Michelle Gough, Ph.D.

Michelle Gough, Ph.D.

Senior Vice President and Chief Legal and Assessment Officer


Indianapolis, IN


  • Indiana University-Bloomington Maurer School of Law (JD)
  • Indiana University (PhD, Education Leadership and Policy)
  • DePauw University (BA)

Path to PLTW

Counsel for local school boards in Kentucky, General Counsel for state education agencies in Indiana, assistant professor of Education Studies, leader in education law and policy research.

Following many years of experience serving as General Counsel to multiple state education agencies and teaching both graduate and undergraduate courses on American Public School Law, Dr. Michelle Gough possesses a uniquely authoritative understanding of federal, state, and local education laws and regulations. As lead counsel to various agencies – including the Indiana Charter School Board, Indiana State Board of Education, and Indiana Department of Education – she regularly provided guidance in the areas of special education, assessment, equity, and school quality.

At PLTW as Senior Vice President and Chief Legal and Assessment Officer, Michelle is responsible for the organization's legal affairs, as well as the development and administration of PLTW assessments, ensuring that they are not only valid, but provide tremendous value to students, teachers, and institutions of higher learning.

Michelle is an active advocate and researcher in education policy and has published and made numerous national and local presentations on topics such as assessment validity and ethics, student and teacher civil rights, intellectual property, and data security in the education sector. She has served as a School Quality Reviewer on behalf of the State Board of Education and was a 2016 gubernatorial appointee to the panel to study alternatives to the ISTEP Program Test, on which she helped develop a recommendation for a statewide assessment program to meet the needs of students, parents, and educators. Michelle also served as a Commissioner with the Indiana Civil Rights Commission from 2014-16, and served as the co-chair to the education subcommittee for the Your Life Matters Task Force, which was a bi-partisan task force designed improve outcomes for Indianapolis youth.

In 2014, Michelle received the Education Law Association’s Joseph C. Beckham Dissertation of the Year Award for her research.