Meet the CEP Team

CEP Partners

Shantel Meek

Shantel Meek, PhD
Executive Director
Professor of Practice

Children's Equity Project, Arizona State University

Dr. Shantel E. Meek is a professor of practice and the executive director of the Children's Equity Project (CEP) at Arizona State University. She manages strategic partnerships with CEP partners at 16 universities and non-profit organizations, policymakers, and national organizations, and sets the strategic direction of the CEP. Dr. Meek previously served as a consultant in early childhood policy and strategy at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington D.C. where she advised senior staff on a range of federal and state equity and early childhood policy issues. Prior to founding the CEP, Dr. Meek served in the Obama Administration as a Senior Policy Advisor for Early Childhood Development at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and as a Senior Policy Advisor for Education in the Domestic Policy Council at the White House. During her time in the Obama Administration, Dr. Meek advised senior officials at HHS and The White House on a wide array of policy issues including Head Start, child care, public Pre-K expansion, and promoting equity and reducing disparities across the early care and education system. She also worked on drafting official guidance related to Head Start and the Child Care and Development Block Grant and worked closely with states, communities, and stakeholders on implementation. Dr. Meek also played a key role in President Obama's My Brother's Keeper Initiative, leading the early childhood policy component of the initiative. She has published pieces in the New York Times and the Washington Post. Dr. Meek serves on the boards of Child Trends and the Pyramid Model Consortium and is a member of the Ideal Learning Roundtable. Dr. Meek holds a B.A. in Psychology and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Family and Human Development from Arizona State University. She is the granddaughter of Mexican immigrants and her personal experiences as a Latina and first-generation college graduate from a small border town inform her work and contribute to her drive to improve the learning conditions of children from historically marginalized communities. Today, she lives in Phoenix with her husband and two babies, both of whom are growing up bilingual.

Evandra Catherine

Evandra Catherine, PhD
Deputy Director
Children’s Equity Project, Arizona State University
Assistant Professor
Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, Arizona State University
Dr. Evandra Catherine is an Assistant Professor in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. She is also the Director of Leadership Development and Senior Scientist of Mental Health Equity for the Children’s Equity Project at Arizona State University. Dr. Catherine focuses on addressing equity in policy, practices, and systems for young learners, especially Black children and their families, through the intersection of research, data, and policy. Her work focuses on advancing equity in early care and education through Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation, banning the use of harsh discipline including suspension, expulsion, corporal punishment, restraint, and seclusion in early care and education, and the inclusion of young children with disabilities in high-quality settings. Dr. Catherine is currently working on initiatives with the Center of Excellence for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health at Georgetown University and the Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center at the University of North Carolina. She also works with state leaders to evaluate and develop policies and practices that advance equity in child and family-serving systems. In 2022, she was named a Young Scholar for the Foundation for Child Development.


Janniqua Dawkins, MC
Manager of Operations
Children's Equity Project, Arizona State University

Janniqua Dawkins is the Manager of Operations for the Children’s Equity Project at Arizona State University. She is responsible for managing the CEP’s operations, events, financial portfolio, and supporting the mission of the CEP. Janniqua has dedicated her entire professional career to enhancing the lives of underserved populations, specifically youth and families, racial and ethnic minorities, and people within the LGBTQIA community. She holds an Honors Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Western Kentucky University and a Master’s in Mental Health Counseling from Arizona State University (ASU). She is currently pursuing a Master's in Business Administration from ASU.

Eric Martinez sm

Eric Martinez
Communications Specialist
Children's Equity Project, Arizona State University

Eric Martinez is the Communications Specialist for The Children's Equity Project at Arizona State University. He is a second-generation college graduate who possesses a bachelor's degree in Marketing from Washington State University. He is passionate about aiding underserved communities on their path to college, ensuring the necessary resources are provided for a successful college career.

Mario Cardona

Mario Cardona, JD
Professor of Practice and Director of Policy
Children's Equity Project, Arizona State University

Mario Cardona is a national expert in early learning and K-12 education policy. He was formerly Chief of Policy and Practice for Child Care Aware® of America. Previously, he served in the Obama Administration as the Senior Policy Advisor for Elementary and Secondary Education on the White House Domestic Policy Council. In that role, he led the Administration’s legislative strategy, budget proposals, and policy initiatives to advance and execute President Obama’s early and K-12 education agenda. Prior to his service in the White House, Cardona held senior roles in the U.S. Senate, including as a principal advisor to the Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Cardona earned a Master’s degree in Education from Harvard University, and a Juris Doctorate with honors, from the George Washington University Law School.

Rosemarie Allen

Rosemarie Allen, PhD
Associate Research Professor and Senior Advisor
Children's Equity Project, Arizona State University

Dr. Rosemarie Allen is an Associate Research Professor and Senior Advisor for the Children’s Equity Project. She is also an Assistant Professor in the School of Education at Metropolitan State University of Denver and founder and CEO of the Institute for Racial Equity & Excellence (IREE) which serves as the lead agency for ensuring equity in educational practices. Dr. Allen’s life’s work is focused on reducing the number of children of color suspended and expelled from early childhood programs.

Rosemarie has served in directorship roles with the Colorado Department of Human Services where she was responsible for the State’s child care licensing program, the federal child care assistance program, the redesign of the State’s quality rating and improvement system, the implementation of the State’s professional development plan, and assisted in the creation of Colorado’s early learning guidelines. Rosemarie serves on the Pyramid Equity Program team, is a respected keynote speaker, and has the distinct honor of being appointed as a “Global Leader” representing the United States at World Conferences. Dr. Allen also served on President Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper” (MBK) initiative, Early Childhood Task Force. In that role, she was the national expert on implicit bias and culturally responsive practices, speaking at conferences across the country. Rosemarie earned her B. A. from California State University, Masters of Education from Lesley University and Doctorate Degree in Leadership for Equity in Education from the University of Colorado, Denver.

