The Children’s Equity Project (CEP)

The Children’s Equity Project (CEP)

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The Children’s Equity Project (CEP) is a multi-university initiative focused on designing and carrying out a cohesive and comprehensive national equity agenda, from the early years through the early grades, across research, policy, and practice. The CEP focuses on conducting high impact original research, working with the broader scholar community to translate equity-focused research, developing new practice-based tools and interventions where there are gaps, and partnering with states and communities to develop policies that result in more equitable learning experiences for all children. The CEP is housed at Arizona State University and is led in partnership from scholars at several other universities and organizations, including Bank Street College of Education, Georgetown University, the University of Miami, Howard University, the University of Oregon, the Ohio State University, Trinity University, Vanderbilt University, Yale University, Indigo Cultural Center, the Institute for Racial Equity and Excellence, the Century Foundation, and NORC at the University of Chicago. 

Shantel Meek

Shantel Meek, PhD

Dr. Shantel Meek is a Professor of Practice and Director for Policy at the Center for Child and Family Success in the T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics at Arizona State University. She is the Founding Director of the Children's Equity Project, a multi-university initiative that aims to close opportunity gaps between children from historically marginalized communities and their peers. Dr. Meek is also a consultant in early childhood research, policy, and strategy at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington D.C. Previously, 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. She holds a B.A. in Psychology and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Family and Human Development from Arizona State University.

Rosemarie Allen

Rosemarie Allen, PhD

Dr. Rosemarie Allen is an Assistant Professor in the School of Education at Metropolitan State University of Denver. Her classes are focused on ensuring teachers are aware of how issues of equity, bias, privilege, and power impact teaching practices. She is also the 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.

Dianna Carrizales-Engelmann

Dianna Carrizales-Engelmann, PhD

Dianna Carrizales-Engelmann, PhD, is Director of Administration for the College of Education Leadership at the University of Oregon. 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.

Evandra Catherine

Evandra Catherine, PhD

Evandra Catherine is a postdoctoral research scholar on the Children’s Equity Project. Her dissertation examined the effect of a practice-based coaching model on preschool teachers’ use of supportive emotion-related responses to negative emotion expressions of Black boys. Dr. Catherine’s research focuses on inequities in the implementation of exclusionary discipline practices and the placement of preschool-aged children in segregated and self-contained settings, with an emphasis on boys of color. Evandra is the mother to a son with Aspergers’ and a United States Air Force Veteran. She was also a House of Delegates candidate in Virginia’s 2013 democratic primary and was awarded Top 40 Under 40 in Richmond, Virginia in 2015. She holds a B.A. in African American Studies, Master of Public Administration, and Ph.D. in Special Education Policy from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Richard Fabes

Richard Fabes, PhD

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.

Walter Gilliam

Walter S. Gilliam, PhD

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.

Lisa Gordon

Lisa Gordon

Lisa Gordon is Project Director, School Systems Partnerships and Programs with the Bank Street Education Center at Bank Street College where she partners with schools, school systems, and districts across the US, to support positive learning outcomes for students and educators. Central to her work is a focus on strengths-based, learner-centered, and equitable educational practices, programs, and policies to affect systemic change.

Lisa has worked in early childhood education for the past 20 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. She is co-founder of Colorful World, a women-owned diversity educational consulting firm whose mission is to facilitate the creation of inclusive learning environments that empower all children and families to succeed. Lisa served as Associate Director of Early Childhood Programs for the Center for Culture, Race & Equity at the Education Center at Bank Street, where she focused on elevating issues of culture, race, and implicit bias that have created opportunity gaps for children and families in disenfranchised communities and children and families of color. Prior to her work with the Education Center, 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 Office of the State Superintendent of Education, and on several national school readiness and research initiatives with National Black Child Development Institute (NBCDI) and the Center on Health and Education at Georgetown University. 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. Her areas of expertise include creating high quality culturally responsive teaching and learning environments, supporting social emotional development and learning, building early childhood leadership capacity, and teacher effectiveness and professional development.

Mary Hemmeter

Mary Louise Hemmeter, PhD

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

Dr. Neal Horen is a clinical psychologist who has focused on early childhood mental health for the last twenty years. He is Director of the Early Childhood Division for the Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development. Dr. Horen is considered one of the leading national experts on early childhood mental health and early childhood systems. Dr. Horen has worked closely with all 50 states, numerous tribes, territories and communities in supporting their development of systems of care for young children and their families, as well as in Mexico, Lebanon, and Jordan. Mental Health Consultation, Georgetown lead for the MIECHV TA Center, HV-ImpACT and the early childhood lead for the TA Network serving federally funded system of care sites. Dr. Horen has helped to developed innumerable materials related to infant and early childhood mental health consultation including training guides, evaluation guides, monographs and he also continues to be active in providing mental health consultation as part of his clinical practice. He is the proud father of four children, 20, 19, 19 and 3.

Ana Maria Melendez

Ana Maria Melendez Guevara, LCSW

Ana Maria Melendez Guevara, LCSW before joining ASU she worked as a Child and Family therapist in a community mental health agency serving children and families survivors of complex trauma. Generally, Ana's research interest lays in studying child and family development in contexts of risk and adversity within ethnic minorities and vulnerable populations. One of Ana's academic goals is to be able to contribute to the development and evaluation of culturally sensitive interventions that address the complex needs of families who have undergone adversities by identifying micro and macro mechanisms of adaptation and resilience.

Kent McIntosh

Kent McIntosh, PhD

Kent McIntosh, PhD, 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.

Deborah Perry

Deborah Perry, PhD

Deborah F. Perry, PhD 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 evaluations. 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.

Elizabeth Ricks

Elizabeth Ricks, PhD

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 other

Eva Marie Shivers

Eva Marie Shivers, J.D., PhD

Eva Marie Shivers, J.D., Ph.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.

D Camille Smith

D. Camille Smith, Ed.S., M.S., CPD, CCCE

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.


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This product was developed [in part] under grant number 1H79SM082070-01 from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The views, policies and opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of SAMHSA or HHS.