The Knowledge Alliance, a Washington-based nonprofit which represents the nation's regional educational laboratories and other research groups, has tapped veteran Hill staffer Michele McLaughlin to be its next president.
McLaughlin, now senior education policy adviser to Senate Education Chairman Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, will start May 29, six months after Jim Kohlmoos left the group to become executive director of the National Association of State Boards of Education.
"She was our unanimous choice," said Max McConkey, the chief policy and communications officer for WestEd and a Knowledge Alliance board member who was on the selection committee. McLaughlin is "well respected, smart, personable, collaborative, with a wonderfully rich blend of experience," he said. "We're excited."
It makes sense for the group to pull in someone deeply connected to Congress, after a grueling year fighting to keep the regional labs system from being axed during Congressional budget fights. Moreover, the newest iteration of the labs includes several new research groups and a new federal emphasis on developing partnerships.
"I am honored to have been selected by the Knowledge Alliance Board to help lead the organization," McLaughlin said. "With the ongoing debate over reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the pending reauthorization of the Education Sciences Reform Act, I believe there has never been a better time for Knowledge Alliance to lead as the premier policy and advocacy organization for federal education research and to continue to grow in organizational strength."
In addition to her work with the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee since 2010, McLaughlin has held education policy positions at Teach for America, the American Federation of Teachers and the New Jersey education department. She also conducted research on minority student achievement on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, at Princeton University.