Getting to Know Bennett: Meet Alex Ruttenberg, Director of ERA & Education Consultant
Updated: Aug 1
I recently had the chance to chat with Alex Ruttenberg, Bennett International’s Senior Director of Education Research & Analysis (ERA). ERA is the team within Bennett that consults with corporate HR & Global Mobility, researching education systems all over the world and compiling data, whether for policy writing, group moves, or other projects.
Born and raised in Washington, DC and now living in its suburbs, Alex is the ideal combination of counselor and researcher. She loves “going granular with data, trends, and curriculum.” At the same time, she loves working with families and “getting to know the whole family—the family system.” This is a winning combination for the families Alex works with. She knows how to best support them, listening to all the details about their move and their children, and she can anticipate and help solve any education complications related to their relocation, whether they are moving to DC, Idaho, or Moldova.
Alex has spent her entire professional life in the world of education. After graduating with her Bachelors’ degree from Yale University, she worked at an independent school as the Assistant Director of Admissions and taught Religious History before returning to graduate school to earn a Master’s in Education and Counseling at Harvard University. It was around that time that she realized that she loved many aspects of education but didn’t necessarily want a career in the classroom or the counseling office.
At that point, she was lucky enough to work with a well-regarded education consultant in DC who happened to have a contract with the World Bank, and she became their on-site education consultant. In her role at the World Bank, and eventually the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Alex became more familiar with many different curricula from around the world and the complexity of moving school-aged children in and out of different education systems.
A true academic, Alex then went on to acquire a second Masters’ degree, this time in Higher Education Administration, at George Washington University. Through that experience, she decided that she wanted to focus on the K-12 world rather than higher education.
2007, brought another change when she joined Dwellworks as Director of Education Services and then School Choice International (SCI) in 2012 as Director of Research. SCI would later be acquired by Bennett Schoolplacement Worldwide to become Bennett International.
Along with leading ERA at Bennett, Alex also works directly with families moving all over the world. I asked her how being a parent guides her work with families. Without a pause, she replied, “I’m more empathetic because I’m a parent. She sees an important part of her role as an education consultant as helping parents to “be more open to or accepting of who their children are.”
Advice for families relocating? “Families need to remember that the entire relocation process is a puzzle with so much unpredictability. They need to let the process unfold and recognize that they can’t control every aspect of it.”
Alex mentioned luck a couple of times in our conversation. I think that Bennett and the families she works with are the lucky ones. The families she works with don’t want the consultation to end, even after their children have been successfully placed in a new school.
Her education, work experience, and empathy also make Alex a fantastic colleague. Although much of Bennett’s staff works remotely, this doesn’t prevent her from creating a sense of community with her colleagues, and she’s the first one to offer a group call or to check in with a colleague dealing with any kind of difficulty. Alex’s office door is always open!
I finished our conversation with my favorite question: if you had a year’s sabbatical and could live anywhere, where would it be? Alex thought about it and ended up split between the Southwest of the US or anywhere in the world with an ocean.
Erin Brady & Annemiek Young.
To read more about our top-flight team of consultants, please see here.
Bennett International Education Consultancy works directly with hundreds of families each year across the globe. We support families by helping them make informed decisions about the best-fit schools for their children; with our guidance, they secure placement in preschools, private day schools, public/state schools, boarding schools, colleges & universities, including schools with particular programs, such as special needs support.