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Director, Center for Education Policy
Dr. Deborah Jonas serves as the Director of the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Appalachia @SRI, one of 10 RELs funded by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. Jonas leads a team of researchers and technical assistance providers working in partnership with school districts, state departments of education, and others to use data and research to improve academic outcomes for students in Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.
Jonas’s research expertise is in strengthening transitions across the education pipeline—from early childhood to elementary and from high school to college and careers. Her research has informed changes to community college placement policy, high school graduation policy, definitions of college and career readiness, and preschool program expansion.
Jonas also has expertise in establishing longitudinal data systems and the governance programs to support appropriate use for research while prioritizing individual privacy. Through diverse methods such as the use of demonstration projects, focus groups, one-on-one interviews, facilitated meetings, and requirements gathering, Jonas has helped program leaders and policymakers understand the benefits of integrating administrative data, develop focused and relevant state research agendas, establish data governance policies, and carry out research that informs policy and practice. Jonas tailors her technical assistance based on state priorities, privacy laws, infrastructure, and experiences.
As a leader in SRI Education, Jonas also serves as Director of the Center for Education Policy. Jonas earned a B.A degree in psychology from University of Maryland, an M.S. degree in experimental psychology from Lehigh University, and a Ph.D. in experimental psychology from Duke University.