Lisa Gordon

Lisa Gordon
Director of Training, Technical Assistance, and Community Engagement
Children's Equity Project, Arizona State University

Lisa Gordon is the Director of Training, Technical Assistance, and Community Engagement with the Children’s Equity Project. Lisa has worked in early childhood education for the past 25 years designing and delivering professional development, training, technical assistance, and programs at both the state and federal levels that facilitate the well-being of children and families. Central to her work has been elevating issues of equity, race, and bias to support equitable educational practices, programs, and policies to affect systemic change. Much of her career has been devoted to advocating on half of children and families from historically marginalized communities and communities of color. Lisa is co-founder of Colorful World, a women-owned diversity educational consulting firm whose mission is to facilitate the creation of equitable and inclusive learning environments that empower all children and families to succeed. Prior to her work with the CEP, she served as Project Director, School Systems Partnerships and Programs and Associate Director of Early Childhood Programs for the Center for Culture, Race & Equity at the Education Center at Bank Street College. Lisa was an Early Childhood Development Trainer with the Office of Head Start National Center on Culture and Linguistic Responsiveness where she co-developed research to practice materials for dissemination and facilitated trainings across the country. She has served as Director of the Child Care Resource and Referral Agency and the Professional Development Registry for the District of Columbia and on several national school readiness and research initiatives to close opportunity gaps for children from marginalized communities and communities of color. Lisa has been a mentor and coach to elementary school principals to help strengthen their capacity to lead high-quality early childhood programming and to improve the quality and coherence of teaching and learning across the PreK to Grade 3 continuum.

Tunette Powell

Tunette Powell, PhD
Director of Parent and Family Partnerships
Children's Equity Project, Arizona State University

Dr. Tunette Powell is an Assistant Research Professor and Director of K-12 Education for the Children's Equity Project. She is a powerful storyteller and educator who believes truth is a form of activism and an agent for change. As an established author and lecturer, Dr. Powell has published two nonfiction books and has spoken to groups around the country on topics including the school-to-prison pipeline, parent engagement and school-induced collective trauma. In addition, she was a 2013 TEDx speaker and has appeared on Oprah’s Lifeclass, NPR, CNN and MSNBC.

Dr. Powell recently earned her PhD in education at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Her dissertation, The Scars of School Suspension: Narratives as Testimonies of Collective Trauma, examines the wounds dealt to Black parents of children who have been suspended in early childhood education. She also serves as the interim director of the UCLA Parent Empowerment Project – a project focused on developing, nurturing and sustaining parent engagement and parent leadership in schools, especially schools serving families of color.

Brittany Alexander

Brittany Alexander, PhD
Manager of Data Analysis
Children's Equity Project, Arizona State University

Dr. Brittany Alexander is an early childhood equity and policy researcher at the CEP. Her research broadly focuses on intersectional educational equity, teacher-child interactions, social and emotional learning, and the impact of racism on children’s educational experiences. Her dissertation focused on applying Anti-Racist Early Childhood Theory to Head Start classroom quality and children's school readiness. The first study investigated the extent to which the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS), an observational measure of classroom quality that is used in Head Start decision making, captured the same construct across teachers from various racial/ethnic groups (i.e., measurement invariance). The second study explored patterns of Head Start classroom interactional quality, the distribution of these patterns, and their relation to children's school readiness. Beyond her academic work, Brittany has experience in program and policy evaluation, applied and translational research, and critical/intersectional theoretical approaches. She has published research related to the development of hope in adolescence, authored policy briefs with the CEP, and worked with state agencies on evaluation projects. In her role as Manager of Data Analysis she uses quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods approaches to answer equity-centered research questions and advance the research agenda of the CEP.

Xigrid Soto-Boykin

Xigrid Soto-Boykin, PhD
Assistant Research Professor and Senior Scientist for Bilingual Learning
Children's Equity Project, Arizona State University

Dr. Xigrid Soto-Boykin is an Assistant Research Professor and Senior Scientist for Bilingual Learning for the Children’s Equity Project at Arizona State University. Her passion for leveraging the success of bilingual children stems from her personal experiences as a person who learned English at 11 years old, and her professional experiences as a bilingual speech-language pathologist, an Ameri Corps Reading Tutor, and an early childhood researcher. Dr. Soto-Boykin’s work has two main strands. The first strand of her work focuses on identifying and dismantling systematic barriers Latinx bilingual children and their families face when accessing early childhood, and the extent to which socio-political ideologies create systematic barriers that impact bilingual children’s early childhood education. The second strand of her work focuses on creating and evaluating culturally sustaining approaches to providing young bilingual children with high-quality early childhood education. Dr. Soto-Boykin is the recipient of the 2020-2021 Multicultural Grant from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and the 2021-2023 Kauffman Quality Improvement Grant. She also is the founder of, a website containing free resources for parents, therapists, and educators working with bilingual children. Presently, her work is positioned at the intersections of bilingualism, early childhood, disability, and equity. Through her work at the CEP, she is working with a team committed to improving Latinx Dual Language Learners’ access to high-quality bilingual early childhood education through policy and research.

Dr. Soto-Boykin earned her doctorate from the University of South Florida, where she developed and evaluated a bilingual early intervention for Latinx preschoolers who were Dual Language Learners. She completed her postdoctoral fellowship at Juniper Gardens’ Children’s Project at the University of Kansas, where her research focused on providing professional development to monolingual and bilingual educators and speech-language pathologists, on implementing Multi-Tiered Systems of Support for bilingual children in preschool, and on developing culturally responsive language and early literacy interventions for Latinx bilingual children.

Darielle Blevins

Darielle Blevins, PhD
Assistant Research Professor
Children's Equity Project, Arizona State University

Dr. Darielle Blevins is a postdoctoral research scholar and Start with Equity Fellow with the Children’s Equity Project. Her goal is to use an intersectional approach to elevate communities’ voices in research to inform policy. Grounded in Black Feminist ways of knowing, Dr. Blevins’ work centers the need for love, equity, and justice, to ensure quality learning spaces in early childhood and beyond. She earned her Ph.D. in Education from San Diego State University and Claremont University and was named Outstanding Graduate of the Year.

Her dissertation on Black girlhood in education centered the voices of Black middle school girls as they envisioned their inner selves and the self their teacher saw using self-portraits. She is particularly concerned about the relationship between power, culture, and identity development in the classroom context. Methodologically, she is interested in mixed methods with visual methodologies that provide an opportunity for children, who are usually acted upon, to express themselves and use their power. She has impacted the field of Child Development and early learning through her work as a preschool teacher, behavior specialist, and quality improvement coach. Through one- on-one coaching and behavioral support training for hundreds of parents and educators in San Diego County, she has provided educators with tools to engage in anti-bias, culturally responsive, and developmentally appropriate practice.

