Empowering every educator and

student to discover their unique

identity, understand their place in

the world, and actively contribute

to a brighter future.

Joanne McEachen

Waitaha, Ngāti Māmoe, and Ngāi Tahu

Contribution is the ultimate application of learning, and the action most tied to our sense of well-being.

The Learner First was founded by Joanne McEachen in Seattle, Washington, USA in 2012. Having moved to Seattle from Aotearoa New Zealand, where she worked 20+ years as a teacher, principal, and national Ministry of Education leader, Joanne brought her expertise in educational assessment and systems design to improve educational outcomes in the US school system.

Adapting a systemic, interconnected approach, The Learner First aligned efforts at school district, school, and classroom levels by forming “Change Teams” at multiple levels of the system that worked collectively to share ideas, identify ways forward, and better support teaching and learning throughout the district. Over a three-year period, The Learner First schools across the US experienced measured progress on academic and social-emotional indicators (including student attendance, engagement, and test scores), along with staff retention rates and professional well-being.

Since, Contributive Learning™ was developed based on this systemic and interconnected approach and been embraced by schools and districts worldwide. This framework emphasizes meaningful learning that aligns with students’ lives, identities, and the outcomes that genuinely matter in our rapidly changing, global communities.

Learning is about discovering who you are, how you fit into the world, and how you can contribute your gifts to humanity.

Contributive Learning develops self-understanding, connection, knowledge, and competency.

When these come together, we add to the world. And that leads to meaning, fulfillment, and well-being.

Reach out today to learn more or get started!

Develop self-understanding.
Cultivate knowledge.
Foster competency.
Make connections.

Don’t bring down—lift people up.
Don’t subtract—add to the world.

Learn to contribute, in your way, every day.