Kathleen M. Hebbeler

Senior Principal Education Researcher, SRI Education

Kathleen Hebbeler, PhD, has more than 30 years of experience providing technical assistance and conducting research and evaluation of education, health and social programs for children and adolescents. She has worked on six national longitudinal research studies, and she has directed large-scale projects involving quantitative and qualitative methods and led major evaluations for federal and state agencies and private foundations. She has also led technical assistance projects and conducted trainings for a variety of audiences on such topics as evaluation design, data analysis and using data for program improvement, with a special focus on identification and measurement of child and family outcomes.

At SRI, Hebbeler currently serves as principal investigator on a project exploring innovative uses of technology to support the assessment of young children with disabilities. She is also principal investigator on a study examining the inclusion of children with disabilities in subsidized child care. She additionally serves on the leadership team and provides technical assistance through the Center for IDEA Early Childhood Data Systems (DaSy), a national center that works with state early intervention and early childhood agencies to obtain and use high-quality data. 

Previously at SRI, Hebbeler directed the National Technical Assistance Center for Preschool Development Grants Birth Through Five (PDG B-5), which supported state agencies in building high-quality systems of programs and services for young children and their families. She also led the Early Childhood Outcomes (ECO) Center, a 10-year effort that provided national leadership and built the capacity of states to report high-quality data on outcomes for young children with disabilities and their families. And as director of the National Early Intervention Longitudinal Study (NEILS), she guided researchers in examining services and outcomes for more than 3,300 infants and toddlers with disabilities in early intervention programs around the United States.

Hebbeler is a nationally recognized expert on accountability for early childhood programs, assessment and large-scale studies of children with disabilities. She regularly serves on national advisory boards and consults on major evaluations to help create designs that adequately address such issues as oversampling and measurement of disability. She has also received several awards for her service, including the Division for Early Childhood’s Mary McEvoy Service to the Field Award and the SRI Change the World Achievement Award.

Hebbeler has authored numerous publications and has presented at many national meetings in the areas of early care and education, child development, early intervention, general and special education, accountability and community collaboration. As a member of the National Research Council’s Committee on Developmental Outcomes and Assessment for Young Children, she was a contributing author to the 2008 report Early Childhood Assessment: Why, What, and How. She also was a major author of a guidebook for community organizations on conducting evaluations.

Hebbeler earned her PhD in human development and family studies from Cornell University.

Key projects

Recent publications

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Data Snapshot 1: Preschoolers with Disabilities in Subsidized Child Care in California: 2015-2019 (10/1/2021) This infographic summarizes key findings on children ages 3 through 5 years with disabilities in subsidized early learning and care…
Data Snapshot 2: Preschoolers Receiving Special Education: California and National Data (School Years 2011-12 to 2019-20) (10/1/2021) This infographic summarizes key findings on where children ages 3 through 5 years with disabilities in California received their received…
Study Poster: Exploring Inclusion Through Administrative Data: Challenges & Opportunities (1/1/2021) This poster presents key findings from the analyses of administrative data about children ages 3 through 5 years with disabilities…

Selected publications

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