Julia Rafal-Baer, Ph.D., is the co-founder and Managing Partner of ILO Group, a women-founded, education strategy and policy firm. She is a trusted confidante to the nation’s most effective state education leaders and superintendents, directly coaching over thirty leaders into the superintendent and state commissioner roles, 80 percent are leaders of color and 60 percent are women. Dr. Rafal-Baer previously served as Assistant Commissioner of the NYS Education Department, overseeing more than $150M in federal funds. Dr. Rafal-Baer served as Chief Operating Officer of Chiefs for Change. She built the organization from a start-up to a high-impact nonprofit, raising over $110M in philanthropic funds, and developing core programming and initiatives, including the Future Chiefs program. She currently sits on the national boards of Blue Engine and the Association of Marshall Scholars; and the advisory committee for CEPR at Harvard University. In 2020, Dr. Rafal-Baer was appointed to the National Assessment Governing Board. In 2022 she was named a Pahara Fellow.
Dr. Rafal-Baer graduated summa cum laude from the George Washington University with a B.A. in Psychology and holds a dual M.S. from CUNY: Lehman College in Special Education and Childhood Education. She also holds a Master of Philosophy in Education Research, and a Ph.D. focused in comparative education policy from the University of Cambridge, where she was a Marshall Scholar.