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Equipping Leaders to Better Prepare Children & Youth for College, Careers, & Citizenship

Laura Gardner

Laura Gardner

Senior Program Associate

Laura joined IEL in 2017.  As a senior program associate, her responsibilities include supporting IEL's District Leaders Network on Family & Community Engagement, a peer learning network designed to develop and deepen the capacity of school district level family engagement leaders, and contributing to the Early Childhood Community Schools Linkages Project. 

Prior to joining IEL, Laura coordinated immigrant family and community engagement for Anne Arundel County Public Schools in Maryland where she managed a team of school-based bilingual family & community outreach facilitators. In addition, she provided training and technical assistance to 125 schools on accommodating and engaging newcomer students and families. 

Previous to working in the schools, Laura was the education technical assistance specialist for Bridging Refugee Youth and Children’s Services (BRYCS), a federally funded technical assistance provider for those working with refugee children and families. Laura managed BRYCS’s national technical assistance initiative to federal Refugee School Impact grantees throughout the U.S. (36 states/200 local) via a listserv and webinars, writing about best practices, speaking at conferences, conducting site visits, and collaborating with federal partners.   

Laura’s direct practice with families includes experiences at five refugee-serving agencies, both inside and outside the U.S., as well as working as a school social worker with Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia.   Laura holds a Master of Science in Social Work from Columbia University and a Bachelor’s of Science in Education.  Her areas of expertise include family and community engagement in the schools, immigrant integration, refugee resettlement, language access, and equity.