Research

My Approach

I bring over a decade of applied research and evaluation experience, a passion for working with young children and adult learners, lived experience of a community-centered childhood, and interdisciplinary training to everything I do. My research fuses theory and knowledge from early childhood education, developmental science, policy analysis, sociology, and implementation science. I use a variety of qualitative and quantitative methodologies, guided by critical theories, equitable evaluation principles, and community-engaged research approaches. These combinations allow me to think big about issues of educational opportunity and social justice for young children, but also to dig down deep to unpack potential mechanisms for individual, organizational, and systemic change.

Current Projects

The PreK in Family Child Care Project

Co-Investigator with Co-PIs Drs. Juliet Bromer, Iheoma Iruka, Rena Hallam, Jason Hustedt; funded by the Home Grown Funder's Collaborative and the Foundation for Child Development.

The PreK in Family Child Care project examines experiences of and strategies for implementation of public pre-kindergarten (PreK) in family child care (FCC) settings across states and localities in the U.S. The study will use a rapid response approach designed to both disseminate study findings about PreK-FCC implementation strategies and facilitate cross-state learning and sharing about PreK implementation successes and challenges. Focus groups and interviews with PreK site administrators and staff, document review of current PreK initiatives, and a survey of FCC educators who offer PreK will yield a quarterly series of rapid response policy briefs and a web-based depository of implementation tools for PreK administrators seeking to implement a mixed-delivery approach to PreK expansion that includes FCC settings. Long-term goals for the study include increasing the numbers of states and localities that include FCC as part of their mixed delivery child care systems and current/future PreK implementation plans. Expansion of PreK to meaningfully include FCC is a promising strategy for supporting the FCC workforce and for increasing access to and stability of high-quality early care and education for families and children.

Examining how family child care networks help families thrive through equitable access to comprehensive services and supports

Co-Director/Co-PI with Dr. Juliet Bromer; funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

This study employs a participatory approach to examine the ways local family child care (FCC) networks and professionals help support the delivery of comprehensive (e.g., health, economic, social) services and supports as a strategy to reduce inequities faced by families and children from structurally marginalized communities. Study activities include the development of a conceptual framework for comprehensive service delivery in FCC, secondary analysis of interviews from the National Study of Family Child Care Networks, and case studies conducted in partnership with networks, FCC educators, and families in four communities. Findings will inform development of community-specific action steps and a toolkit for how FCC networks affiliated with early childhood policy systems can optimize families’ access to the services and supports they need to thrive.

Conceptualizing quality in family child care: Does alignment with government expectations have implications for engagement and retention in the field?

Supported by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation.

My dissertation research applies critical and institutional theory lenses to consider how regulated family child care educators conceptualize high-quality practice, as well as how misalignment between these visions and state expectations might relate to educators’ decisions to engage in early childhood systems (e.g. licensing, subsidy, and quality rating and improvement systems). I hope that findings from this federally funded work will empower federal, state, and local policymakers to rethink how they define and measure quality in ways that are more culturally responsive to educators’ priorities for children and families.

Recently Completed Collaborations

Enhancing the quality of infant and toddler care in New York City: Variation across EarlyLearn settings

Building a unified system for universal pre-k in New York City: The implementation of Pre-K for All by setting and auspice

The Early Advantage

PI: Dr. Sharon Lynn Kagan at the National Center for Children and Families at Teachers College, Columbia University; funded by the National Center for Education and the Economy.

Co-Authored Publications:

If you are interested in collaborating or can't access one of my publications, please send me an email!