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Erika Gaylor

Principal Senior Researcher and Early Childhood Program Leader, SRI Education

Erika Gaylor, Ph.D., uses mixed-methods designs to study both the implementation and impact of policies and programs that serve young children and their families. Gaylor and her colleagues have collaborated with several states to explore innovative policies and programs that increase access to and improve the quality of early care and education settings for low-income children. This work has included study of a pilot program to provide scholarships for low-income families to use at high-quality community programs and several projects exploring Pay for Success financing as a means to expand access to evidence-based high-quality early learning opportunities. Gaylor is co-principal investigator on a four-year comprehensive evaluation of the Preschool Development Grant in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Gaylor also studies workforce development and supports for individuals working with young children and their families. She was the principal investigator for the RISE (Researching Implementation Support Experiences) home visiting evaluation. Conducted in collaboration with the Washington State Department of Early Learning, RISE examined workforce development in local home visiting programs supported by Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) funds. This project resulted in several reports and briefs. In other research, Gaylor has addressed how best to support preschool teachers’ learning and self-efficacy in mathematics to increase their confidence and intentional math instruction in a variety of preschool settings, including school-based preschool programs and Head Start centers.

Gaylor also has expertise in early childhood social-emotional development (e.g., consulting on a guide for program administrators to reduce suspensions and expulsions in early care and education settings), sleep health and behavior, and schoolwide preschool to third grade interventions. She is the co-principal investigator of a new project under an Education Innovation and Research grant to examine the impact of scaling up the Pyramid Model in rural and urban preschool and kindergarten classrooms to reduce behavioral challenges and suspensions/expulsions for children attending a district-funded preschool program.

On the Office of Special Education Programs-funded Model Demonstration Coordination Center for early childhood language intervention projects, Gaylor was responsible for developing common measures and synthesizing outcomes for three projects located throughout the United States. For First 5 California, she was responsible for consulting with local, county, and state stakeholders to analyze and report on evaluation activities.

Gaylor is the author of several reports and briefs, as well peer-reviewed publications. She regularly presents her work at scholarly conferences and has been an invited speaker at the ACF-sponsored Child Care Early Education Policy Research Consortium meeting, the Urban Institute’s Pay for Success Conferences, and several national webinars to share lessons learned from various projects. She is also a certified reviewer for the What Works Clearinghouse. Gaylor earned her Ph.D. in human development from the University of California, Davis and a B.S. in psychology from the University of Iowa.

Key Projects

  1. Santa Clara County Office of Education Strong Start Pay for Success Feasibility Study
  2. Collaborative Math: Creating Sustainable Excellence in Mathematics for Head Start Programs
  3. Virginia Preschool Initiative – Plus (VPI+) Comprehensive Evaluation
  4. Model Demonstration Coordination Center (MDCC)
  5. Evaluation of the Midwest Expansion of the CPC Education Program

Selected Publications

  1. Gaylor, E., Ferguson, K., Williamson, C., Wei, X., & Spiker, D. (2018). Evaluation of kindergarten readiness in nine Child-Parent Centers: Report for 2016-17. Prepared for IFF Pay for Success I, LLC. Menlo Park, CA. SRI International. (Available on the IFF website.)
  2. Golan, S., Gaylor, E., Chow, K., Davies-Mercier, B., Grindal, T., Tunzi, D., Tiruke, T., & Williamson, C. (2017). VPI+ comprehensive evaluation annual report. Menlo Park, CA. SRI International.
  3. Burnham, M. M., Gaylor, E. E., & Wei, X. (2016). Toddler naps in child care: Associations with demographics and developmental outcomes. Sleep Health, 2(1), 25-29. doi:10.1016/j.sleh.2015.12.004
  4. Gaylor, E., Wagner, M., Shaver, D., Fabrikant, N., & Hebbeler, K. (2013). Early childhood language interventions: An illustration of the Model Demonstration Process – Project findings in brief. Menlo Park, CA. SRI International.
  5. Erikson Institute, SRI International, & Illinois State Board of Education. (2012) Illinois Preschool for All (PFA) Evaluation. PFA child outcomes. Chicago, IL: Erikson Institute.
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