideal.

What’s your favorite part of your new role?

I am interacting daily with broader swath of Envisioners, including students, teachers, and school leaders. I directly support a team of directors of academics and student services who are brilliant and collaborative. Plus, I still get to hang with ELP!

What are you bringing from ELP that you’re using in your new role?

My decade at ELP taught me that change happens not through mandate but through persuasion and inspiration. That requires communication that is clear, tight, and uplifting. I try to apply those skills every day.

Where do you see yourself and/or your role in the next few years?

I have so much to learn if I am to succeed in my new role, but I remind myself that over my 20 years at Envision, I’ve been here before. I was there when I had to figure out project-based learning as a brand new teacher. I was there when I joined ELP and had to learn how to facilitate learning for educators (a tough crowd!). And it’s where I am and will be for the foreseeable future: climbing a learning curve that’s real steep, pausing now and then to enjoy the view.

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