Joanna Mathias (she/her) is a Senior Research Associate with the Strategic Resource Planning and Implementation Team at WestEd. Her projects include analyses of the effect of California’s school finance and accountability reform on student achievement and the equity impacts of fiscal autonomy for schools. She is an experienced policy researcher with expertise in the economics of education, education policy, and econometrics, particularly leveraging quasi-experimental econometric methods on large administrative data sets for causal inference.
She has previously worked in partnership with the California Department of Education, advocacy groups, and private funders to answer pressing questions on access to educational opportunities and the impacts of educational policy in various contexts. She has presented her work at annual conferences of both the California and American Educational Research Associations, including an award-winning paper on access to dual enrollment. She has also published policy briefs and technical reports through the University of California Davis’s Wheelhouse and Stanford University’s Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE).
As a first-generation college student and community college alumna, Mathias is broadly interested in the role of education in intergenerational social mobility, with an emphasis on postsecondary transitions. Her recent work has focused on college and career readiness, particularly on access and equity in career and technical education and dual enrollment, and on college and career readiness in accountability systems.
Mathias holds a PhD in School Organization and Education Policy from the University of California at Davis, and an MS in Economics from North Carolina State University.