Laura Quaynor, a Johns Hopkins University School of Education researcher who specialized in language, civic education, and English as a second language learners, died suddenly on Aug. 30 in her home in Powder Springs, Georgia. She was 41.
Quaynor joined the Johns Hopkins community in August 2019 as an assistant professor in the school's Doctor of Education (Ed.D) program and rose quickly through leadership ranks, being named an associate professor and chair of the Department of Advanced Studies in Education in 2022. She joined Johns Hopkins from Lewis University in Illinois.
"Laura was a promising scholar who was dedicated to our institution, her research, and her students," said Christopher Morphew, dean of the School of Education. "She set the bar for excellence and engagement. She will be remembered for her relentless dedication to young scholars and her advocacy on behalf of them. She will be greatly missed."
Quaynor's research focused on citizenship and civic education, and how schools enact global citizenship education, particularly among English language learners in the United States and Liberia, West Africa. Fluent in English and French, skilled in Gã, Twi, Slovak, and Spanish, she began her career as an ESL and French immersion teacher in Maryland and Virginia and served as teacher education faculty in South Carolina and Illinois, specializing in ESL/bilingual education.
As a faculty member, Quaynor developed and led courses on ESL/bilingual teaching methods, cross-cultural studies, linguistics, and comparative education, and created a state-approved online endorsement program. Recent publications have appeared in the Journal of Teacher Education, Compare, and Globalisation, Societies, & Education. At Hopkins, among other accomplishments, she will be remembered for mentoring young scholars and creating a successful one-credit writing program for first-year doctoral students.
"She was a person of mission-driven action," said Matthew Bonner, the school's faculty lead for the Counseling program. "She was a social justice pioneer and was relentless about making sure students had access to the resources they needed. And not just her students—all of our students."
Remembered by her colleagues as accomplished, ambitious, and dynamic, Quaynor taught for more than 20 years—four years at the K-12 level and 16 years at the university level. She published 19 papers and traveled across the globe, from Savannah to South Africa, presenting her research. Mostly, though, she is remembered for her ability to balance her busy academic life with her dedication to her family.
Quaynor received her bachelor's degree in African Studies and French, with a minor in Foreign Affairs, from the University of Virginia, where she was an Echols Scholar. While at UVA, she met and fell in love with a fellow student, Samuel Nii Djangmah Quaynor; they married at the Emory University Chapel on Dec. 22, 2007. Quaynor continued her education at Emory University in Atlanta, where she earned a PhD in Educational Studies in 2012.
Together with her husband and four children, Quaynor recently relocated to Georgia from the Chicago area. She is survived by her husband, Samuel Quaynor; daughters Leila and Josephine Quaynor; sons Lucas and Gabriel Quaynor; siblings Kathleen, Annmarie, and Robert Stanley; and parents Keith and Dorothy Stanley.
A funeral service was held on Saturday, Sept. 9, at 11 a.m. EDT; a recording of the service is available online. More information is available on the Greener Pastures Funeral Home website.