Jean-Daniel "J.D." LaRock



As a Senior Education Advisor to U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy from 2006 to 2008, J.D. helped write several major education laws at the federal level.  J.D. assisted in the 2006 renewal of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, which provides federal funding to high schools and community colleges for vocational education programs.  He developed key provisions in the 2007 College Cost Reduction and Access Act, which provided $20 billion in new federal grants and loans to help students and families pay for college.  J.D. also played a lead staff role in the 2008 passage of the Higher Education Opportunity Act, which contains new measures to hold colleges accountable for rising prices, reduce textbook costs, and help students with disabilities attend college. J.D. currently works as the policy director at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Education, the state agency that helps oversee and coordinate the work of the Massachusetts Departments of Elementary and Secondary Education, Higher Education, and Early Education and Care.

J.D. began his work in public education as a spokesperson for the nation’s largest school system, the New York City Public Schools, where he worked from 1997 to 1999.  From 1999 to 2002, he worked as an on-air television reporter for NY1, New York’s all-news television station, where he covered education and politics.  After leaving NY1, J.D. worked as Director of Media Relations at The After-School Corporation, a non-profit organization that help funds high-quality after-school programs, before moving to Washington, D.C. in 2003 to serve as the Senior Education Fellow at the U.S. Conference of Mayors, where he helped advise mayors across the country on education issues.  After returning to Massachusetts in 2004 to pursue graduate study in education policy, J.D. worked as Special Assistant to the Dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, as a staff research assistant at the Kennedy School of Government, and as a teaching fellow and seminar leader at Harvard.


As the son and brother of public school teachers, the husband of a Melrose Public Schools graduate, and the uncle of two students currently enrolled in the Melrose Public Schools, J.D. has a deep commitment to public education.  A proud public school graduate, J.D. obtained his bachelor’s degree from Harvard in 1993, becoming one of a handful of students to graduate from the college in two years.  In 1997, J.D. obtained his law degree from Georgetown University.  In 2004, J.D. received a master’s degree in education policy and management from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where he also served as an editor of the Harvard Educational Review, one of the nation’s leading scholarly journals in education.  J.D. is currently pursuing his doctorate in education policy and leadership at Harvard.

As the nephew of a person with Down Syndrome and the husband of a sign language interpreter, J.D. is also committed to the education of students with disabilities.  As a teenager, J.D. worked at “My Friend’s House,” a neighborhood respite program for young people with disabilities that was established by his family.  While an undergraduate at Harvard, he served as campus chair of Best Buddies, a program that promotes friendships between college students and people with intellectual disabilities.  As a graduate student at Harvard, LaRock also co-edited the 2004 book Special Education for a New Century, which discusses advances in educational theory and practice regarding students with disabilities.

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