Dr. Rafal-Baer is the co-founder and CEO of ILO Group, a women-owned, leadership-focused education policy and strategy firm. She is also the founder and CEO of Women Leading Ed, a national network of women education leaders. She is a trusted confidante to the nation’s most effective state education leaders and superintendents, directly coaching more than 50 leaders into the superintendent and state commissioner roles. She frequently speaks and writes on the need to advance women leaders in senior roles.
Previously, she served as the chief operating officer at Chiefs for Change. She raised over $100M and led the turnaround effort of the organization, successfully rebuilding its brand and national presence. She began her career in education twenty years ago as a special education teacher in Bronx, NY. She previously served as Assistant Commissioner of the New York State Education Department under Dr. John B King, Jr where she was responsible for the strategy, management, and implementation of teacher and leader initiatives for the state. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she was as a top education advisor to school districts and state education agencies across the country and as an expert advisor to the COVID Collaborative.
She currently sits on the national board for the Association of Marshall Scholars and Spring Board Collaborative, and the advisory board for the Center for Education Policy and Research at Harvard University. In 2020, she was appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Education to a four-year term to the National Assessment Governing Board. In 2022 she was named a Pahara Fellow.
Dr. Rafal-Baer graduated summa cum laude from the George Washington University with a B.A. in Psychology and holds a dual M.S. from CUNY: Lehman College in Special Education and Childhood Education. She also holds a Master of Philosophy in Education Research, and a Ph.D. focused on comparative education policy from the University of Cambridge, where she was a Marshall Scholar.
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