Laurie Gagnon

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Laurie has always believed in the power of education to create opportunities for students to explore their passions and learn worlds beyond where they started. Growing up in a mill town in northern New Hampshire, Laurie felt lucky to have opportunities that her parents did not have themselves, from playing an instrument to attending a youth leadership forum to studying Japanese language and culture at a summer program, as well as being the first in her family to attend college. Laurie’s personal story informs her professional work. She believes that for social justice, democratic, and economic reasons, we can and should design educational settings that engage all children as independent learners and develop compassionate citizens with the opportunities and skills to pursue their goals.

Prior to becoming a reDesigner, Laurie was the Director of the Quality Performance Assessment Program (QPA) at the Center for Collaborative Education in Boston, MA. She was a key designer of the QPA model and she led the program’s expansion from a research and development pilot to a flagship program. During the research phase she authored a qualitative study about learning from performance assessment entitled Ready for the FutureThe Role of Performance Assessments in Shaping Graduates’ Academic, Professional, and Personal Lives. One of many highlights in her QPA portfolio was partnering with the New Hampshire Department of Education on the Performance Assessment for Competency Education (PACE) pilot. In her prior and current work, Laurie is deeply committed to creating designs that that benefit the entire learning system by keeping the focus on learners. She loves to coach and facilitate conversations that engage educators in building the capacity and cultures to implement ideas and practices with integrity.

Laurie began her professional life teaching English in Japan on the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme and soon after returning to the U.S. she became a high school history teacher. After five years, her graduate studies at the Fletcher School of Tufts University pulled her back to a global focus on international development and human security and provided an opportunity to learn Spanish and spend a summer in Guatemala. Laurie sees her current work as natural application of the tools for international development to educational transformation in the U.S. She aims to keep a global connection through travel. At home, she is involved with her running club, where she met her husband, who is a scientist working on cancer immunology. She especially loves to explore a new place by running a marathon there and then relaxing and exploring the sights and culinary delights.