Tara Laughlin, EdD

Director, Skills Validation + Development

Dr. Tara Laughlin has spent her career helping youth and adults develop the skills needed for the future of work by leading the design and implementation of personalized, competency-based solutions. She brings over 15 years of experience in K12, post-secondary, and adult education to Education Design Lab as Director of Skills Validation + Development, leading the Lab’s work on skills validation through the XCredit initiative.

Prior to joining the Lab, Tara spent four years as Director of Curriculum and Training for edtech startup PAIRIN, leading the development of a comprehensive competency-based curriculum focused on 21st century skills. In this role, she worked with clients across all sectors, particularly focused on upskilling historically underrepresented learners. Tara has also spent over a decade as an educator, teacher leader, and district administrator for school districts in Colorado and South Carolina. During this time, she built a strong foundation in curricular and instructional design across all levels of K-12 education and cultivated particular expertise in authentic assessment, backward design, and competency-based education. 

HOMETOWN: Rochester, New York

BACHELOR’S: B.S. in Elementary Education, Winthrop University

MASTER’S: M.Ed. in Divergent Learning, Columbia College

DOCTORATE: Ed.D. in Curriculum and Innovation, University of Northern Colorado

FAVORITE QUOTE: “And, in the end. The love you take is equal to the love you make.” – Paul McCartney, The Beatles

WHEN I’M NOT AT WORK I’M… a mom, dog lover, concert goer, road tripper, constant learner, and Harry Potter fanatic.