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Bonnie O’Keefe

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Bonnie O’Keefe
Associate Partner
Policy and Evaluation

Background: Bonnie O’Keefe is an associate partner with Bellwether Education Partners in the Policy and Evaluation practice area. Since 2016, Bonnie has worked on a wide range of issues, including state and district policies, assessment and accountability, school finance, and early childhood education. Her research and commentary while at Bellwether has been featured in outlets such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, Politico, NBC News, and The 74. Prior to joining Bellwether, Bonnie worked on the assessment team at the D.C. Office of the State Superintendent of Education. Bonnie led assessment policy development and delivered training and technical assistance to schools in the transition to new, computer-based state assessments. Before that, Bonnie worked for DC Action, a locally focused child advocacy organization. There, Bonnie authored reports on topics such as child care and early intervention, and coordinated the DC KIDS COUNT project. Prior to her work in education, she served as political programs coordinator for She Should Run/Women’s Campaign Fund. 

Bonnie has a master’s of public policy from Johns Hopkins University and a bachelor’s degree from Williams College. She is a founding board member of Rochester Excellence Academy, in Rochester, New York.

Why I do this work: I was very lucky to have access to great educational opportunities, starting with my hometown public schools. Too many children and adults cannot say the same thing. In my work, I tackle technical, process, and policy issues in order to get closer to an equitable and excellent educational system for all.

Experience at Bellwether: Quantitative and Qualitative Analysis; Analysis; Implementation Planning; Policy Research and Analysis; Writing; Research; Project Management; District Schools; Foundations; Advocacy Organizations

Client segments served: Early Childhood; K-12 Schools; State Education Agencies; Government; Foundations and Grantees; Nonprofit Organizations; Policy Organizations; Advocacy Groups

Sample clients: Council of Chief State School Officers, the Stranahan Foundation, Alignment Nashville, Greater LA Education Foundation 

Recent Media

Indira Dammu
Bonnie O'Keefe

Nationwide, English learners (ELs) are a fast-growing and diverse student population in the K-12 public school system. Today, the Southeast region of the U.S. is home to more than 710,000 EL students, who speak about 400 different languages and account for 15% of EL students in the country. This number is quickly increasing as certain states in the region see unprecedented growth in EL enrollment. Despite the trends, state education finance systems in the Southeast have not adapted to support the unique learning needs of EL students.

Bellwether Education Partners’ report, Improving Education Finance Equity for English Learners in the Southeast, examines state funding policy structures and data in nine Southeastern states — Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee — and shares a set of policy recommendations based on promising, equitable funding practices.