Shari Golan, Co-Director, Center for Education and Human Services | SRI International

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Shari Golan

President, SRI Education

Shari Golan, Ph.D., is president of SRI Education and a vice president of SRI International. Golan joined SRI in 1992 and has been a research center director since 2012. Golan has more than 25 years’ experience leading, conducting, and managing quantitative and qualitative research and evaluation projects in large school districts and other multi-site contexts for federal, state, foundation, and commercial clients.

Golan is expert in both process and outcome evaluation and technical assistance. Her expertise includes working with policymakers, funders, and program leaders to identify desired outcomes, strategies to achieve them, and ways to collect and use high-quality data to monitor progress. She has researched coordinated services for children, youth, and families to improve social, educational, and economic outcomes for vulnerable populations; family engagement; and early childhood education quality and outcomes for traditionally underserved children and youth. She also has disseminated findings in multiple formats for diverse audiences.

Golan’s skilled leadership and project management expertise have resulted in projects that deliver on time and on budget, but most importantly, have had demonstrable impact on school district decisions. For example, school leaders involved in a PreK–3 literacy initiative in the Twin Cities have used her evaluation findings to refine their work and try to better support their schools, teachers, and students (e.g., engage in more professional development focused on supporting dual language learners; fill gaps in their curricular needs; and place more focus on improving the quality of instruction, especially during independent work time). Similarly, her recent study of the use of kindergarten entry assessments generated important insights into the conditions and supports necessary for these assessments to be effective at improving student learning; these findings are helping the U.S. Department of Education to provide better technical assistance and states to develop and refine their own kindergarten entry assessment processes.

Golan has experience leading other large projects, including a 5-year, $37 million contract to conduct a statewide comprehensive evaluation of the First 5 California program that collected child, family, teacher, and program data, as well as administrative data, across all 58 counties to assess outcomes in family functioning, child health and well-being, and children’s learning and school readiness. On this project, Golan managed a team of 30 staff and five subcontractors.

Golan has also led work in Miami-Dade, the fifth-largest district in the country; there, she co-led an evaluation of an early childhood system that used case studies school and agency data. This work led to a second study to evaluate the impact of the Florida Master Teacher Initiative, an Investing in Innovation (i3) Fund development grant, on PK–3rd grade teachers and their students. Golan’s other current work includes directing an evaluation of Virginia’s preschool expansion grant that serves children from low-income families, many of whom are English learners. For the past 8 years, she has also led the evaluation of a multi-district PreK–3rd grade literacy initiative in Minnesota that uses formative assessment and teacher professional development in high-need schools to try to close the achievement gap.

Golan also has conducted studies on family engagement and welfare and on family-school partnerships. She worked with the RAND Corporation on the statewide evaluation of the Prevention and Early Intervention Initiatives funded by the California Mental Health Services Authority. She co-directed an evaluation of GreatSchools’ College Bound, an online parent involvement program that offers a web-based curriculum and coaching to help parents raise their children to be college ready. She also conducted a three-year study of the Parent Institute for Quality Education program, which was designed to help new immigrant parents better support their children’s academic, social, and emotional growth at home and through school involvement, as well as a three-year evaluation of the California's Healthy Start School-Linked Services initiative.

Golan earned her Ph.D. in education from the University of California, Los Angeles.