Elisa Garcia

Principal Researcher, SRI Education

Elisa Garcia, PhD, is a principal researcher in SRI’s Education Division. She is an expert in the development of early language and literacy, social-emotional skills and executive functioning skills in the context of early childhood education programs, with a focus on multilingual learners. She also has expertise in quantitative data analysis, including experimental and quasi-experimental designs and multilevel modeling.

At SRI, Garcia co-leads the Multilingual Learners program area. She also leads multiple projects that examine how early educational environments contribute to children’s learning and development. For example, she is principal investigator (PI) of the network evaluation of the Catherine Hershey Schools for Early Learning, an initiative to provide comprehensive, high-quality early care and education for children ages birth to 5 years and their families in Pennsylvania. She is the PI of an Administration for Children and Families (ACF)-funded secondary analysis grant to examine how preschool multilingual learners’ bilingual strengths relate to their experiences of classroom quality in Head Start. Garcia is completing work as PI of an evaluation of the impacts of mobile messaging programs on responsive caregiving practices of parents of young children.

Garcia also co-leads projects related to teacher professional development. For example, she is co-PI of a National Professional Development Grant in partnership with researchers at Santa Clara University and San Jose State University to conduct a formative and impact evaluation of workshops focused on bilingual and biliteracy development for elementary teachers. She also co-leads two large-scale, U.S. Department of Education-funded evaluations of evidence-based training and coaching programs for preschool and kindergarten teachers. One is an Institute of Education Sciences (IES)-funded replication study of BEST in CLASS, a Tier 2 (targeted) intervention to support preschool children with persistent challenging behaviors. The other is an Education Innovation and Research (EIR)-funded expansion evaluation of the Pyramid Model, a tiered intervention to support preschool and kindergarten teachers in promoting children’s positive social and emotional development.

Garcia earned her PhD in developmental and psychological science from the Stanford Graduate School of Education, where she was an IES predoctoral training fellow in quantitative policy analysis. She received her BA in psychology from Kenyon College.

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