Deborah Jonas

Vice President & Practice Director, Education Studies


Deborah Jonas, PhD, is a Vice President and Practice Director for Education Studies. She is a strategic, action-oriented leader with more than 20 years of experience developing and leading multidisciplinary teams; designing systems to secure and effectively manage externally funded research, technical assistance, and longitudinal data system enhancements; and conceptualizing and leading research programs to inform and change policy and practice. Her work has led to changes in community college course placement policy, untracking of a school division mathematics course placement program, updated high school graduation accountability policies, new data in state systems, and reports to monitor and analyze student access to programs and learning outcomes.

Throughout her career, Jonas has focused on developing policy-relevant research to improve programs and student outcomes across a wide range of settings. She has supported policymakers in some of the country’s largest and smallest states, and supported creation and use of evidence in diverse rural, suburban, and urban communities.

Prior to joining Westat, Jonas was the Managing Research Director of the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center, where she led the Research Collaborative, a multidisciplinary research team focused on creating and implementing evidence-based solutions to local communities most challenging problems of practice.

From 2016-23, she held leadership positions at SRI International, most recently serving as the Executive Director of the Center for Education Research & Innovation (CERI). The Center’s program areas include teaching quality and school reform, college and career pathways, digital learning and policy, and STEM + computer science. In addition, she has published and presented for diverse audiences ranging from state legislators to researchers to classroom and after-school educators.


  • PhD, Experimental Cognitive Psychology, Duke University
  • MA, Cognitive Psychology, Duke University
  • MS, Experimental Psychology, Lehigh University
  • BA, Psychology, University of Maryland

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