Eric Bucher

Eric Bucher, EdD
Assistant Research Professor
Children's Equity Project, Arizona State University

Eric Bucher, Ed.D. is an assistant research professor with the Children's Equity Project (CEP) at Arizona State University. He also leads the Arizona Association for the Education of Young Children (AzAEYC) and serves on the First Things First Phoenix North Regional Partnership Council and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Affiliate Advisory Council. Dr. Bucher collaborates to develop strong early childhood leaders, dismantle inequitable systems and rebuild new anti-racist and anti-bias systems, and elevate the voices of marginalized early childhood professionals.
Dr. Bucher's 16 years of early childhood experience includes directly teaching children (birth to age 8), developing content for preschool programs at a science museum, designing professional development, managing local/national early childhood grants, leading in state and government agencies including Head Start/Early Head Start, and serving as a content expert for the Arizona Infant and Toddler Developmental Guidelines and Arizona Early Learning Standards.
Dr. Bucher is a first-generation college graduate with a Doctorate of Education in Leadership & Innovation from Arizona State University. His research focused on early childhood professional development and infant-toddler Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM). Dr. Bucher is the co-author of "Beyond Bouncing the Ball: Toddlers and Teachers Investigate Physics" and "Infant and Toddler STEAM: Supporting Interdisciplinary Experiences with Our Youngest Learners" both published in NAEYC's peer-reviewed journal Young Children.


Iheoma U. Iruka, Ph.D.
Senior Advisor
Children’s Equity Project, Arizona State University
Research Professor and Founding Director
Equity Research Action Coalition at Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute

Dr. Iheoma U. Iruka is a Research Professor in the Department of Public Policy, a Fellow at the Frank Porter Graham, Child Development Institute (FPG), a Founding Director of the Equity Research Action Coalition at FPG at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a Senior Advisor for the Children’s Equity Project. Dr. Iruka is engaged in projects and initiatives focused on how evidence-informed policies, systems, and practices in early education can support the optimal development and experiences of children from low-wealth and marginalized households and communities. Her work focuses on family engagement and support, quality rating and improvement systems, and the early care and education system and programs. She focuses on addressing how best to ensure excellence for young diverse learners, especially Black children and their families, through the intersection of research, program, and policy. Dr. Iruka serves and or has served on numerous national and local boards and committees, including the Brady Education Foundation, Trust for Learning, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine committees on Supporting Parents of Young Children, and Applying Neurobiological and Socio-behavioral Sciences from Prenatal through Early Childhood Development: A Health Equity Approach, and the American Psychological Association’s Board of Educational Affairs Racial Disparities in PreK-12 Education.

Cinthia Palomino

Cinthia Palomino
Postdoctoral Research Scholar
Children's Equity Project, Arizona State University

Cinthia's interests include exploring cultural and socio-demographic factors that influence children’s social-emotional development, learning, and access to early childhood education. She is also interested in promoting families' and early childhood teachers' well-being through programs and resources that are culturally responsive and equity-oriented. Her dissertation focused on social indicators of mental health in early childhood teachers before and at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Cinthia was born and raised in Lima, Peru, and is a first-generation college graduate. She holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin, an Ed.S. in School Psychology, and a Ph.D. in Learning Sciences and Human Development from the University of Washington in Seattle.


Afua Ameley-Quaye, M. Arch
Graduate Research Assistant
Children's Equity Project, Arizona State University

Afua is a doctoral student at the Design School at Arizona State University. Her work focusses on the interaction of children and the physical learning environment, and its effect on learning outcomes. She is particularly interested in how architecture can foster educational equity through the provision of ideal learning spaces and experiences for children. Trained as an architect in Ghana where she received her BSc. Architecture and Master of Architecture degrees in 2011 and 2013 respectively, Afua’s research and practice has been at the intersection of Architecture and Early Childhood Education in developing countries. Her work with the CEP involves developing policy recommendations for the ideal learning infrastructure through reviewing state licensing database, existing policies and research on the effects of infrastructure on health and learning.

CEP Partners


Kristine Andrews

Kristine Andrews, PhD
Co-Founder and Senior Director
Ideas to Impact

Dr. Kristine Andrews is co-Founder and Senior Director of Ideas to Impact, a social science policy and research consulting firm. Lived experiences as a daughter of immigrant parents, a first-generation college graduate, and a mother of three African American girls informs her approach to research. Kristine’s personal experiences with both racism and privilege compel her to challenge inequitable systems, present data with historical context and disrupt traditional practices and policies that perpetuate racist narratives.

Kristine has established her career in building the capacity of practitioners and other researchers by delivering strong training and technical assistance; working with communities to authentically engage and share the stories of those most directly impacted by systems; and translating research and findings into actionable programmatic recommendations.  Fueled by a passion to build community, practitioner, and researcher capacity, she has spent her career leading or conducting rigorous evaluations and research studies in various fields (early childhood, adolescent health, positive youth development, out of school time programs, teen pregnancy and parenting, and social and emotional health) and ensuring that this work is disseminated via end products that serve those most impacted.

Most importantly in all her work, Dr. Andrews acknowledges the current and historical context of race and racism in American society.  Among her many accomplishments leading racial equity in research, Dr. Andrews has presented or led trainings for foundations, federal agencies and practitioners on how to integrate a culturally responsive and racial equity lens in research and practice.

Dr. Andrews is also a Visiting Distinguished Fellow at Child Trends. She earned her PhD in Family and Child Ecology and Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy from Michigan State University. Kristine is a native New Yorker currently residing in Washington DC with her husband and three daughters.

Sheresa Boone Blanchard

Sheresa Boone Blanchard, PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Human Development and Family Science, East Carolina University

Dr. Sheresa Boone Blanchard is an Associate Professor at East Carolina University in the department of Human Development and Family Science. Her research and teaching focus on family/community engagement, inclusion, families of color, assessment, early intervention, and improving teacher preparation competencies through lenses of intersectionality, equity, and social justice. Her scholarly interests emerged from over 20 years of experience as a teacher, practitioner, and consultant in early childhood, special education, and early intervention. She served on the North Carolina Early Learning and Development Standards Advisory Team which coordinated the creation of the North Carolina Foundations for Early Learning and Development, the state’s early learning standards for children birth through five years.  Currently an NC Child Care commissioner, she received the Merle B. Karnes Award for Service to the Division for Early Childhood (DEC) in 2018. Additionally, until 2022 she served as co-chair of the DEC Inclusion, Equity, and Social Justice Committee for five years. In Fall 2020, she was appointed to the ECU Rural Education Institute as an Associate Faculty member to sharpen her research focus on the strengths and needs of rural education and early intervention.

