Lead Improvement Specialist

About Arcadia


  • Multilingual/English Language Learners
  • Science of Teaching Reading
  • Professional Learning Communities
  • School Improvement

Arcadia Payne is a Lead Improvement Specialist at Ed Direction. With a penchant for research-based approaches and a passion for teaching and learning, Arcadia designs and delivers high-quality, evidence-based professional learning and coaching solutions for educators. She is a creative problem solver and thought partner who has supported improvement efforts across the country, and brings empathy and high expectations to her partnerships. Arcadia leads with transparent communication and data-driven approaches within client engagements, achieving results through meticulous planning and intentional implementation. She has a strong sense of community ownership and relationship-building and works collaboratively with school staff to improve student achievement outcomes.

Education & Career Highlights

Prior to joining Education Direction, Arcadia taught in public, Title I and non-Title I schools in Utah and New Mexico, including tenure as a Teach For America corps member. Using evidence-based instructional practices, culturally responsive teaching, and project-based learning, students in her classrooms participated in rigorous, differentiated, and student-centered learning activities. Following her years as a classroom teacher, Arcadia worked with the Utah State Board of Education as a part-time program assistant while attending graduate studies at Harvard. Through this position, she assisted the policy team with drafting statewide education reports, researching and evaluating program impact, and performing detailed comparative state education policy research.

Arcadia earned a Master’s in International Education Policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education after transferring from her graduate teaching program at the University of New Mexico. During this time, she published research on climate education and consulted with international organizations designing early childhood play-based interventions in South America. She holds Bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and International Studies from the University of Utah Honors College, where she graduated with high honors. She was selected as a fellow with the Oxford Consortium for Human Rights to study intersections of migration, human rights, and education.

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