Background: Tom Gold is a senior associate partner at Bellwether in the Policy and Evaluation practice area. For the past two decades, Tom’s work has been driven by the urgency to utilize research and evidence to advance social change and greater equity in education. In recent years he has focused on advancing global innovation and entrepreneurship in education through programs and research. As an independent consultant, Tom has worked with large education nonprofits focused on youth entrepreneurship, teacher pathways, digital education, and school culture to build systems for measuring impacts and creating data-driven organizational cultures. Previously, as the vice president for research at the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), Tom led the organization to support college and career readiness in under-resourced communities across the U.S. As part of his work, Tom partnered with the Education Testing Company (ETS) to develop innovative assessments and conduct research on entrepreneurial mindset, the results of which provide evidence that entrepreneurial skills can be both taught and measured in youth.
Prior to NFTE, Tom was the director of external relations at the Research Alliance for NYC Schools, a research-practice partnership, where he worked directly with leaders in foundations, universities, and the policy community to raise funds, help devise a strategic vision for the organization, and craft a formal data agreement between NYU and the City of New York. Tom’s research at the Research Alliance focused on data use in classrooms and its impact on creating data-driven cultures in schools.
Before joining the Research Alliance, Tom was the director of external research at the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE), where he managed education associates, analysts, and consultants who provided high-quality research collateral that informed Chancellor Joel Klein’s Children First education reform initiatives. Tom managed the research for the federally funded Reading First initiative and provided critical support for key external evaluations of large-scale reform initiatives, including the conditional cash transfer program, Opportunity NYC, the Small Schools of Choice study, and the third and fifth grade Promotion Policy study. Under Tom’s leadership, the NYCDOE created an institutional review board (IRB) to guarantee the protection of human subjects involved in research in schools. Tom was also a trustee for the Brooklyn Urban Gardens Charter school located in District 15, Brooklyn, New York.
Tom is currently an adjunct associate professor of education studies at NYU, where he teaches courses in education entrepreneurship and consulting. He is also an adviser for the Startup RebelBase, an online innovation platform that supports social entrepreneurship in universities, companies, and community-based organizations. Tom writes on education, entrepreneurship, and public policy. He received a bachelor’s degree from NYU and his Ph.D. in political science from the New School for Social Research. Tom was also a Fulbright fellow in Italy at the University of Bologna.
Why I do this work: I have seen firsthand the opportunities that education brings youth, both as a child growing up in rural New Hampshire and as an adult raising children in urban New York City. I want my work to help bring these opportunities to all communities, through policies and initiatives that create greater access and equity to high-quality education.