Kandace Jones Joins the American Institutes for Research as Vice President for Education Systems and Policy

The American Institutes for Research has welcomed Kandace Jones as vice president to lead the institution’s education systems and policy program area. Jones is an expert in providing technical assistance to states, school districts, and other entities to improve student outcomes and increase equity in education.

Kandace Jones

As vice president for education systems and policy, Jones will lead AIR’s work with local, state, and national agencies and organizations to improve educational outcomes and support the implementation of evidence-based solutions to the challenges facing education. This program area includes AIR’s work leading federally funded education programs, including the Regional Educational Laboratories (REL), the Regional Comprehensive Centers, and the What Works Clearinghouse.

“Kandace brings a wealth of experience working with education systems across the country and a passion for educational equity that reflects AIR’s mission and goals,” said Julie Kochanek, senior vice president of the Human Services Division, which includes AIR’s education practice areas. “Throughout her career, Kandace has shown an ability to build partnerships, scale evidence-based practices, prioritize equity, and lead education reform efforts.”

Prior to joining AIR, Jones was a project director at WestEd, where she served as co-director of the Region 15 Comprehensive Center. As the largest center in the U.S. Department of Education-funded Comprehensive Center Network, the Region 15 center provides technical assistance and capacity-building support to state and local education agencies in Arizona, California, Nevada, and Utah. She also led the Western Educational Equity Assistance Center, which promotes equitable education opportunities and resources to 13 western states and three U.S. territories. Jones also worked at ICF, where she led the Region 8 Comprehensive Center that served Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio and was a state liaison for the Appalachia Regional Comprehensive Center, serving Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Jones worked for the U.S. Department of Education as chief of staff and advisor for school turnaround in the department’s Office of Elementary & Secondary Education. She has also served as president and CEO of Junior Achievement of Southeastern Michigan, director of the Office of Out-of-School Time Programs at District of Columbia Public Schools, and a resident at the Broad Center for the Management of School Systems.

She earned a Master of Business Administration in marketing and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Florida A&M University. She volunteers on the mayor-appointed Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee for Saline, Michigan, and previously served as a Board of Education Trustee for Saline Area Schools.

AIR’s education systems and policy program area includes the teams that manage two comprehensive centersRegion 1 (Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont) and Region 9 (Illinois and Iowa)—as well as REL Midwest (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin) and REL Southwest (Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas).

About AIR
Established in 1946, the American Institutes for Research® (AIR®) is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit institution that conducts behavioral and social science research and delivers technical assistance both domestically and internationally in the areas of health, education and the workforce. AIR's work is driven by its mission to generate and use rigorous evidence that contributes to a better, more equitable world. With headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, AIR has offices across the U.S. and abroad. For more information, visit www.air.org.

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