Miriam Calderon

Miriam Calderon is a consultant with the BUILD Initiative on Special Projects. Most recently, she served as a political appointee in the Obama Administration, advising on early learning policy at the Domestic Policy Council at the White House and at the Department of Health and Human Services. Prior to joining the Administration, Ms. Calderon served as the Director of Early Childhood Education at the District of Columbia Public Schools, where she oversaw Head Start and pre-kindergarten programs serving nearly 5,500 children in 84 elementary schools throughout the city. She worked as the Associate Director of Education Policy at the National Council of La Raza, a Hispanic civil rights organization where she focused specifically on early education policy for Hispanic and dual language learner children. She began her career in early education working as a mental health consultant in Head Start programs in Portland, Oregon. She has published several reports on early childhood education and her work is cited in both the English and Spanish media. 

Linda Espinosa

Dr. Linda M. Espinosa is currently Co-PI for the Getting on Track for Early School Success: Effective Teaching in Preschool Classrooms project at the University of Chicago and former Co-PI for the Center for Early Care and Education Research—Dual Language Learners (CECER-DLL) at Frank Porter Graham CDI at the U of NC. She is Professor Emeritus of Early Childhood Education at the University of Missouri, Columbia and has served as the Co-Director of the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at Rutgers University and Vice President at Bright Horizons Family Solutions. Her recent research and policy work has focused on effective curriculum and assessment practices for young children from low-income families who are dual language learners. Dr. Espinosa also served on the Head Start National Reporting System (NRS) Technical Advisory Group as well as the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Head Start Research and Evaluation and was recently appointed to the National Academies Committee on Fostering School Success for English Language Learners. Recently, she has co-authored the California Early Learning Foundations English Language Learners Chapter, the California Preschool Curriculum Frameworks English Language Development Chapter, and the Desired Results Developmental Profile, 2010, English Language Development Assessment Measures. Dr. Espinosa served as the lead consultant for the LAUSD Transitional Kindergarten program development team and is a member of the Council for Professional Development Governing Board.

Antonia Lopez

Antonia Lopez is responsible for administering and evaluating the National Council of La Raza’s (NCLR) early-childhood education-related projects. In this role, she leads the National Institute for Latino Leaders for Early Childhood Education (NILLECE), which provides training and preparation for leaders who work with early childhood education centers in Latino communities. NILLECE is integral to NCLR’s work to ensure that the U.S. educational system is meeting the needs of Latino students, who will represent one in three children in the nation by 2030. Prior to joining NCLR, Lopez was the vice president of special projects for the Parent Institute for Quality Education. She holds a master’s degree in education and school administration (with a specialization in bilingual education) from California State University, Sacramento. 

Marlene Zepeda 

Marlene Zepeda is a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Child and Family Studies at California State University, Los Angeles. A former preschool and elementary school teacher, Dr. Zepeda’s current scholarship focuses on dual language learning in Spanish speaking preschool children. Dr. Zepeda has participated in a number of activities relevant to dual language learners. For the California State Department of Education, Dr. Zepeda led a group of national experts in the development of California’s Early Learning Foundations for English Language Development for 3 and 4 year olds, the first effort of its kind in the nation and contributed to a series of research papers associated with California’s Best Practices for Dual Language Learners. She has authored a number of publications focused on teaching strategies for dual language learners. She is currently involved with two major research projects focused on understanding the language trajectory of Spanish dominant 3 year olds learning English and a study of the efficacy of preschool curriculum developed for use with Spanish speaking preschool children learning English: The Nuestro Niños School Readiness Study. Dr. Zepeda received her BA in Child Development from California State University, Los Angeles and her MA and Ph.D. degrees in Developmental Studies and Early Childhood Education from the University of California, Los Angeles.