Dianna Carrizales-Engelmann

Dianna Carrizales-Engelmann, PhD
Director of Administration
College of Education Leadership, University of Oregon

Dr. Dianna Carrizales-Engelmann is Director of Administration for the College. She has published in the areas of assessment, measurement, standard setting, and assessment policy, and is co-author of the Strong Kids and Strong Teens social/emotional learning curricula. Dr. Carrizales-Engelmann serves many roles including liaison for the dean of the college to all internal and external stakeholders. Dr. Carrizales-Engelmann served at the Oregon Department of Education as Director of Monitoring, Systems, and Outcomes in the (then) Office of Student Learning and Partnerships in which she was responsible for the oversight of district compliance with IDEA as well as district assessment expectations under NCLB/ESEA. In that role she provided leadership around the implementation of active statewide initiatives such as Safe and Drug Free Schools, District Response to Intervention, Kindergarten Readiness, Scaling up Initiatives, Accommodations, and Oregon's Alternate Assessments. Dianna also served as a contract manager on the Smarter Balanced Consortium development team.

Dina Castro

Dina C. Castro, PhD
Boston University Institute for Early Childhood Well-Being

Dr. Dina C. Castro, MPH is Director of the Boston University Institute for Early Childhood Well-Being and Professor in the Departments of Teaching and Learning, and Language and Literacy at Wheelock College of Education and Human Development, Boston University. Prior to joining BU, she was Professor and the Velma E. Schmidt Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Education at the University of North Texas (2014 - 2021). She also held positions at the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, Arizona State University (2013 - 2014), and the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, and the School of Education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1997 - 2013). Her scholarship focuses on equity and quality in the early care and education of bilingual children in immigrant, migrant, and indigenous communities. It is conceptualized at the intersection of language, culture, race, ethnicity, disability, and class, recognizing the need for interdisciplinary approaches across the fields of early childhood development and education, bilingualism and bilingual education, and special education. Dr. Castro has developed and examined the efficacy of professional development interventions to improve the quality of practices in early childhood programs serving bilingual children. She has also developed measures to assess the quality of early education for bilingual children and second language learning in young children. Dr. Castro served as Director of the Center for Early Care and Education Research: Dual Language Learners, a federally funded national research center focused on increasing our understanding of practices and measurement to improve early care and education for bilingual children. Another area of research interest is children’s health, she studied risk and resilience factors related to birth weight outcomes among Latina immigrant mothers and evaluated community-based interventions to prevent and revert early childhood obesity. Dr. Castro’s research has been funded by the Institute of Education Science, the National Institute of Child Health and Development, the Administration for Children and Families, and the Office of Special Education Programs. Her policy and advocacy work includes being a past member of the Governing Board of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and advisor to statewide and local early childhood initiatives in Arizona, California, Georgia, North Carolina, and Texas. In the global context, she is examining teachers’ conceptualizations about interculturality and their classroom practices in intercultural bilingual education schools in the Amazon region of Peru and co-leading a binational study investigating the experiences of transnational students and their teachers in U.S. and Mexican schools. Dr. Castro is a Fulbright Specialist.

Kelly L. Edyburn

Kelly L. Edyburn, PhD
Senior Researcher
Education Northwest

Dr. Kelly L. Edyburn (they/elle) is a bilingual (Spanish/English) child and community psychologist and Senior Researcher at Education Northwest. Dr. Edyburn earned their Ph.D. in Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara and subsequently worked as a Postdoctoral Research Scholar at the Children’s Equity Project, a Clinical Psychology Postdoctoral Fellow in immigrant youth mental health at the University of California, San Francisco and Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, and an Assistant Professor in the School Psychology program at Loyola University Chicago. Dr. Edyburn’s research centers on investigating and addressing the developmental, mental health, and academic needs of newcomer immigrant children, multilingual children, and children with disabilities. More specifically, their recent work has focused on the implementation of school- and community-based interventions that support immigrant youth mental health, bilingual education and culturally and linguistically responsive assessment, and capacity-building and policy change to address social determinants of health. In addition to conducting research, Dr. Edyburn is a licensed psychologist in the state of California and provides evaluations and mental health services for asylum-seeking children and families. Dr. Edyburn welcomes opportunities for partnership and collaboration with those who share a commitment to advancing intersectional justice.

Rick Fabes

Richard Fabes, PhD
T. Denny School of Social and Family Dynamics, Arizona State University

Dr. Richard A. Fabes is the John O. Whiteman Dean's Distinguished Professor at Arizona State University. He also is the Inaugural Director of the T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics and the Co-Executive Director of ASU's Center for the Advanced Study and Practice of Hope. He has strong expertise related to social-emotional development, gender segregation and integration, and peer influence and relationships. He is a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science and has served on editorial boards of several journals. He has published more than 250 papers, with publications appearing in top-tier journals (Science, Psychological Bulletin, Annual Review of Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Child Development, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology) and his work has been funded by NICHD, NSF, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Education, the T. Denny Sanford Foundation, First Things First, and the Brady Education Foundation. Dr. Fabes also has expertise in the translation of scientific findings related to peer relationships and classroom functioning to schools and is one of the creators of the Better Together Challenge (, designed to help students and educators address issues related to inclusion and safety at their schools. He is a co-creator of the Sanford Harmony Program.

Veronica A. Fernandez

Veronica A. Fernandez, PhD
Research Scientist
University of Miami

Dr. Veronica A. Fernandez is currently a Research Scientist at the University of Miami. Her research focuses on understanding and improving the quality of early learning experiences for infants, toddlers, preschoolers, as well as the transition to kindergarten. She has expertise in measurement development, advanced statistical analyses, program evaluation, teacher professional development, as well as child social-emotional and cognitive outcomes, focused on culturally and linguistically diverse children, families and teachers. Dr. Fernandez currently serves as the Co-PI on an RCT of an inquiry-based responsive coaching intervention for infant/toddler teachers and families, funded by the ACF. She is also leading the evaluation and redesign of the QRIS in Miami-Dade and the local evaluation efforts for an Early Head Start Child Care Partnership grantee. In addition, Dr. Fernandez consults to support state and national efforts around quality improvement.

