Monica Young, Ph.D.
TQP TA National Director

What do you do at AEM?

I manage complex national projects for the US Department of Education. I love having the opportunity to make a difference in P-20 education. In one project, we focused on supporting states as they developed strategies to ensure all students have access to great teachers and principals.

We provide expert assistance to states and territories and our grantees as they work to implement new initiatives or programs. In many cases, we have to personalize plans of action and help our stakeholders to meet new federal requirements despite staffing and funding limitations. I lead a team of experts across the United States, but I also serve as a subject matter expert and provide direct support to clients.

How does AEM compare to previous places you've worked?

Our approach to technical assistance varies based on the needs of the people we partner with and support. One contract had a lot of existing organizations already involved. They were competitive by nature and had low levels of trust, which led to inefficient support for our client. We worked to find champions within each organization for a collaborative approach and created goodwill over time by giving and supporting each organization in their work.

In another instance, we brought together grantees who were working in siloes and didn’t realize the extent to which their work depended on each other. We worked intensively to create a community, building a common sense of purpose and making connections by offering technical assistance, universal activities, and peer-to-peer sharing.

What's been a standout moment of working at AEM?

One of our contracts was about to end, and we had just finished our last in-person national workgroup meeting. Several of the states in the room came up to us and told us that the technical assistance we provided had been the most impactful they had ever received. Whenever they needed help, we were already putting out a new resource that addressed their need. That still gives me chills.