Dr. J.D. LaRock is President & CEO of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), a global nonprofit organization that teaches high school, middle school, and adult students from under-resourced communities how to launch businesses. NFTE is one of the largest entrepreneurship education organizations in the world; since its founding in 1987, it has served 1.25 million students and nurtured the careers of some of the nation’s most recognizable founders and CEOs. Since joining NFTE in 2019, J.D. has more than doubled NFTE’s student enrollment from 29,000 to a projected 60,000 students in the 2023-24 school year, and has also more than doubled its revenue and fundraising.
Alongside his leadership of NFTE, J.D. also serves as an executive and professor at Northeastern University in Boston, which he has been continuously affiliated with since 2010. As Senior Advisor to the President of Northeastern, he helps shape the ongoing evolution of the university’s curriculum and experiential learning model in response to artificial intelligence and other technological changes. J.D. has served on the senior leadership team of Northeastern and worked closely with its President for more than a decade, serving as Special Assistant to the President (2010-11), Chief of Staff to the President (2012-15) and Executive Director of Strategic Presidential Initiatives (2015-17). J.D. is Professor of the Practice of Law and Policy and master instructor for the university’s Doctor of Law and Policy program (2015-present).
In addition to his higher education and nonprofit leadership roles, J.D. has had a distinguished career in government service as a CEO, policymaker, and higher education board member. From 2006-2008, J.D. served as Senior Education Advisor to the late U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy in Washington, D.C., where he was the lead Senate staff member in charge of the 2008 reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, the 2006 reauthorization of the Carl Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. From 2008-2010, J.D. was education policy director for former Democratic Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, where he led efforts to pass the Achievement Gap Act, a major K-12 school reform law, and helped write Massachusetts’ winning application to President Obama’s “Race to the Top” competition, securing $250 million for Massachusetts public schools.
From 2015-2019, J.D. served in the administration of Republican Governor Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, first as a member of the state’s Board of Higher Education, and then as President and CEO of the Commonwealth Corporation, Massachusetts’ workforce development authority. During Governor Baker’s administration, J.D. also chaired the Governor’s Commission on Digital Innovation and Lifelong Learning and the Board of Trustees of North Shore Community College, a position he still holds (2015-present).
Since 2022, J.D. has served as a state Commissioner on the Education Commission of the States, the national association of state K-12 and higher education leaders. He is a regular speaker at top higher education and public policy conferences, including the World Economic Forum (Davos), SXSWedu, and ASU+GSV.
A scholar of education policy, U.S. history and politics, and technology, J.D. has authored, edited, and contributed to several books, including 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). J.D. earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees at Harvard University and his law degree at Georgetown University. He and his wife Christina reside in Massachusetts with their daughter Callie.