About Us

The American Institutes for Research (AIR)

The American Institutes for Research (AIR) is a not-for-profit corporation with more than 65 years of experience in education-related research and development projects. AIR has conducted a range of research studies related to early care and education services, school readiness programs that target young, at-risk children, including dual language learners, and a variety of K–12 initiatives in California.  AIR has served as the external evaluator for early education programs and initiatives; examined the implementation, impact, and capacity of teacher professional development programs; contributed to the development of early education systems, standards, and assessments; and evaluated curricula, classroom practices, and program quality through rigorous investigations and reviews. AIR continues to translate research to practice for the federal government and for state governments, including through a recently published synthesis of the condition of children and children’s services in California for the State Advisory Council on Early Learning and Care. AIR brings a unique combination of strengths and experience to the DLL Study, including a strong group of researchers who have extensive experience in formative and summative evaluations of programs in California; expertise.

 

First 5 California

First 5 California was created by voters under the California Children and Families Act (Proposition 10) to recognize that children's health and education is a top priority, especially in the early years of development. Since 1998, First 5 California has invested millions of dollars to design comprehensive programs that address the needs of children ages 0 to 5 and their families. Currently, its programs are centered around the child, parent, and teacher to improve early childhood outcomes in the areas of health and nutrition, early literacy and language development, quality child care, and smoking cessation.

 

DLL Pilot Input Group

The DLL Pilot Study was created with guidance and input from leading DLL experts across the country. The members of the DLL Input group include:

Linda Asato, Patty Brown, Abby Cohen, Carolyne Crolotte, Linda Espinosa, Mari Estrada, Elena Fajardo, Katie Fallin, Veronica A. Fernandez, Cecelia Fisher-Dahms, Gel Gonzalez, Sandra Gutierrez, Whitcomb Hayslip, Lupe Jaime, Kim Johnson, Moira Kenney, Michael L. López, Peter Mangione, Meera Mani, Elizabeth McGruder, Ingrid X. Mezquita, Laurie Olsen, Chhandasi Pandya Patel, Vickie Ramos Harris, Francine Rodd, Shelly Spiegel-Coleman, Seng Yang, and Marlene Zepeda

 

Technical Advisory Group (TAG)

Providing technical and methodological guidance, a Technical Advisory Group (TAG) with expertise in early education (preK–grade 3), school readiness, assessment, and outcome evaluation, will serve as consultants to AIR throughout the study. Members of the TAG include:

  • Linda Espinosa, Ph.D., Professor of Early Childhood Education (Ret.) at the University of Missouri, Columbia has served as the Co-Director of the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at Rutgers University and Vice President of Education at Bright Horizons Family Solutions. Her research and policy work has focused on effective curriculum and assessment practices for young children from low-income families who are dual language learners.
  • Doré Laforett, Ph.D., is an Advanced Research Scientist at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute. Her research on young children’s school readiness and mental health spans the promotion, prevention, and treatment continuum, with a heavy emphasis on low-income, ethnic minority, and dual language learning populations.
  • Yuuko Uchikoshi, EdD, Associate Professor at the University of California, Davis. Her research focuses on language and literacy development of young children, particularly dual language learners.
  • Mariela Páez, Ph.D., is Associate Professor at the Lynch School of Education, Boston College. Her research interests include bilingualism, children’s language and literacy development, and early childhood education.

 

Our Team

Heather Quick
Heather Quick
Heather Quick, Ph.D., is a Managing Researcher at the American Institutes for Research (AIR) and serves as the study’s principal investigator. Dr. Quick has more than 20 years of experience leading research and evaluation studies of early care and education program quality, school readiness, family engagement, and teacher professional development.
Karen Manship
Karen Manship
Karen Manship is a Principal Researcher with the American Institutes for Research focusing on early childhood program evaluations and policy. She serves as the Project manager for the DLL Pilot Study, and previously served as the Project Manager of the Study of California’s Transitional Kindergarten (TK) Program.
Rebecca Bergey
Rebecca Bergey
Rebecca Bergey, Ed.D. is a researcher in the Center for English Language Learners at American Institutes for Research (AIR). Her primary responsibilities include designing curriculum, facilitating professional development, and conducting research that supports the education of English language learners and dual language learners.
Iliana Brodziak de los Reyes
Iliana Brodziak de los Reyes
Iliana Brodziak de los Reyes, Senior Research Analyst, focuses on statistical analysis of achievement data, resource allocation data and survey data with special focus on English Learners and early childhood. Dr. Brodziak is leading the cost study of Descubriendo la Lectura for first-grade Spanish-speaking students...
Jodi Jacobson Chernoff
Jodi Jacobson Chernoff
Jodi Jacobson Chernoff is a Principal Researcher in the Education program at the American Institutes for Research (AIR). Dr. Jacobson Chernoff’s expertise is in early childhood assessments, including the ability to select and evaluate child assessments for their developmental appropriateness...
Jennifer Anthony
Jennifer Anthony
Jennifer Anthony, Senior Researcher, has extensive experience in early childhood research and evaluation and project management. In her more than 20 years at AIR, she has played key leadership roles on research and evaluation projects for local, state, and federal agencies...
Alison Hauser
Alison Hauser
Alison Hauser, MA, served as the project director for the Equity Leaders Action Network (ELAN) Evaluation for the BUILD Initiative where she is overseeing survey development and administration. Ms. Hauser has also been the survey task lead in the Evaluation of California’s Transitional Kindergarten Program...
Carmen Martínez
Carmen Martínez
Carmen Martínez is a researcher with 18 years of experience in a range of national, state, and local research and evaluation projects in the domains of early education and intervention, programs for at-risk and culturally diverse students, closing the achievement gap for low-income...
Shannon Keuter
Shannon Keuter
Shannon Madsen Keuter is a researcher in the Research and Evaluation program at the American Institutes for Research (AIR). Shannon has extensive experience in early childhood education research, primarily in the area of language development.
Photo of Lisa White
Lisa White

Lisa White is an early childhood researcher at American Institutes for Research (AIR) and is a key contributor to the DLL Pilot Study. She is involved in measure selection and development, assisting in study design, and conducting data analysis, writing, and dissemination. Dr.

Deborah Holtzman
Deborah Holtzman

Deborah Holtzman, Ph.D., is a Principal Researcher with more than 20 years of experience conducting educational research, specializing in survey methodology and analysis of quantitative data. She serves as the survey data collection specialist for the DLL Pilot Study.