A knowledge specialist consultant, Ramona Thomas facilitates the documentation, collection and sharing of knowledge emerging through CASEL’s initiatives, primarily the Collaborative Districts Initiative (CDI). Ramona has extensive experience in education, philanthropy, nonprofit management and developing and implementing new initiatives. She previously served as co-founder and vice president of Partners For Developing Futures, a nonprofit social venture investment fund that provides startup funding to high-potential, early-stage, minority-led charter schools and charter school networks that educate underserved students. She was responsible for all aspects of the organization’s operations, including developing strategic focus, application and selection processes, financial investments and leadership development. She is a former partner with NewSchools Venture Fund in San Francisco, where she led various network activities for the firm and its portfolio of projects. She also served as program director for knowledge management and evaluation at KnowledgeWorks Foundation, an Ohio-based education foundation.
Ramona began her career in philanthropy as an evaluation consultant for the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. She was one of three researchers who evaluated the foundation’s Minority Undergraduate Fellowship Program, an initiative established to increase the pipeline of undergraduate students from underrepresented groups into doctoral degree programs nationwide. She subsequently joined the Spencer Foundation as an associate program officer. In addition to her background in education and philanthropy, Ramona has held management and consultant positions in the nonprofit and for-profit sectors. She received a bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics from Brown University and a doctorate in higher education from the University of Pennsylvania, where she received the Phi Delta Kappa Award for Outstanding Dissertation in the Graduate School of Education.