Dr. Fernandez also has extensive experience in early care and education as a practitioner. She comes from a family of early educators; in fact, her mom owned and directed a preschool for over 25 years, where she worked as preschool teacher and then as a curriculum specialist for several years. During her time as a practitioner, she became increasingly involved in local, state and national ECE advocacy efforts. At the state-level, she served for several years on the Florida Early Learning Advisory Council (ELAC), the State board responsible for advising the Governor on early learning best practices and policy. Dr. Fernandez also served as an expert panelist in the Florida Department of Education's effort to review, revise and consolidate Florida's Early Learning Standards. Locally, she has served on various committees for the Early Learning Coalition of Miami-Dade and Monroe, on the Social Emotional committee for the Young Children with Special Needs and Disabilities Council, the School Readiness Taskforce for the local Head Start grantee and the Early Education Committee for the United Way of Miami-Dade.

Eugene Garcia

Eugene E. García, PhD
Professor Emeritus
Arizona State University

Dr. Eugene García is Professor Emeritus at Arizona State University.  He served as Professor and Vice President for Education Partnerships at ASU from 2006-2011 and as Dean of the Mary Lou Fulton College of Education from 2002-2006.  He joined ASU from the University of California, Berkeley where he was Professor and Dean of The Graduate School of Education (1995-2001). He has served as an elected member of a local school board and a Senior Officer in the US Department of Education.  He has published extensively in areas of early learning, bilingual development and equal educational opportunity. He received an Honorary Doctorate from the Erikson Institute and is an AERA Fellow. He has published 16 books and over 200 articles and book chapters. His most recent books include Understanding the Language Development and Early Education of Hispanic Children (2012) with Erminda Garcia, Teachers College Press, and, An Asset Based Approach to Latino Education in the United States (2018) with Dali Ozturk, Routledge Press.

Walter S. Gilliam

Walter S. Gilliam, PhD
The Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy
Yale University Child Study Center

Dr. Walter S. Gilliam is Professor of Child Psychiatry and Psychology at the Yale University Child Study Center, as well as the Director of The Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy. He is a member of the board of directors for ZERO TO THREE, Child Care Aware of America, the Irving Harris Foundation; All Our Kin, and First Children's Finance; a research fellow of the National Institute for Early Education Research; and former Senior Advisor to the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Dr. Gilliam is co-recipient of the prestigious 2008 Grawemeyer Award in Education for the coauthored book A Vision for Universal Preschool Education. Dr. Gilliam's research involves early childhood education and intervention policy analysis (specifically how policies translate into effective services), ways to improve the quality of prekindergarten and child care services, the impact of early childhood education programs on children's school readiness, and effective methods for reducing classroom behavior problems and preschool expulsion. His scholarly writing addresses early childhood care and education programs, school readiness, and developmental assessment of young children. Dr. Gilliam has led national analyses of state-funded prekindergarten policies and mandates, how prekindergarten programs are being implemented across the range of policy contexts, and the effectiveness of these programs at improving school readiness and educational achievement, as well as experimental and quasi-experimental studies on methods to improve early education quality. His work frequently has been covered in major national and international news outlets for print (e.g., New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Chicago Tribune, LA Times), radio (e.g., NPR), and television (e.g., CNN Headline News, NBC TODAY Show, CBS Early Show, ABC Good Morning America, ABC World News Tonight, FOX News). Dr. Gilliam actively provides consultation to state and federal decision-makers in the U.S. and other countries and is frequently called to provide U.S. Congressional testimony and briefings on issues related to early care and education.

Mary Louise Hemmeter

Mary Louise Hemmeter, PhD
Department of Special Education, Vanderbilt University

Dr. Mary Louise Hemmeter is a professor of Special Education at Vanderbilt University. Her research focuses on effective instruction, supporting social emotional development and addressing challenging behavior, and supporting teachers. She has been a PI or Co-PI on numerous projects funded by the US Departments of Education and Health and Human Services. Through her work on the National Center on the Social Emotional Foundations for Early Learning and funded research projects, she was involved in the development of the Pyramid Model for Supporting Social Emotional Competence in Young Children and a model for coaching teachers to implement effective practices known as Practice Based Coaching. She is currently involved in projects focused on examining the efficacy of the Pyramid Model in infant toddler, pre-k and kindergarten settings, studying issues related to the prevention of early childhood suspensions/expulsions, and evaluating professional development interventions. She is a co-author on the Connect4Learning Pre-K Curriculum. She was a co-editor of the Journal of Early Intervention and President of the Council for Exceptional Children's Division for Early Childhood. She received the Mary McEvoy Service to the Field Award and Merle B, Karnes Service to the Division Award from the Division for Early Childhood of the Council for Exceptional Children.

Neal Horen

Neal Horen, PhD
Early Childhood Division, Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development

Dr. Neal Horen is a clinical psychologist who has focused on early childhood mental health for the last 20 years. He is the Director of the Early Childhood Division for the Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development. Neal has worked closely with numerous states, tribes, territories, and communities in supporting their development of systems of care for young children and their families. He is the co-director of mental health on the Head Start National Center on Health. In that capacity, he has delivered approximately 200 trainings across the country and has co-led development of numerous materials related to infant and early childhood mental health. More recently, he has co-led efforts at building on-line professional development curricula on infant and early childhood mental health consultation. Dr. Horen is the Georgetown lead for the HV-ImpACT TA Center for MIECHV grantees, the lead for early childhood for SAMHSA funded system of care sites, the TA Director for the National Center of Excellence for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health, the PI for a Robert Wood Johnson funded study of Mental Health in Family, Friend and Neighbor Care. In addition, Dr. Horen has helped to develop many of the seminal materials related to infant and early childhood mental health consultation, including training guides, evaluation guides, and monographs. He also continues to be active in providing mental health consultation as part of his clinical practice. Neal continues to spend time working in direct clinical care including development of social skills interventions for young children, and he is director of the HOYA Clinic, which offers therapeutic and assessment services for young children and families.

Oscar Jiménez-Castellanos

Oscar Jiménez-Castellanos, PhD
Department of Education
Murchison Endowed Professor of Education
Trinity University in San Antonio
Executive Director
The Center for Educational Leadership

Dr. Oscar Jiménez-Castellanos is the Chair of the Department of Education and Murchison Endowed Professor of Education at Trinity University in San Antonio. He also serves as Executive Director of the Center for Educational Leadership. Previously, Dr. Jiménez-Castellanos was associate professor and Director of Educational Leadership as well as Founding Director of the Latinx Education Research Center (LERC) at Santa Clara University. He also served as a visiting scholar in 2016-17 at University of California, Berkeley and affiliated with the Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE) at Stanford University. He began his academic career at Arizona State University where he served as assistant professor and associate professor.

