David Lai is the Special Projects Manager at the Council of the Great City Schools. He joined the Council initially as a policy fellow in the summer of 2016. He supports various projects and assignments related to English Language Learners as well as related policy work of the organization. His responsibilities include supporting the implementation of a multi-year professional development project for teachers, supporting the organization and execution of the annual meeting of ELL program directors as well as the ELL Task Force meetings, and collaborating on the Council's policy-related work.
Prior to joining the Council, he taught middle school science and STEM (Project Lead the Way) in Prince George's County Public Schools and served as a Teach for America Corps Member. While teaching, he advised award-winning STEM competition teams, worked with a committee to revamp the district's science curriculum for ELLs, presented workshops on instructional technology, and spearheaded sustainability projects that led to Maryland Green School certification at Thomas Johnson Middle School. He also served on the Prince George's County Program Advisory Committee for Project Lead the Way, which was aimed at developing and fostering an engineering student pipeline within the school district.In 2013, Mr. Lai was recognized as a finalist in Governor Martin O'Malley's #MDForward Contest in which entrants explained how they contributed to Maryland's forward trajectory. He was named Thomas Johnson Middle School's "Rookie Teacher of the Year" in 2013 and "Teacher of the Year" in 2014. In October 2015, he was the Washington Capitals' Teacher of the Month, and in May 2016, he was awarded Johns Hopkins University's Transformational Impact Distinction. Mr. Lai earned a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering and a Citation in Environmental Studies from the University of Maryland in College Park. Later, he earned a Master of Science in Education from the Johns Hopkins University. He is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Education Policy at the George Washington University.