Kathleen DeLaski

Founder and President at Education Design Lab

Headshot of Kathleen DeLaski

Kathleen deLaski founded the Education Design Lab after eight years on the board of Virginia’s largest public university, George Mason. A social entrepreneur, she has launched or co-launched four non-profits in the past two decades, all related to improving the quality of education for non-elite students. With the Lab, she saw the need for a non-profit to help learning institutions and other players design education toward the future.  As the Lab has supported 60 universities, as well as employers and high schools, in their innovation design work. deLaski has been asked to share learnings and ideas about the broken pipeline, 21st century skills and the learner-driven revolution around the world.

In addition, deLaski serves as the president of the deLaski Family Foundation, a leading grantmaker in education reform and new pathways to the middle class. She founded and serves as board chair for EdFuel, a national non-profit working to build a diverse talent leadership pipeline for K-12 education. Previously, deLaski created Sallie Mae’s award-winning college access foundation; co-founded Building Hope, a charter school facilities financing non-profit; and helped Michelle Rhee create StudentsFirst, a national advocacy movement to improve school options and quality.

During five years at America Online, she developed the first interactive tools to engage the public online in elections and the political process and helped the biggest news organizations create digital brands. She and her boss, Steve Case, were named by Harvard University’s Institute of Politics as one of 25 People Changing the World. deLaski was named by President Clinton as chief spokesman for the Pentagon, where she oversaw the military’s worldwide public information team. She also spent 13 years as a TV journalist, including five years as an ABC News Washington correspondent.