Dr. Jiménez-Castellanos is a distinguished scholar, having published more than 50 research articles or book chapters in leading journals such as Teachers College Record, Journal of Educational Finance, and Review of Educational Research. His areas of scholarly expertise include k-12 education finance and policy and its impact on opportunity, equity and outcomes in low-income and linguistically diverse communities. In 2017, he received the Early Career Award from the Hispanic Research SIG of the American Education Research Association (AERA), the leading research association in the discipline, and a 2012 Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow. Throughout his career, his research has been supported by grants from the Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation, the Intercultural Development Research Association (IDRA), the Ford Foundation, and the Morrison Institute of Public Policy.


Ngozi Lawal, M.A.
Independent Contractor

Ngozi Lawal, M.A. was formerly the Project Director for the Center for the Study of Social Policy’s Prenatal to 3 Initiative, which aimed at increasing the number of children on track for kindergarten by age 3 across communities and states. Prior to this, Ngozi supported the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Early Childhood Education at the Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in implementing a national policy agenda to help states and communities provide babies, toddlers, and preschoolers with services needed to support child development and school readiness. She oversaw the federal State Advisory Councils and played a key role in the policy development and implementation of the Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge and Preschool Development Grants. Previously, Ngozi managed the child care portfolio at the American Public Human Services Association, working alongside state child care administrators to develop policy proposals to improve the implementation of the Child Care and Development Fund. Ngozi has a Master of Arts Degree in Child Development from Tufts University and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Boston College.

Michael L. López

Michael L. López, PhD
Vice President
Education and Child Development NORC, University of Chicago

Dr. Michael López is Vice President for Education and Child Development at NORC at the University of Chicago, where he provides strategic oversight and direction for the growing portfolio of early childhood research at NORC. Dr. López is a nationally recognized expert on early childhood research, with a particular emphasis on low-income or culturally and linguistically diverse populations. He has over 25 years of experience conducting applied policy research in the areas of early childhood care and education, children's socioemotional development, health and mental health, racial and ethnic disparities, cultural and linguistic diversity, and appropriate assessments for cultural and linguistically diverse dual language learners.

Prior to joining NORC, López worked as a principal associate at Abt Associates where he conducted and disseminated early childhood research spanning topics such as Head Start, state preschool, child care, and childhood obesity. Among his achievements, López has co-led the National Research Center on Hispanic Children and Families, a 5-year, $5 million national center to conduct and disseminate research, informing Administration for Children and Families programs and policies supporting low-income Hispanic children and families. He also has served as co-principal investigator on the National Study of the Migrant and Seasonal Head Start (MSHS) program, where he oversaw the design and implementation of a nationally representative study describing the characteristics of children and families enrolled in MSHS, as well as program practices and services.

Earlier in his career, Dr. López directed the Child Outcomes Research and Evaluation team in the Administration for Children and Families, within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from 1991 to 2005, where he developed and directed large-scale, national evaluation studies of federal programs—including the Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey and the National Head Start Impact Study, the largest, nationally representative, randomized study examining the impact of Head Start on children's school readiness—among others.

Throughout his career, Dr. López has established numerous strategic, interdisciplinary, collaborative partnerships and leveraged coalitions with key Federal and non-Federal entities that share a common emphasis on early childhood and child and family well-being. Across the past 20 years, he also has worked to expand mentoring opportunities for early career scholars, and to increase the racial and ethnic diversity of the next generation of researchers, including, but not limited to his role overseeing two mentoring and professional development programs within ACF: the Head Start Graduate Student Research Scholars and Society for Research in Child Development Policy Research Fellowship programs.

Dr. López has written numerous peer-reviewed research articles, reports, and briefs on issues related to early childhood, Head Start, early care and education utilization, and cultural and linguistic diversity issues, including the psychometrics of language, literacy, and classroom observational measures for young dual language learners. He earned his undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles, and earned his master's degree and PhD in child clinical psychology at Michigan State University. Dr. López currently serves as a board member of the HighScope Educational Research Foundation and the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute Executive Leadership Board. He is also a member of the advisory committee supporting the PNC Grow Up Great early childhood initiative.

Carol Lynn Martin

Carol Lynn Martin, PhD
T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics, Arizona State University

Dr. Carol Lynn Martin is Cowden Distinguished Professor in the T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics at Arizona State University. She has strong expertise related to gender development, gender segregation and integration, and peer influence and relationships, and wrote an influential theory of gender development. She has written (with Dr. Diane Ruble) two chapters outlining the state of the science of gender development for the Handbook of Child Psychology. She was an Associate Editor for Developmental Psychology and has served on editorial boards of several journals. In the past 15 years or so, her work has turned toward the study of gender in peer relationships and academics. She has published more than 100 papers, with publications appearing in top-tier journals (Science, Psychological Bulletin, Annual Review of Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Child Development, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology). Her work has been funded by NICHD, NSF, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Education, and the T. Denny Sanford Foundation. Dr. Martin also has expertise in the translation of scientific findings related to peer relationships and classroom functioning to schools. Dr. Martin also co-organizes (with Dr. Campbell Leaper, UC-Santa Cruz) the Gender Development Research Conference in which scholars from all over the world present the latest gender-related research. She is a co-creator of the Sanford Harmony Program.

Kent McIntosh

Kent McIntosh, PhD
Department of Special Education and Clinical Sciences, University of Oregon

Dr. Kent McIntosh is a Professor in the Department of Special Education and Clinical Sciences at the University of Oregon and Director of Educational and Community Supports, a research unit in the College of Education. His current research focuses on implementation and sustainability of school-based interventions, reducing discipline disparities, and integrated academic and behavior support. He is lead author of over 75 peer reviewed journal articles, presenter of over 40 keynote addresses, and principal or co-investigator of over $50 million in federal grant funding. He is Co-Director on the OSEP National Technical Assistance Center on PBIS and lead of the Center's Equity Workgroup, as well as a founding member of the PBIS-SCP Canada Network and a member of the board of directors of the Association for Positive Behavior Support. He has also worked as a school psychologist, teacher trainer, and teacher in both general and special education.

