The Aurora Institute is thrilled to welcome Laurie Gagnon to the organization as the new CompetencyWorks Program Director, effective today. Laurie comes to Aurora with extensive experience in K-12 competency-based education (CBE) including deep expertise in CBE practice; competency-based assessment; quality performance assessment; state, district, and school-based policies; and system design.
CompetencyWorks is an openly available online resource providing information about K-12 competency-based education, and a field hub for analysis and knowledge-sharing. The initiative provides field building by sharing best practices, contributing to thinking through tough issues, reviewing different federal and state policies, and sharing new resources and research to a wide audience. CompetencyWorks provides resources for new innovators, early adopters, and educators deep in implementation so they can rapidly learn from their peers across the country to inform their work.
As Program Director, Laurie will lead CompetencyWorks–sharing promising practices shaping the future of K-12 personalized, competency-based education. Working collaboratively with the Aurora team, Laurie will be responsible for identifying trends, conducting and facilitating research that answers critical questions facing the field, and disseminating those findings widely.
Prior to joining Aurora, Laurie led education design and partnerships at reDesign, an education design lab focused on learner-centered design, change leadership, and adult development. Before reDesign, 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 led the program’s expansion from a research and development pilot to a program that is now being used in schools and districts across the country to take educators through the process of creating valid and reliable performance assessments. 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.
“We are ecstatic to have Laurie joining our team at Aurora,” said Susan Patrick, president and CEO of the organization. “She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in competency-based education, high-quality performance assessments, and systems change to drive innovations for equity. She will be a real asset to our team in leading CompetencyWorks.”
“I look forward to working with Laurie as she joins us as our new CompetencyWorks Program Director,” said Eliot Levine, Aurora’s current CompetencyWorks lead, who will remain in his role as research director. “Laurie has served on the CompetencyWorks Advisory Board for many years, and we are thrilled to be welcoming a teammate with such an expansive skill set and depth of expertise in competency-based education.”
Laurie’s graduate studies at the Fletcher School of Tufts University led her to a global focus on international development and human security. She sees her current work as a natural application of the tools for international development to educational transformation in the U.S. At home, Laurie 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, though her two marathons since having a child have been local ones.