Dr. J.D. LaRock
President & Chief Executive Officer
A respected educator, scholar, and policy expert, Dr. LaRock joins NFTE from the Commonwealth Corporation, Massachusetts’ public-private state authority focused on workforce development and regional economic development. As president and CEO of Commonwealth, Dr. LaRock chaired Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker’s Commission on Digital Innovation and Lifelong Learning, producing a blueprint for innovative work-based learning models that garnered significant investment from major foundations. Previously, he served as a senior education advisor to the late U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy, leading work on the renewal of the federal Higher Education Act, as well as passage of a law that provided $20 billion in new Pell Grants to college students. As education policy director for former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, he helped author a K-12 education law that enabled turnarounds in low-performing school districts and helped the state win $250 million through the U.S. Department of Education’s “Race to the Top” program.
For much of the past decade, Dr. LaRock has worked as a teacher, scholar, and university administrator focused on experiential learning, entrepreneurship, and the future of work. As chief of staff to the president of Northeastern University, he served on the leadership team that completed the institution’s transformation from a commuter college to a top-ranked global research university. He has also served as Professor of the Practice of Law and Policy at Northeastern and as a Fellow with the Aspen Institute’s Economic Opportunities program.
Dr. LaRock grew up in Queens, New York, in a family of public school educators, and is a proud graduate of the city’s public schools. He went on to earn his bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate at Harvard University and his law degree at Georgetown University. He currently resides in Massachusetts with his wife Christina, a sign language interpreter, and their daughter Callie.
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