Amittia Parker

Amittia Parker, PhD, LMSW, MPA
Senior Policy Associate
National Center on Health, Behavioral Health, and Safety at Georgetown University

Dr. Amittia Parker, LMSW, MPA provides training and technical assistance for the National Center on Health, Behavioral Health, and Safety at Georgetown University. Her research, scholarship, and service focuses on advancing minority mental health and equity, particularly among families that are pregnant and parenting young children. Amittia has worked for 15 years as a mental health consultant across a variety of settings, including home-based services, childcare centers, school-based services, and health clinics. She has conducted research on Black maternal mental health, mental health in higher education, behavioral health services, and natural helping. She serves in leadership roles in local, state, and national venues focused on infant and early childhood, Black communities, and Black social workers.

Deborah F. Perry

Deborah F. Perry, PhD
Director of Research and Evaluation, Research Professor
Center for Child and Human Development, Georgetown University

Dr. Deborah F. Perry is the Director of Research and Evaluation and a professor at the Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development. In this role, Dr. Perry provides leadership on a broad portfolio of applied research and rigorous program evaluation. Dr. Perry's research focuses on approaches to designing and testing preventive interventions for low-income young children and their caregivers. An area of focus for her community-based research is the prevention of perinatal depression in high-risk women. Dr. Perry helped develop the evidence base for the effectiveness of early childhood mental health consultation, evaluating several statewide projects in the Washington DC region. She co-chairs the RAINE group—a think tank focused on mental health consultation policy, practice and research and is faculty for the Center of Excellence for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation. She also serves as the external evaluator for several federally funded grants including: Washington DC's Maternal Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting program, and the SAMHSA-funded early childhood system of care grant in DC. Dr. Perry is the director of research for the Georgetown University Health Justice Alliance—a medical-legal partnership that seeks to reduce the effects of health-harming legal issues for vulnerable families in DC.

Ryan Pontier

Ryan Pontier, PhD
Assistant Professor
School of Education & Human Development, Florida International University

Dr. Ryan Pontier is an Assistant Professor in the School of Education & Human Development at Florida International University. He previously served as faculty at Miami Dade College, after earning his Ph.D. in Language and Literacy Learning from the University of Miami. His research interests include appropriate and effective instructional practices for emergent bilingual learners, teacher education preparation for working with emergent bilingual learners, and teachers’ language ideology. Dr. Pontier serves as an expert in bilingualism and bilingual education for the United Way of Miami Center for Excellence in Early Education, Immediate Past President of Miami-Dade TESOL and Bilingual Education Association, Member-at-Large for Sunshine State Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), Co-Chair of the Advocacy Committee for the Florida Association for Bilingual Education (FABE), Co-Chair for the Research and Evaluation Special Interest Group within the National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE), Co-Moderator of the Sunshine State TESOL advocacy group, Chair of the Early Childhood Bilingual Education Council for the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) Florida, and Co-Chair of the Government & Media Relations Committee for LULAC Florida. Dr. Pontier began his education career with Teach For America in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, where he taught 3rd grade in Spanish at a dual language elementary school one mile from the Rio Grande River. He and his wife are raising two bilingual daughters.

Hakim Rashid

Hakim Rashid, PhD
School of Education, Howard University

Dr. Hakim M. Rashid is a Professor and former Chairman of the Department of Human Development and Psychoeducational Studies in the School of Education at Howard University in Washington, DC. A native of Flint, Michigan, Dr. Rashid received his B.A. degree in Psychology from Pomona College in Claremont, California, a M.A. in Early Childhood Education and an interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Education and Psychology from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He completed post-doctoral work at Michigan State University's Institute for Research on Teaching. Dr. Rashid is a former preschool teacher and a center director. He has also been a research associate at the High/Scope Educational Research Foundation in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Dr. Rashid has served as a Fulbright Scholar at King Saud University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, a Visiting Professor at Khartoum University in Sudan, and a Fulbright-Hays Seminar Abroad Fellow in China. He has lectured in Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Bermuda, Canada, and the United States. In addition to Howard University, Dr. Rashid has served on the faculties of Jackson State University, the University of Michigan at Flint, and the University of South Carolina. Articles written by Dr. Rashid have appeared in the Journal of Negro Education, the American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences, Muslim Education Quarterly, Educational Research Quarterly, Contemporary Education and Young Children, among other publications. He is also a former co-editor of the online journal African American Learners. Most recently Dr. Rashid has produced and directed a documentary film entitled "Strange Fruit Redux? The Perils of Young Black Boys in Early Childhood Education."

Vilma Reyes

Vilma Reyes, PhD
Director of Training
University of California, San Francisco

Dr. Vilma Reyes is the Director of Training at University of California, San Francisco in the Child Trauma Research Program. Since 2009, she has been providing Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP) services, training, clinical supervision, consultation and coordinating community-based mental health outreach services and evaluation. She is a national trainer in CPP and has co-authored articles and chapters on CPP theory and application.

Dr. Reyes developed a CPP-based group intervention, Building Bridges, which has been applied and researched in several community settings including 7 family shelters across 3 counties in the Bay Area, CA. This intervention was adapted to the displaced community in Bogota, Colombia and the Afro-Colombian community in Tumaco, Colombia. This adaptation, Semillas de Apego, is being researched in two randomized controlled studies with a sample size of over 1,200 families. Dr. Reyes has presented this research at national and international conferences, including the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies.

In addition to her Doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology, Dr. Reyes has also earned a Master of Arts in Education and has experience offering consultation, supervision and training in trauma informed systems in school-based settings. Dr. Reyes is an immigrant from Peru and is devoted to increasing access to trauma informed services for Latinx immigrant families. She has done several lectures in national conferences on the intersection of immigration and trauma; with a focus on asylum seekers and refugees exposed to armed conflict, systemic oppression and racism.

Elizabeth Ricks

Elizabeth Ricks, PhD
Assistant Professor
School of Education, Howard University

Dr. Elizabeth Ricks is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Development and Psychoeducational Studies at Howard University. She currently teaches courses that focus on youth placed at risk and resiliency, parent-child relationships and research methods. Dr. Ricks' research focuses on classroom contextual factors that contribute to the development of cognitive self-regulation, approaches to learning and mathematics and reading achievement in young children. Dr. Ricks earned a doctorate in Educational Psychology with a concentration in Educational Policy from Howard University and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Public Policy Analysis from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Ricks has presented at various conferences on child development, such as the American Education Research Association, Society for Research in Child Development, and the American Psychological Association. In addition to conference presentations, she has published in the Journal of Contemporary School Psychology and the Journal of Youth and Adolescence, among others.

