Michelle Maier
Senior Associate, Family Well-Being and Children’s Development

Maier’s research focuses on early childhood education and intervention. She has extensive experience in the design, start-up, impact, implementation/field research, and measurement activities for a variety of research projects. Most are focused on early care and education programs that support development and school readiness in children from families with low incomes. Currently, Maier is project director of Head Start Connects, a descriptive study funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that examines the coordination of family support services in Head Start programs. She is the deputy project director of the Expanding Children’s Early Learning (ExCEL) Network project and the HHS-funded Variations in Implementation of Quality Interventions project, both of which are three-group, random assignment studies examining the effect of classroom quality on child outcomes. She also is a task lead on Building and Sustaining the Early Care and Education Workforce (BASE), a project aiming to inform recruiting, supporting, and retaining a qualified, healthy, and stable workforce that reflects the linguistic, racial, and ethnic diversity of the families and children it serves.

Previously, Maier led the measurement team on the Expanding Children’s Early Learning P-3: Promoting Sustained Gains from Preschool to Third Grade study, where she developed an aligned curriculum-fidelity tool for use in preschool through third-grade classrooms in Boston. She has led the implementation and measurement teams on Making Pre-K Count, which examined the effects of a preschool mathematics program in New York City. She received a grant from the Foundation for Child Development’s Young Scholars Program to conduct What Matters Most for Teachers and Young Children, a secondary analysis of Making Pre-K Count data in which she examined associations among teacher professional development, specific teacher practices, and child outcomes, and described patterns of teacher practice as they naturally occur. She also coauthored a literature review examining the effect of family involvement on children’s learning. Maier received her PhD in applied developmental psychology from the University of Miami, where she was an Institute of Education Sciences Predoctoral Fellow. Before joining MDRC, Maier was a postdoctoral research associate at the Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning at the University of Virginia.