Ila Deshmukh Towery

Guest Blogger

Principal, Education First

Boston, Massachusetts

Ila Deshmukh Towery 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 and education from Swarthmore College and a PhD in child development from Tufts University. She lives in Boston, Massachusetts with her husband and two young sons.


Posted Aug. 1, 2017

Alaska Might Have Just Figured Out How to Better Serve Students of Color Through Social-Emotional Learning

Social and emotional learning (SEL) has a limited track record of culturally-responsive practice. In fact, some have criticized SEL for imposing dominant cultural…

By Robert Medina, Ila Deshmukh Towery

Read Post


Featured Posts

Posted Dec. 1, 2021

When Charters Grow From Communities, They Can and Do Increase Equity

BES (Build, Excel, Sustain) started its Fellowship program 20 years ago to support school leaders with the preparation and professional development they needed to design,…

By Aasimah Navlakhi

Read Post

Posted Dec. 1, 2021

The Gifted and Talented Debates Aren’t About Rigor, They’re About Access

An interesting, complicated, and rather polarizing trend is going around in American education, and it has to do with special admission schools and the designation…

By Zachary Wright 

Read Post

Posted Nov. 30, 2021

Principals Must Be Hope Dealers In Schools and Communities

During a recent conversation, Murleen Coakley, principal of Greenfield Union in the Detroit Public Schools Community District, reminded me how much being a great principal…

By Robert Simmons

Read Post


How does the federal government support our public schools? Find out the ABC’s of ESEA, ESSA and No Child Left Behind →

Browse by Date

Keep Up With
Education Post

Sign up for weekly emails featuring our top blog posts:

What We’re