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Karla Phillips-Krivickas, Founder

Karla Phillips-Krivickas is one of the nation’s foremost thought leaders on education policy and reform and was recently appointed to serve on the Arizona State Board of Education. With over 20 years of experience in state and federal policy, she uses her unique professional and personal experiences to advise education leaders on sound policy and best practices to advance academic achievement for all students, including those with disabilities.


Karla served as the Senior Director of Policy at the national nonprofit KnowledgeWorks. In this role, she partnered with states to transform their policy systems to support student-centered learning by developing and executing state policy strategy. Before this, Karla served as a policy director for the Foundation for Excellence in Education and established the organization’s next generation learning portfolio.

Karla began her career in education at the Goldwater Institute, where she co-authored research on Arizona’s first 50 charter schools and early charter school legislation. She then served seven years as a senior education advisor for the Arizona House of Representatives. During her time at the legislature, she played a critical role in the resolution of a federal lawsuit regarding the education of Arizona’s English language learners and worked tirelessly to bolster school choice and increase accountability.

Later, Karla served as the Governor’s Education Policy Advisor and worked to ensure Arizona’s receipt of critical federal stimulus funds, wrote federal waivers to promote higher achievement for all students, expanded school information available to parents and established the state’s first P-20 accountability framework. 

This was followed by three years of service at the Arizona Department of Education as a Special Assistant to the Deputy Superintendent of Policy and Programs where she directed Arizona’s efforts to receive flexibility from the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (a.k.a No Child Left Behind). In this role she was also appointed as the Department Designee on multiple councils and boards including: First Things First (Arizona’s Early Childhood Board), the Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission, the State Council for the Education of Military Children, the West Ed Governing Board, and the Foster Education Advisory Council.

As a wife and mother, Karla understands the challenges parents face when it comes to finding the best education for their children, particularly students with disabilities. She is the proud mother of a 17-year-old son and a 13-year-old daughter with Down Syndrome. Advocating for her children has provided a new lens through which she personally experiences the policies she has worked so long to develop and implement. Now, she is channeling her experiences to bridge conversations between the general education community and the disability community and passionately advocate for all students. 

Karla serves as a member of the National Down Syndrome Inclusive Education Task Force, Arizona’s ABLE Act Oversight Committee and the Arizona Special Education Advisory Panel. She also previously served as vice chair of the Arizona Developmental Disabilities Planning Council.

Karla earned a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University and master’s degree in public administration from Arizona State University. She and her family live in Phoenix.


I have been an advocate for the educational interests and needs of all students from preschool through postsecondary for over 20 years. As a mother of a child with a disability,  I'm now channeling my experience and opportunities to passionately advocate for students with disabilities."

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