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Indira Dammu

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Indira Dammu
Senior Analyst
Policy and Evaluation

Background: Indira Dammu is a senior analyst with Bellwether in the Policy and Evaluation practice area. Prior to joining Bellwether, she worked as the education policy adviser to Mayor David Briley in Nashville, Tennessee. In this role, she led education initiatives for the mayor and served as a liaison to the school board and other education partners across the city. She also helped create Nashville GRAD, a first-of-its-kind program that pays all non-tuition expenses for students enrolled at Nashville State Community College and pairs students with dedicated academic advisers.

Indira has also worked at education nonprofits dedicated to serving students of color and low-income students. She started her career as a classroom teacher in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and New Haven, Connecticut. Indira holds a master’s degree in public policy from Duke University and a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University. She is a first-generation immigrant from India.

Why I do this work: I am a first-generation immigrant from India who moved to the United States when I was 17 years old. My parents made a lot of sacrifices so that my sister and I could have the best educational opportunities, and I want all students to have access to the same opportunities I did.

Experience at Bellwether: Data Collection and Analysis; Policy Research and Analysis; Writing; Research

Client segments served: Foundations and Grantees; Nonprofit Organizations; Policy Organizations; Advocacy Groups

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.