Debra Silverman, PhD, is an assistant research scientist faculty in the School of Education. Currently, she is principal investigator on the Maryland Rebuilds: Strengthening a Highly Effective Workforce grant funded by the Maryland State Department of Education between December 2022 and May 2024. Prior to coming to JHU, she spent two decades working to improve the well-being of California’s families with children prenatal to five years of age at First 5 California (F5CA) and First 5 Contra Costa (F5CoCo). Her projects over the past 10 years focus on authentic engagement of stakeholder voices in program development, and implementation, and continuous quality improvement as vital to dismantling service and policy silos and addressing systemic roots of disparity. Among her accomplishments, Silverman is credited for contributing to development of California’s quality rating and improvement system, leading efforts to improve the ECE system and promote quality, equity, and access for the early childhood professional workforce. She also oversaw a five-year early childhood dual language learner pilot designed to understand effective professional development, family engagement, and instructional practices for young dual language learners and the conditions that make them scalable and sustainable; and she led a statewide home visiting coordination pilot across all 58 counties to increase the quality and enrollment in high quality home visiting services during COVID-19.

Silverman has a varied history of work in early childhood, K-12, and adult education as former adjunct faculty (Brandman University), trainer and assessor for the Classroom Assessment Scoring System tools (infant – PreK), Preschool Director, elementary educator, an educational researcher studying high performance learning communities and charter schools. She is a graduate of the University of Colorado, Denver, where she earned a PhD in Educational Leadership and Innovation, and a Masters’ degree in Educational Administration, Supervision, and Curriculum Development.

Keywords: Early childhood education; education systems