Ila Deshmukh Towery

Ila specializes in college and career readiness education strategies, social-emotional learning, innovations in school design and next-generation learning experiences for students. Her past and current clients include: the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, the Raikes Foundation, NoVo Foundation and the US Department of Education.

A first-generation American and woman of color, Ila is driven by a belief that we can – and will – build a better, more effective and more responsive system for disenfranchised students, particularly students of color and students living in poverty in the United States. She is committed to helping her clients develop innovative approaches to systemic education reform, with students at the center. Ila previously served as TNTP’s Director of External Evaluation where she launched and/or completed six studies in partnership with leading researchers and some of the nation’s largest school districts. Ila was a key contributor to TNTP’s $20M+ i3 grant and served as Project Director. Ila also taught mathematics and was research director at the Boston Plan for Excellence.

Ila has a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science & Education from Swarthmore College and a PhD in Child Development from Tufts University. She lives in Boston, MA with her husband and two young sons.

Ila's expertise

  • Pathways for Student Success
  • Research, Program Analysis & Program Strategy
  • Academic and Non-Academic Supports for Students
  • Communities of Practice & Working Groups
  • Grantmaking Strategy & Effectiveness

Recent clients

  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Nellie Mae Education Foundation
  • US Department of Education
  • NoVo Foundation

Favorite Books

  • Middlesex
  • Room
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Ila likes

  • Foodie Adventures (Pictured here: Traditional kaiseki dinner – Tokyo, Japan)

  • World Travel (Pictured here: Patagonia, Argentina)