Mara Lockowandt is a senior program manager at JFF. She leads and supports workforce and education initiatives to accelerate and scale economic advancement.
Mara focuses on how regional and statewide leaders can understand and use data to inform systems, policies, programs, and processes to achieve more equitable outcomes for untapped youth and adult populations.
Before joining JFF, Mara managed the design, delivery, and assessment of equity-focused K-12 STEM education programs at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California, to advance a regional workforce readiness initiative for diverse and low-income communities.
She also worked to improve student outcomes through creative education programs in California’s West Contra Costa Unified School District as the director of school partnerships for the East Bay Center for the Performing Arts. In that role, she also served as the principal investigator for a federally funded professional development program for teachers that fueled the West Contra Costa Unified School District’s Visual and Performing Arts strategic Plan. Her work led to a $1.2 million investment from the district for equitable arts education.
In addition, for five years, Mara was a visiting lecturer at the University of London, Royal Holloway, teaching theater and English as a second language.
Mara is a member of the board of the West Contra Costa Public Education Fund.
She says she came to work at JFF because she has “a deep regard for JFF’s exceptional record of bridging policy and research with sustainable and innovative solutions to solving our critical national issues in career readiness and college success.”
Outside of work Mara says, “I teach playwriting at juvenile detention centers, working with youth to build communication skills, develop a vision for their future, and transform the ways in which they see themselves, their communities, and their potential.”