Using Data to Illuminate Education

Vela Institute is a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing access to evaluation, analytics and data tracking to education partners to improve student and community outcomes. Established in 2017, Vela Institute accomplishes its mission through applied research, data analytics, and the use of evidence-based practices.

Jennifer Wilson-Kearse

Executive Director

Shawn Bergman

Director of Research

Todd Nolt

Director of Evaluation and Analytics

Matthew Hawkins

Assistant Director of Evaluation & Support Services

Alex Serrano

Director of Platform Development

Nick Woody

Assistant Director of Communications

Performance Insights (Pi)  is the most powerful and user-friendly GEAR UP system in the nation. It was designed BY educators FOR educators. With Pi you can easily upload student-level data, track student progress, and define milestones.

Our Impact

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Vandalia Schools COVID Learning Report

Vela Institute used projection models based on past data to forecast a student’s testing achievement during the winter of the 2020-2021.

GRCC GEAR UP Evaluation

Vela Institute used a mixed-method evaluation framework to determine the extent to which GRCC GEAR UP increases postsecondary enrollment of cohort students.

ISAC Curriculum Evaluation

Vela Institute conducted an external evaluation to better understand the delivery of ISAC’s Developmental Curriculum and determine its effect on student outcomes.

Thomas University Talent Search

Vela Institute developed an educator survey to assess College Going Culture while tracking students’ postsecondary outcomes.

Evidence Based Practices

Part of Vela’s mission is to promote a culture of evidence-based decision-making. To the left is our seven-step model to improve both critical thinking and evidence quality.

What is a Good Decision?

Good Decisions are informed by professional experience. scientific research, and benchmarking data.

What is EBP?

Evidence-Based Practices (EBP) is Vela’s model for using data and analytics to improve program insights and outcomes. 

Why Should I Care?

Many organizational decisions are not based on evidence derived from research. Failing to back up decisions with credible evidence leads to missed opportunities and loss of impact.

Contact Us


(864) 216-5743



237 Chestnut Hill Dr. Boone, NC 28607