Meet Chris Sturgis

Chris Sturgis starts with the assumption that we never know what we don’t know. We can map out the landscape of knowledge that is important to our lives by becoming skilled question-askers; listening to those who have lived experience as well as what the research uncovers; creating opportunities to learn from and with each other; finding our ways outside of our comfort zone; and building relationships with people who have had different experiences and different expertise. Through this learning stance, Chris has been able to support collaborative relationships that have catalyzed three different movements:


  • Building consensus for multiple pathways to graduation so that students who left school or were pushed out of school before earning their high school diploma have opportunities to complete their K-12.
  • Enabling the philanthropic members of the Youth Transition Funders Group to work together across the sectors of juvenile justice, foster care, education, and workforce development toward a vision of Connected by 25.
  • Launching CompetencyWorks, the go-to source about competency education, with co-founder Susan Patrick.

Chris has developed a deep understanding of competency-based education by visiting over 100 schools that are leading the way in the U.S. and New Zealand. In 2018, she was awarded Outstanding Individual Contribution to Personalized Learning Award by iNACOL.

Previous to her efforts at CompetencyWorks, Chris worked in philanthropy for over a decade as a consultant, at the Omidyar Network, and at the Mott Foundation. Chris was a co-chair of the Youth Transition Funders Group, a philanthropic network. She has also worked in state government, human service organizations, and political campaigns. Chris earned a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. When not working, Chris can be found reading about topics she knows nothing about, traveling the world, or watching the birds in her backyard in Santa Fe, New Mexico.