Saskia Levy Thompson Joins Research Alliance for New York City Schools

Saskia Levy Thompson has been named Deputy Director of the Research Alliance for New York City Schools. In this newly created role, Ms. Thompson will focus on engaging educators, policymakers, and other stakeholders more deeply in the Research Alliance’s efforts, and on developing partnerships and resources needed to carry out new work.

“Saskia comes to the Research Alliance at a critical moment in our development,” said James J. Kemple, the organization’s Executive Director, “as we transition from a start-up enterprise to a sustainable source of evidence about policies and practices that promote success for New York City students. Saskia’s knowledge and experience will help us build out new lines of research that speak to pressing issues in the district, and will ensure that our findings are communicated in ways that maximize their usefulness to educators and policymakers.”

Ms. Thompson comes to the Research Alliance after four years at the NYC Department of Education (DOE), where she served on the senior leadership team for four chancellors. Her projects included a system-wide review of elementary schools to develop recommendations for boosting the quality of instruction available to students from the City’s most impoverished neighborhoods. During her tenure at the DOE, Ms. Thompson also managed the Office of School Support, which provided instructional and operational assistance to the City’s 1,600 schools.

Prior to her time at the DOE, Ms. Thompson was a Senior Associate at MDRC, where she led an influential study of the effectiveness of NYC’s small high schools. She also worked with other districts around the country to develop evaluations of various programs aimed at improving outcomes for disadvantaged and disconnected youth. Before joining MDRC, Ms. Thompson was the Executive Director of the Urban Assembly, a nonprofit network of schools serving high-poverty communities. She led that organization as it scaled up from 5 to 20 schools in just four years.

Much of Ms. Thompson’s career has been devoted to bridging the divides between education research, policy, and practice—an endeavor that lies at the heart of the Research Alliance’s mission. 

“The Research Alliance serves a unique and essential function as the independent research partner to New York City schools,” said Ms. Thompson. “As someone who has been a student, teacher and parent within the NYC public school system, I have a deep personal commitment to expanding educational opportunities here in my hometown. The Research Alliance has a key role to play by producing rigorous, relevant, local evidence that can improve education policies and practices. I’m thrilled to be joining the team at this exciting moment in the Research Alliance’s development.”

Posted 9/30/14