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Kelli Ruth Thomas, Ph.D

School of Education and Human Sciences
Associate Professor
Associate Dean for Teacher Education and Undergraduate Programs
Primary office:
Joseph R. Pearson Hall, 214B
University of Kansas
1122 West Campus Rd
Lawrence, KS 66045-3101


Dr. Kelli Thomas is Associate Dean for Teacher Education and Undergraduate programs in the School of Education at the University of Kansas and Associate Professor of Mathematics Education in the Department of Curriculum and Teaching. Dr. Thomas's professional work has focused on mathematics and science teaching, learning, and assessment in schools for more than 25 years. She has been involved in educator preparation and professional development of educators in university and K-12 settings. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Kansas, Thomas was on faculty at the University of Central Missouri. She began her career in education teaching in public school settings including the Department of Defense Dependent Schools (DoDDS) in Germany.

Dr. Thomas specializes in educator preparation, professional development, and elementary mathematics education.


Teaching Interests

  • Educator Preparation
  • Mathematics education
  • Elementary mathematics methods
  • Mathematics instruction
  • Mathematics curriculum


Dr. Thomas's research investigates issues related to educator preparation, assessment and evaluation, mathematics and science education in schools, mathematics teacher development, and students' mathematical reasoning as they solve problems. Thomas previously served as the Mathematics Learning Map Team Leader for the Dynamic Learning Maps Alternate Assessment Project through the Center for Educational Testing and Evaluation at the University of Kansas.

Thomas has published results of her collaborative research in various journals such as the Journal of Educational Research, School Science and Mathematics, Action in Teacher Education, Teaching Children Mathematics, and the American Journal of Evaluation. She has presented sessions at international, national, and regional conferences in the fields of mathematics education, assessment and evaluation, and educational research.

Selected Publications

Academic Degrees

  • Ph.D., Curriculum and Instruction - Mathematics Emphasis, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, 2001
  • M.S.A., Administration, Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, 1996
  • B.S.E., Elementary Education (minor: Mathematics), Central Missouri State University, Warrensburg, Missouri, 1990


Elementary Mathematics Education