Kristie Kauerz, Ed.D. is a Clinical Associate Professor of Administrative Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Colorado Denver and specializes in education reform efforts that address the continuum of learning from birth through 3rd grade. Kristie's expertise spans policy, research, and practice as well as birth-to-five system-building and K-12 reform.
Kristie's expertise is based in her work with more than 40 states and dozens of school districts around the country. Kristie's experience includes work at the state level, as an early childhood and P-3 policy advisor for two former Colorado governors – Bill Ritter, Jr. and Roy Romer; at the national level, as program director for early learning at Education Commission of the States; and in academia as director of a PreK-3rd Grade Initiative at Harvard Graduate School of Education, research fellow at the National Center for Children and Families (Teachers College, Columbia University), and research assistant professor at the University of Washington College of Education.
Kristie is the lead author on the Framework for Planning, Implementing, and Evaluating PreK-3rd Grade Approaches, a tool to guide school, district, community, and state efforts. She also has authored and co-authored numerous articles, book chapters, and reports on topics ranging from state kindergarten policies to early childhood governance to P-3 policy alignment. She co-authored the original Washington State Early Learning and Development Benchmarks, as well as a book on improving the early care and education teaching workforce. She is co-editor of Early Childhood Systems: Transforming Early Learning.
Kristie is a proud graduate of Colorado College, American University, and Teachers College at Columbia University.
Mari comes to the National P-3 Center team with one foot in early learning and one foot in K-12 education. She has served for more than 17 years on the Lake Stevens School District (Washington) Board of Directors, and served as President of the Washington State School Directors Association. She received her M.A. in Policy Studies from the University of Washington--Bothell where she conducted a qualitative study entitled Early Childhood Education: Effects on Families. She has served as an Early Head Start home visitor as well as an Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP, Washington's state-funded PreK) teacher.
Mari has a passion for building equity in education. At the National P-3 Center she is working to help early learning and education leaders mitigate the effects of institutional and systemic racism and to identify and eliminate barriers that stand in the way of our most vulnerable and under-served children and families.
Laura Pflum is the Program Coordinator for the National P-3 Center. Laura worked as a first grade teacher for three years, contributed to education policy reform in the state of Montana under former governor Brian Schweitzer, and is a Teach For America alumna (Mississippi Delta '10). She received her B.A. in political science from the University of Montana in 2010 and is pursuing her MPA at the University of Washington.