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forwardED ® is a supportive project about progress and movement! 

forwardED, LLC was founded with a single mission: to advance equity and excellence in education by transforming systems and improving the work of educators and, ultimately, the lives of the people we educate.  We approach each of our partners with fresh eyes to develop customized and unique strategies that bring us closer to our mission.

Though we’ve grown since our founding, we’re still the same agency at heart. Let us help make your dreams a reality. Are you ready to set your organization on the path to transformative success? Contact us today, and see what we can do together.



Human-Centered, Equity-Based, Culturally Responsive and Sustaining

We customize all supports and services to meet the individual needs of our partners because we know each family, school, and community is unique. We collaborate with partners to create sustainable improvement through research-based strategies, methods, and programs that address: infrastructure and mindsets, practices and policies, inputs and outcomes.

All our work is embedded within a cultural view of learning and human development in which multiple expressions of diversity (e.g., race, social class, gender, language, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, ability) are recognized and regarded as assets for education work. We, thus, view advancing equity as central to organization, as we recognize that different people are different and difference is not deficit. We learn in different ways, at different speeds, and under responsive circumstances.  



Our core values serve as the forwardED ® compass. They shape our culture, guide our decision-making processes, and frame how we interact with others.


Trust &

Strong moral principles that adhere to a code of the highest virtues and attributes of sound and incorruptible human character sustain us.

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Equity &

We embody and embrace the principles of a free and equal society, untethered from restrictions imposed on the democratic values of self-determination, freedom, autonomy, and sovereignty.


Passion &

We are fueled by an ever-abiding commitment to our partners, driven by the shared goal of advancing equity and excellence in and through education and beyond it.

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Partnership &

We embrace the idea of the collective, that we are better when working together than when isolated alone, that those who are most implicated by our work should hold a key role in helping to design it. 


Progress &

We seek continuous improvement and radical transformation of systems that fail to work on behalf of children, families, and communities. 

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Service &

We pledge to contribute to the benefit of others, especially people from vulnerable backgrounds, to assist in the ongoing work of advancing social transformation and human program. 


Get To Know Us

We are educational experts driven by a dream and dedicated organizational change agents committed to a cause.

Our consultants are experienced presenters, facilitators, mediators, monitors, educators, and researchers—professors, curriculum leaders, teachers, and administrators—who understand the needs of schools, community organizations, and other entities working on behalf of our children. We have extensive experience helping schools, districts, non-profits, and for-profit organizations build capacity to improve their institutional culture and climate. We help develop and improve infrastructure to set our partners up for long-term, sustained and scalable success.


David E. Kirkland, PhD

Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Our founder and Chief Executive Officer is Dr. David E. Kirkland. Dr. Kirkland is a former secondary English teacher and high school administrator, who served on the faculty of New York University for over 15 years as a professor of urban education. While at NYU, Dr. Kirkland also served as the inaugural Vice Dean for Equity, Belonging, and Community Action, and seven years as the executive director of the Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools.  A leading national scholar and advocate for educational justice, Dr. Kirkland's transdisciplinary scholarship explores a variety of equity related topics, including: culturally responsive-sustaining education, restorative practice, school climate and discipline; school integration and choice; social-emotional learning; vulnerable learners; and the science of school transformation. With over 100 groundbreaking publications to his credit, Dr. Kirkland has analyzed the cultures, languages, and texts of vulnerable youth, using both quantitative and qualitative research methods to answer complex questions at the center of equity and justice-related education.


Dr. Kirkland has received many awards for his work, including prestigious awards from the American Educational Research Association, Ford Foundation, NAEd/Spencer Foundation, and the National Council of Teachers of English, among other organizations. In addition, he currently serves on several advisory boards and boards of directors for organizations such as Facing History and Ourselves and exalt Youth.  A Search Past Silence: The Literacy of Black Males, the fifth book that Dr. Kirkland has authored, is a TC Press bestseller and winner of the 2015 Daniel E. Griffiths Research Award, the 2014 AESA Critics Choice Award, and the 2014 David H. Russell Award for Distinguished Research. He is also co-editor of Students Right to Their Own Language, a critical sourcebook published by Bedford/St. Martins Press. Dr. Kirkland's new book, How to Teach Our Kids to Fly, will be available in 2024. 


forwardED, LLC is growing, comprising a talented team of changemakers and public visionaries who possess a range of experiences, from law to special education policy, from social work and juvenile justice to school leadership and administration. The one thing that binds us is our unyielding commitment to justice and equity and the promises that come from inspired, collective effort.



Over his twenty-plus-year career of leadership, research, practice, and advocacy, and with a clear and compelling vision for lifting vulnerable children from all backgrounds to the heights of learning and achievement, Dr. Kirkland developed a humanizing, equity-based, culturally responsive and sustaining approach to partnering with schools, communities, and other organizations to create long-terms trajectories of success and to fulfill the promise of sustaining all our children. This approach has been rigorously tested and improved across 200 communities throughout the U.S. and abroad. Thus, this deep, rigorous, and relational model has inspired our partners' advancement, helping them to move forward with positive results in culture and climate, curriculum and instruction, assessment and achievement, equity and engagement, among other key vectors of success.  



We have partnered with more than 250 schools, districts, museums, libraries, publishing companies, and other community and non-profit organizations and businesses with proven results. Join us and become part of the forwardED movement, where progress is not only our aspiration; it is what we do.  

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