Memories encoded in the dentate gyrus (DG) ‒ CA3 circuit of the hippocampus are routed from CA1 to anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) for consolidation. Although CA1 parvalbumin inhibitory neurons (PV INs) orchestrate hippocampal-cortical communication, we know less about CA3 PV INs or DG ‒ CA3 principal neuron ‒ IN circuit mechanisms that contribute to evolution of hippocampal-cortical ensembles during memory consolidation. Using viral genetics to selectively mimic and boost an endogenous learning-dependent circuit mechanism, DG cell recruitment of CA3 PV INs and feed-forward inhibition (FFI) in CA3, in combination with longitudinal in vivo calcium imaging, we demonstrate that FFI facilitates formation and maintenance of context-associated neuronal ensembles in CA1. Increasing FFI in DG ‒ CA3 promoted context specificity of neuronal ensembles in ACC over time and enhanced long-term contextual fear memory. In vivo LFP recordings in mice with increased FFI in DG ‒ CA3 identified enhanced CA1 sharp-wave ripple ‒ ACC spindle coupling as a potential network mechanism facilitating memory consolidation. Our findings illuminate how FFI in DG ‒ CA3 dictates evolution of ensemble properties in CA1 and ACC during memory consolidation and suggest a teacher-like function for hippocampal CA1 in stabilization and re-organization of cortical representations.