Senior Education Researcher and Technical Assistance Provider
Laura Kassner, EdD, leads technical assistance and research across a broad range of projects, from early childhood, K–12 education and teacher professional development, to higher education and adult learning. In every context, Kassner works to identify and dismantle racism and to amplify voices often unheard. She excels at working with diverse audiences and building trust, consensus and shared understanding. She leverages her exceptionally strong interpersonal skills in training and facilitation to democratize meetings, build community, share evidence-based practices and drive change that ultimately improves teaching and learning.
At SRI, Kassner supports state early childhood care and education (ECCE) systems building and brings evidence-based practices to preK–12 classrooms. In these projects, she designs engaging interactions in in-person, hybrid and virtual formats and brings empathy, humor and authenticity to her work. She also leads dissemination strategy for the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Appalachia, directing development of web and social media content, report releases and webinars. She skillfully uses digital tools and platforms to disseminate complex findings so they are accessible, relevant and actionable for parents, practitioners and policymakers. In addition, Kassner supports REL Appalachia projects that focus on integrating social and emotional learning into math classrooms; developing a professional learning and progress monitoring toolkit for teachers of early math; and building a framework for supporting preK–12 math instruction. Before joining SRI, Kassner coordinated an implementation study of a kindergarten entry assessment across 32 school sites; conducted a descriptive analysis of the distribution of National Board Certified Teachers in Virginia related to student characteristics and district policies; designed a highly differentiated early childhood educators’ conference focused on cognition and social-emotional skills; and developed a self-assessment tool to facilitate community-level discussions around child care providers’ coordination related to enrollment practices. She also oversaw a multiyear, $75 million federal preschool development grant at the Virginia Department of Education and taught graduate courses in curriculum, leadership and education research at the University of Richmond and Virginia Tech. She began her career in a Virginia rural school division as a classroom teacher, librarian, new teacher mentor, curriculum lead and professional development coordinator.
Kassner earned her EdD in educational leadership and policy studies from Virginia Tech and her MEd from Virginia Commonwealth University.
Recent publicationsmore +
This REL Appalachia blog summarizes a recent IES report, examining Algebra I course taking pathways and outcomes based on students’ performance on Virginia’s grade 5 statewide math test.
As school closures due to COVID-19 separate students from structured routines and educational supports, the number of disengaged students may continue to grow.
After the conclusion of the course, participants were contacted and presented with a summary of four benefits of the peer video review process, as identified in a recent professional article.
This study examined the nature and quality of peer feedback exchanged in the digital medium and gauged graduate students’ impressions of the technology, with potential for carryover into their professional practices in P–12 instruction.
Opportunities to personalize teacher learning: Innovative approaches to bridge evaluation and professional development for continuous improvement
The following seven innovative approaches to personalize teacher learning are explored as possible mechanisms to bridge evaluation and professional development…
The term “blended learning” represents a wide spectrum of delivery options, tools, and pedagogies, but conceptually refers to instruction that is a mix or blending of traditional face-to-face (f2f) and online components.
- Kassner, L., Harding, C., & Mielicki, M. (2023, March 10). Responding to NAEP results: Evidence-based strategies to accelerate student learning in reading and mathematics. REL Appalachia.
- Kassner, L., Friedman, K., & Hamilton-Biagas, K. (2022, November 30). How REL Appalachia supports partners in achieving equitable learner outcomes. REL Appalachia.
- Kassner, L. (2022, April 4). Practical resources to support early learners’ transitions to school. REL Appalachia.
- Rulifson, E., & Kassner, L. (2022, September 27). Planting SEAD in mathematics for meaningful learning. REL Appalachia.
- Friedman, K., Kassner, L., Araoz, C., & Dempsey, K. (2021). Community Math Night facilitators’ toolkit. U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Regional Educational Laboratory Appalachia.
- Schmidt, R., Park, C. J., & Kassner, L. (2021, December 13). When educators’ needs exceed the research base. REL Appalachia.
- Flournoy, V., & Kassner, L., (2021, November 02). Four difference-making practices: Supporting rural students post-pandemic. REL Appalachia.
- Pratt-Williams, J., & Kassner, L. (2021, November 2). “Yea” or “nay”: How a new REL Appalachia tool can help determine the real costs of supplemental online programs. REL Appalachia.
- Alozie, N., Hamilton-Biagas, K., Kassner, L., & Parker, C. (2021, April 27). Creating learning opportunities for diverse classrooms. Comprehensive Center Network.
- Basu, S., Kassner, L., Rutstein, D., Tate, C., & Hamilton-Biagas, K. (2021, March 15). Integrating formative assessment practices to improve computer science teaching. Comprehensive Center Network.
- Harris, J., & Kassner, L. (2021, July 8). Then and now – and now what? Career and technical education credential attainment in Virginia. REL Appalachia.
- Kassner, L., & Jonas, D. (2021, May 17). Blurring the lines between classroom and community. REL Appalachia.
- Kassner, L. (2021, January 15). A pivot to performance assessments. REL Appalachia.