On Monday, January 29, 2024, Westat welcomed Deborah Jonas, PhD, as the new Education Studies Practice Director. Her wealth of experience and exceptional leadership make her a valuable addition to Westat’s senior leadership team. Babette Gutmann, MA, Vice President, who announced her retirement last June, held this role since 2014.
Jonas brings over 2 decades of strategic, action-oriented leadership. Her impressive background includes serving as the Executive Director for Research & Planning at the Virginia Department of Education for 5 years, and leading SRI’s Center for Education Research & Innovation for 7 years. Under her leadership, significant projects resulted in changes to community college course placement policies, changes to mathematics course placement policies, updated high school graduation accountability policies, and the implementation of new data in state systems.
Jonas has mentored staff working in a variety of areas, including the integration of social-emotional learning and academic standards, aligning in-school and out-of-school mathematics teaching and support activities, and embedding trauma-sensitive practices into classroom teaching and school and district policies. She has published and presented for diverse audiences ranging from state legislators to researchers to classroom and after-school educators.
“Deborah has the strategic vision to guide Ed Studies through a dynamic education policy environment,” notes Scott Cody, MPP, Senior Vice President and Sector Lead, Human Services. “She brings to Westat an impressive record of spearheading research programs that shape and influence policy and practice. Moreover, Deborah is committed to fostering the continued growth and development of her team, ensuring excellence in all aspects of Ed Studies’ work. Like all Ed Studies staff, Deborah is guided by a ‘North Star’ of always doing right by students.”
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