Professor of the Practice
Dr. J.D. LaRock is Professor of the Practice with Northeastern University's Doctor of Law and Policy program, where he teaches courses on constitutional law, policymaking, and law and legal reasoning. J.D. first joined Northeastern as a member of the university's senior administration, serving as Chief of Staff to President Joseph E. Aoun, and as a member of the university's senior leadership team.
An educator, scholar, and federal/state policymaker, Dr. LaRock previously served as President and CEO of the Commonwealth Corporation, Massachusetts’ workforce development authority, where he oversaw job training and education programs that serve 25,000 adults and young people and 5,000 companies per year. While serving as Commonwealth's CEO, J.D. 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, J.D. served as 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.
J.D,'s scholarly work has focused on education reform, experiential learning, entrepreneurship, and the future of work. He has edited, co-authored, and contributed to the books Special Education for a New Century (Harvard Education Press, 2005), Education at a Glance (OECD, 2012), and Robot Proof: Higher Education in the Age of Artificial Intelligence (MIT Press, 2017), and was a fellow with the Aspen Institute's Economic Opportunities program.
J.D. 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 earned his bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate at Harvard University and his law degree at Georgetown University. He has served on many public and non-profit boards, including the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education and the board of North Shore Community College, the latter of which he chaired.