Laura Kassner

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.

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