Eva Marie Shivers

Eva Marie Shivers, J.D., PhD
Indigo Cultural Center

Dr. Eva Marie Shivers, J.D. is the executive director of Indigo Cultural Center, a non-profit action research firm located in Phoenix, AZ. Dr. Shivers' work at Indigo Cultural Center focuses on the developmental niche of infant and early childhood development, mental health and education to explore the evolution of frameworks for understanding families' culturally adaptive responses to poverty, systemic racism, and historical marginalization.

Prior to relocating to Arizona, Dr. Shivers was a faculty member in the School of Education at the University of Pittsburgh. She received her Ph.D. from UCLA's Department of Education, Psychological Studies in Education. Dr. Shivers also holds a law degree from Howard University School of Law, and a BA in English Literature from Arizona State University.

Dr. Shivers has numerous peer-reviewed publications, and presents her research on equity, child care, mental health consultation, and other early childhood professional development initiatives throughout the country. She has served as Principal Investigator on many child care studies that involve collaborating with community agencies, national organizations, as well as state and county administrations. Racial equity is central to all research, evaluation and training efforts.

She currently provides early childhood racial equity training and consultation to infant and early childhood mental health community agencies and state departments around the country. For the past fifteen years, Dr. Shivers has provided child care research policy consultation to federal, state and local government agencies and administrators.

Takiema Bunche Smith

Takiema Bunche Smith
Executive Director
Center on Culture, Race & Equity

Takiema has worked for over two decades in support of children, families and educational programs and systems through her work as a teacher, teacher educator, curriculum director, parent activist, and executive leader. Her life’s work has been guided by a deep commitment to racial equity, social justice, and a belief that centering the histories and perspectives of marginalized people can support individuals, institutions and systems to become more equitable for all.  Her work lives at the intersection of theory, policy and practice, and she uses a culturally responsive and anti-oppression lens to re-frame and re-imagine what educational experiences could look like for children, adults, families and communities. Her wide range of professional and personal experiences, and deeply reflective approach to life and learning, helps her create a culture of collaboration wherever she goes, centered around a vision of liberation for all.

Takiema has presented on education related topics to a variety of audiences across New York, the United States and Sweden, and has published articles and op-eds in venues such as Childhood Education Innovations, NAEYC Young Children, Al-Jazeera and The Washington Post. She is also a doula, and is passionate about creating a culture of self-care, particularly as it relates to professional environments.

Takiema holds Master’s degrees in Early Childhood & Elementary Education from Bank Street College of Education, Urban Education Policy from the CUNY Graduate Center, and from NYU Wagner’s School for Public Service.

D. Camille Smith

D. Camille Smith, Ed.S., M.S., CPD, CCCE
Educational Psychologist
National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

D. Camille Smith, Ed.S., M.S., CPD, CCCE is an Educational Psychologist and Certified Childbirth Educator who has spent over 35 years working to strengthen families and communities by helping parents and the providers who serve them feel confident, strong and resilient. Most recently, she has worked as a Behavioral Scientist with the Learn the Signs. Act Early. Program in the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta. This program aims to coordinate early childhood systems and increase early identification of children at risk for or with developmental delay. Also at CDC, she assisted with the design and implementation of a randomized, controlled trial of a group-based parenting intervention called Legacy for Children. Legacy is designed to promote sensitive and responsive parenting, enhance parent – child interactions, and promote a sense of community. She has served on many Boards, including the AAP National Advisory Board on Developmental Screening, Maternal Depression and Social Determinants of Health. She holds certifications as a HUG Your Baby Trainer, Zero to Three the Growing Brain Trainer, Infant Mental Health, and NCAST. In addition, Camille is involved in global initiatives that address building capacity for early childhood programming in low and middle-income countries. Camille currently volunteers teaching prenatal classes and providing postpartum support with new Mothers in the Refugee Resettlement Community close to Atlanta, Ga.

Adai Tefera, PhD

Adai Tefera, PhD
Assistant Professor
Disability and Psychoeducational Studies Department, The University of Arizona

Dr. Adai Tefera (she/her/hers) is currently an assistant professor in the Disability and Psychoeducational Studies Department at the University of Arizona College of Education. She received her doctorate in education with an emphasis in urban schooling and public policy from UCLA and was a postdoctoral scholar at Arizona State University’s Equity Alliance. Dr. Tefera has worked in schools, both in after-school and summer programs, and served as an education fellow with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.

Dr. Tefera uses an interdisciplinary approach to examine how federal and state educational policies aimed at improving equity among students at the intersections of race, disability, language, and other social categories are enacted, interrupted, and resisted by students, families, educators, and leaders. Her recent work explores how historical, sociocultural, and spatial contexts mediate how education stakeholders respond to citations for racial disproportionality in the identification and disciplining of learners with disabilities. Her work has been included in journals such as Review of Research in Education, Sociology of Education, Teachers College Record, and Urban Education.

Conor P. Williams

Conor P. Williams, PhD
The Century Foundation

Dr. Williams is a fellow at The Century Foundation, where he writes about education, immigration, early education, school choice, and work-life balance challenges for American families. He is an expert on American educational inequity, English learner students, dual immersion programs, urban education reform, and the history of progressivism.

Dr. Williams was previously a senior researcher in New America's Education Policy Program, a senior researcher in its Early Education Initiative, and the founding director of its Dual Language Learners National Work Group. He has taught postsecondary courses at Georgetown University, George Washington University, and American University. He is a member of the National Conference of State Legislatures' State Policy and Research for Early Education (SPREE) Working Group.

Dr. Williams holds a PhD and MA in government from Georgetown University, an MS in teaching from Pace University, and a BA in government and Spanish from Bowdoin College. Before beginning his doctoral research, he taught first grade in Brooklyn, New York. Williams attended public schools for his K–12 education, and has two children enrolled in a public elementary school in Washington, D.C.

Dawn A. Yazzie

Dawn A. Yazzie, M.A.
Early Childhood Mental Health Consultant and Expert Mentor
Center of Excellence for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation

Dawn A. Yazzie, M.A., works as an Early Childhood Mental Health Consultant for a program called Smart Support at Southwest Human Development in Arizona. The program is funded by the Arizona First Things First statewide initiative. Dawn also works with the national Center of Excellence for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (CoE for IECMHC) through Southwest Human Development and the Children's Equity Project. Dawn has experience in providing national technical assistance, and experience in providing infant and early childhood mental health consultation to early care directors, teachers, and home visitors on the Navajo Nation.