Mary Lee Porterfield

Mary Lee Porterfield
Senior Education Researcher, SRI Education

Mary Lee Porterfield, PhD, is an experienced researcher and technical assistance specialist with expertise in early childhood education (ECE). Her work centers on equity-focused family engagement/family partnerships, infant-toddler development, ECE systems and Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS), ECE quality measurement and improvement and early intervention. She uses qualitative and mixed methods to inform technical assistance and systems change work in the early childhood field.

Porterfield has more than 15 years of experience in ECE. At SRI, she has led family engagement work for the National Technical Assistance Center for Preschool Development Grants Birth Through Five (PDG B-5), and she currently leads technical assistance related to equity in family outcomes with a state early intervention program through the Center for IDEA Early Childhood Data Systems (DaSy). She is also the family engagement lead and a site lead for an Office of Special Education Programs-funded model demonstration project to promote improved systems for identifying, screening, referring and tracking infants and toddlers who may be eligible for early intervention. In addition, Porterfield leads qualitative analysis for a study of inclusion of preschoolers in subsidized early learning and care in California, funded by the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation in the Administration for Children and Families. She was recently appointed to North Carolina’s Birth through Third Grade (B-3) Interagency Council and its Family Engagement work group.

Before joining SRI, Porterfield contributed to the development and testing of an ECE quality measurement tool at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She also collaborated on a national family engagement community of practice and led systems change efforts at a state Child Care and Development Fund lead agency.

Porterfield earned her MS and PhD in human development and family studies, with a focus on early childhood development and education, from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She also holds a BA in theatre design and production from Wake Forest University.

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*Publication written prior to SRI employment

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