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Alex Cortez

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Alex Cortez
Strategic Advising

Background: Alex Cortez is a partner with Bellwether in the Strategic Advising practice area. Alex has 17 years of experience working in education and social change as a consultant, a school operator, and in philanthropy. Alex has deep experience helping organizations scale a combination of their direct impact in serving students; their widespread impact by building the capacity of partners to replicate their model; and their systemic impact by shifting mindsets, relationships, and power to in turn shift policy, practice, and resource flows.

Prior to joining Bellwether, Alex was a managing partner with New Profit, a national venture philanthropy, where he focused on funding and advising nonprofits growing their impact in K-12 and postsecondary education. He also led an initiative to scale efforts that supported parents in exercising their innate power to create and sustain change.

Alex formerly served as a regional director of growth and sustainability at the KIPP Foundation, leading network-wide efforts to increase performance and serving as a trusted advisor to the executive teams of five KIPP regions. He also served as chief of staff, strategy and execution for KIPP Houston Public Schools, leading efforts to improve performance and prepare the strategy and organizational systems to grow from 20 to 50 schools. Alex began his career in for-profit consulting, and then nonprofit consulting as a manager with The Bridgespan Group.

Originally from New Orleans, Alex resides in Brookline, Massachusetts. He serves on the boards of multiple education organizations, and serves his community as a member of the Massachusetts State Board of Higher Education. He has a bachelor’s degree from Columbia University, and an MBA and MPA from Harvard University.

Why I do this work: Being from New Orleans, I have seen the power of education entrepreneurs to transform failing school systems, and the need for this to happen not only to create equitable education outcomes and economic freedom, but also to dismantle undemocratic systems of power.

Experience at Bellwether: Strategic Planning; Quantitative and Qualitative Analysis; Business Plan Development; Growth and Expansion Strategy; Human Capital/Organizational Design; Performance Improvement/Sustainability; Performance Metrics; Grant Development and Implementation; Financial Analysis and Modeling; Implementation Planning; Project Management; CMO/Charter School Operators; Foundations; Philanthropic Strategy

Client segments served: K-12 Schools; Postsecondary/Higher Education; CMO Charter Schools; Foundations and Grantees; Nonprofit Organizations

Recent Media

Alex Cortez
Christine Wade

To make their ambitions a reality, to make the irrational actionable, and to move from a narrow theory of action to achieving a successful theory of population-level change, education entrepreneurs must consider working across three strategies for impact.

Rooted in promising practices from the education sector, A Pragmatic Playbook for Impact: Direct, Widespread, and Systemic is a practical resource for decision-makers to maximize their impact, further equity, and respond to the urgency of this moment amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.