Punita Dani Thurman

“Every child is born with genius. But right now, the opportunities to cultivate one’s genius and aspiration aren’t equal or fair. It’s up to us all to instill young people with the preparation, perspective, and power to lead a fulfilling future.”

Punita Dani Thurman is vice president of program & strategy, leading strategy and overseeing the execution of the Foundation’s programmatic work.

Punita approaches education reform from a focus on human capital as a transformation lever. She supported the launch of TeachingWorks, an initiative housed at the University of Michigan School of Education focused on transforming teacher training nationally. She was also an adviser to the Michigan Future Schools portfolio of high schools. Punita was selected to be a Broad Resident to work with the superintendent of Fort Worth Independent School District. During her time in the district, she led a variety of performance management and strategic planning initiatives, including the design and implementation of a $15 million performance pay and school transformation initiative, and oversaw the district’s department of Human Capital Development. Prior to joining the district, Punita worked in the private sector for more than 12 years as a management consultant. She has consulted for a number of Fortune 500 firms and federal governmental agencies on human capital strategy, change management and organizational effectiveness.

In 2016, Punita was named a PLACES Fellow, a program that supports education leaders’ efforts in integrating education systems in land and city planning. In 2019, Punita was appointed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer to serve as a Commissioner with the Education Commission of the States. As one of seven Commissioners from Michigan, she is recognized as a key figure in education policy in the state and works to inform policymakers on the issues that matter most to students and parents. She also serves on the State of Michigan’s PreK-12 Literacy Commission.

Punita holds a BBA in finance and management from the University of Michigan and an MBA focused on organizations and strategy from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.

Areas of expertise:
Big-picture thinking, forging connections, strategy development, the public education system

How I can help partners:
I have the privilege to sit at many tables, giving me perspective on how efforts can combine or complement for greater results. I can help you consider how your work might accelerate by plugging in to others or to the larger landscape. I can also help you wrestle tensions you may be facing in your work.

Some of my favorite things:
Spending time with my kids, family, and friends; Taking walks; Volunteering  

A quote that describes my outlook:
“Never stop learning because life never stops teaching.”