3 min read

Episode #21 - Day one readiness planning with Ops for Impact Founder, Megan Thomsen

Episode #21 - Day one readiness planning with Ops for Impact Founder, Megan Thomsen


Megan Thomsen, Founder at Operations for Impact

Connect with Megan on LinkedIn






Megan Thomsen, founder of Operations for Impact, joins us to explore her transition from education to operations and Operations for Impact's focus on professional development and consulting for operations leaders. She delves into the challenges of achieving day one readiness for the school year, emphasizing data analysis, methodologies like PDCA and DMAIC, and tools such as Asana for process improvement. The conversation underscores the importance of strategic decision-making, prioritization using methods like the Rice Scoring Model, and integrating new staff into existing systems. She highlights simplicity, clear communication, and valuable resources like Asana and The Together Leader, offering listeners practical insights and tools for optimizing educational operations.


  • At the heart of Operations for Impact lies a commitment to professional development, coaching, and consultancy for operations leaders, highlighting the pivotal role of expertise in systems codification and process enhancement.
  • Day one readiness encompasses a holistic approach, spanning operations, technology, facilities, and staff preparedness, while acknowledging and addressing challenges such as school nutrition, safety, and maintenance.
  • Strategic planning, coupled with data analysis and collaboration, forms the cornerstone of tackling challenges head-on. Embracing iterative processes and methodologies like PDCA and DMAIC are advocated for effective problem-solving.
  • Clear communication, rooted in thorough root cause analysis, and maintaining focus on core issues are fundamental principles guiding problem-solving endeavors. Methodologies like the Five Whys and the Rice Scoring Model serve as invaluable tools in decision-making for impactful solutions.
  • Tools like Asana streamline planning and implementation, offering scalable solutions and emphasizing simplicity and stakeholder input for efficiency.
    Early engagement, collaborative meetings, and phased planning are imperative for aligning with strategic priorities, ensuring effective resource allocation, and fostering commitment for academic success.
  • The journey of continuous learning is embraced, with gratitude for insights shared and resources like Asana, The Together Leader, and OpsForImpact.com serving as invaluable companions for further exploration into project management and process improvement.



Process improvement methodologies: PDCA, DMAIC 
Root cause of problems methodologies: Five Whys Methodology 
Decision-making tools: The Rice Scoring Model
Process improvement tools: Asana 
Process improvement books: The Together Project Manager
Process Improvement Worksheet: Process Improvement Worksheet





00:00 Introduction
02:59 From Education to Operations
06:13 Challenges in Day One Readiness
09:23 Evaluating the Current State of Schools
12:26 Tracking Data for Insights into Current Processes
15:42 Challenges and Benefits of Different Formats
22:45 Staying Focused on the Original Problem
25:49 The Importance of Feedback and Input
29:57 Starting Small and Testing
33:12 Codifying Decision-Making and Using Templates
36:11 The Role of a Project Manager
39:34 Simplifying Tools for Teamwide Use
43:13 Budget Planning and Collaborative Meetings
43:40 Phased Planning and Iterations
44:01 Considerations for Making Commitments
44:59 Valuable Resources for Project Management and Process Improvement
45:13 Using a Worksheet for Process Improvement Methodology
45:35 OpsForImpact.com: A Website for Project Management and Process Improvement
46:29 Expressing Gratitude for the Discussion



Megan is a creative problem solver and builder of organizations of impact focused on creating positive change. She loves to solve complex problems collaboratively, and build and design impactful systems from scratch, then grow and scale them strategically keeping students and staff at the center. Her approach leverages her unique strengths of leading with empathy and connecting the dots when tackling complex issues - connecting big picture strategy with the little details that matter.

Megan leverages over ten years of school operational leadership and eleven years in education. She started her journey in education as a founding AmeriCorps fellow then served as the first Operations Manager at Phoenix Academy Lawrence. She went on to found Collegiate Charter High School of Los Angeles as the Director of Operations, taking what she learned to build from the ground up. Most recently, she served as the Director of Operations at Ednovate as the organization grew from 3 to 6 schools and a virtual program serving over 2500 students. 

During her time at Ednovate, she formed and led the cross-campus ops team, created a coaching program for school-based ops leaders, led quarterly PD for all ops teammates, established Operational Excellence with corresponding goals and supports, created and led a collaborative day 1 readiness process between schools and the network team, served as the lead for ops processes & master scheduling in PowerSchool, codified innumerable operational processes and built the ops and compliance processes for a virtual academy running as an independent study program.

Her real-life experience running & leading school operations makes her a go-to resource to successfully navigate all of the ups and downs alongside you.. 



Daniel Casselli is a life-long learner whose passion for education has driven his professional endeavors. He is a former classroom teacher and youth ministry director whose entrepreneurial spirit landed him in the world of education technology. At EVERFI Inc., Daniel helped run the business development efforts for EVERFI’s Financial Education Program and the company was eventually sold to Blackbaud for $750M in 2021. Shortly before EVERFI’s acquisition, Daniel joined Class Technologies as one of the earliest sales hires and went on to lead K12 Enterprise Sales and helped the company land its first 100+ K12 customers across public, charter, and private schools. Daniel brings his unique experiences to BuyQ where he is focused on growth, operational excellence, business strategy, and client satisfaction. He is a graduate of Grove City College where he studied Religion and History. 


You can listen to Charter School Insider: Lessons from the Nation's Top Charter School Operators on your favorite podcasting platform...

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