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Laura Kassner

Senior Education Researcher and Technical Assistance Provider

Laura Kassner, Ed.D., leads technical assistance and research across a broad range of projects, having experience along the full education spectrum, from early childhood, K–12, and teacher professional development, to higher education and adult learning. Kassner’s work focuses on making research accessible, relevant, and actionable for key stakeholders. She excels in working with adult learners and is adept at leveraging technology tools and social media to disseminate complex findings to diverse audiences. She draws on exceptional interpersonal and facilitation skills to build community, share evidence-based practices, and drive change that ultimately improves teaching and learning.

Kassner’s research interests include innovative teacher professional development models and feedback mechanisms, classroom practices, and district policies that result in more equitable student outcomes, and high-quality teacher-child interactions.

Kassner leads dissemination strategy for the Regional Educational Laboratory Appalachia (REL AP), including web and social media content, report releases, and webinars. Also, for REL AP, she supports the Student Success in Math Partnership’s engagement of four urban school divisions in the development of coherent professional learning models for math educators and the design of student course pathways related to the timing of students completing Algebra I and diploma attainment. Kassner also leads the development of targeted technical assistance activities for two STEM-focused projects for the National Comprehensive Center to assist states and districts with the implementation of their Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plans. These projects will build schools’ capacity to use formative assessment in computer science instruction and design equity-focused science instruction.

Prior to joining SRI, Kassner’s projects included coordinating an implementation study of a kindergarten entry assessment across 32 school sites; conducting a descriptive analysis of the distribution of National Board Certified Teachers in Virginia related to student characteristics and district policies; designing a highly differentiated early childhood educators’ conference focused on cognition and social-emotional skills; and developing a self-assessment tool to facilitate community-level discussions around child care providers’ coordination related to enrollment practices. Kassner also oversaw Virginia’s multi-year $75 million federal preschool development grant at the Virginia Department of Education and taught graduate courses in curriculum, leadership, and educational research at the University of Richmond and Virginia Tech. She began her career in a rural school division as a classroom teacher, librarian, new teacher mentor, curriculum lead, and professional development coordinator.

Kassner earned her M.Ed. from Virginia Commonwealth University and her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from Virginia Tech.

Key projects

  1. Regional Educational Laboratory Appalachia
  2. National Comprehensive Center
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