Washington Education Strategies

Re-thinking and optimizing higher education to create more opportunities for our students, our workforce and our world.

Higher education institutions fill a critical need in our society and our democracy. Done right, higher education enables students to become global citizens, problem-solvers, high-performing employees and employers. Universities also play an important role in research, and partnerships between higher education institutions, business and government lead to important discoveries and innovation.

But it doesn’t happen by accident. In order to optimize this resource, higher education must become more inclusive, more accessible and more modern operationally. We have to think differently about the role higher education can play if we are to continue to lead the world in creativity, problem-solving and innovation. 

Washington Education Strategies is focused on driving strategic change management across the higher education landscape to better serve our students, our workforce and our world.


  • Governance: WES both consulting and board service for educational and governance institutions, elevating a board’s role from oversight to insight, foresight and strategy. This includes guiding strategic planning, developing KPIs, guiding financial aid strategy and academic program review and prioritization. 
  • Executive search consultation and executive coaching: New paradigms in higher education require new skillsets and mindsets. WES assists with sourcing talent for higher education leadership, advising throughout leadership searches, guiding leadership transitions and providing ongoing counsel to leaders to align roles and responsibilities with market needs and demands.
  • Program review and strategy: Today’s students and business leaders expect educational programs that are relevant in the current labor market. Students also demand a broader array of access points to higher education, including new pathways from trade or vocational colleges as well as different modalities. Higher education institutions must be strategic in developing a unique value proposition and then offer programs that align to that market fit. WES can help guide this strategy, while also leveraging partnerships with government leaders, philanthropic organizations and the private sector to provide the highest quality experience for students while ensuring sustainability and effectiveness of the institution. 
  • Policy setting and advocacy: State leaders continue to expect more from higher education institutions, largely in response to the needs of students, parents and business leaders. Students want high-paying jobs when they graduate, and the business sector needs a talent pipeline with relevant technical skills, adaptability, critical thinking and problem-solving. WES guides the creation of evidence-based public policy through research and strategy, leading to better alignment between education and workforce systems, more accountability, and more accessible pathways to and through higher education.

Nicole Washington, Founder

Nicole Washington, founder of Washington Education Strategies, is a national education policy advisor to executive and legislative policymakers, leaders of higher education systems and institutions, and national foundations focused on integrating work and education to build stronger talent pipelines. 

For the past two years, Nicole worked with the Florida House of Representatives to develop a comprehensive policy to integrate the state’s education and workforce development systems (HB 1507). In prior roles, she served as higher education advisor to former Florida Gov. Rick Scott. She also served as vice-chair for the Education Subcommittee of Florida’s Constitution Revision Commission.

Nicole currently serves as vice chair of the Miami Dade College District Board of Trustees, as a board member of Florida A&M University, a member of the Association of Governing Boards and a member of the National Association of Corporate Directors. In 2022 she received the American Association of Community College Trustee of the Year Award.