Adria Steinberg

Adria Steinberg leads JFF's program and policy development efforts to improve the educational options and prospects of young people who have disengaged or disconnected altogether from the educational and workforce systems. 

Adria and her Back on Track team work with state, district, intermediary, and federal policy and practice leaders to improve graduation rates and support the creation and scale up of high-quality pathways to family-supporting careers and postsecondary credentials for off-track and disconnected youth. The team serves as the implementation partner in the Aspen Institute’s Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund, providing strategic support to 21 communities implementing a collective impact approach to developing pathways to postsecondary credentials for opportunity youth. 

Under her leadership, JFF, with the Aspen Institute, is the recent recipient of a federal Social Innovation Fund Award to further develop the evidence base for and spread of such efforts. Adria also is the senior advisor to JFF’s Students at the Center team; in that capacity, she has co-authored and served as the developmental editor of numerous papers produced or commissioned by JFF as part of a growing research base for student-centered approaches to learning and deeper learning competencies. Under her guidance, Students at the Center has garnered increasing attention from policymakers as well as practice leaders for its well-formulated and actionable research products.  

When she joined JFF in 1996, Adria brought years of experience as an educator, school reformer, and writer/editor. She was co-founder of an alternative high school, the academic coordinator charged with reinventing a vocational high school program within a large comprehensive high school, and co-principal in a consulting company that staffed national advocacy efforts such as Our Children at Risk, a commission chaired by Marion Wright Edelman and Harold Howe. 

Adria has authored many publications, including a five-year stint as primary writer/editor of The Harvard Education Letter. Among recent publications, she is co-author of Achieving Collective Impact for Opportunity Youth (Stanford Social Innovation Fund Review); Anytime, Anywhere: Student Centered Learning for Schools and Teachers (Harvard Education Press); Pathway to Recovery: Implementing a Back on Track Through College Model; The Past and the Promise: Today’s Competency Education Movement; and Raising Graduation Rates in an Era of High Standard

Adria holds a bachelor's degree with honors from Swarthmore College and a master's degree in education from Boston University.