Our Leadership

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NCCF Co-Directors Jeanne Brooks-Gunn (left) and Sharon Lynn Kagan (right)

Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Ph.D.

Virginia and Leonard Marx Professor of Child Development and Education
Co-Director,  NCCF 

Biography Curriculum Vitae
Selected Publications Contact

Areas of Expertise:

• Early Childhood Development • The Influence of Neighborhood
and Environment on Children
• Adolescent Psychology
(includes teen topics, i.e. “body image,” etc.)
• After School Programs/Extended Day Programs
• Adolescence (Puberty and Sexuality) • Long-Term Effects of Early
Childhood Intervention
• Working Mothers • Low Birth Weight/Vulnerable Kids
• The Role of Fathers in Early
Childhood Development
• The Effects of Poverty on
Children and Families
• How to Identify Quality in a Preschool or Kindergarten

Jeanne Brooks-Gunn is the Virginia and Leonard Marx Professor of Child Development at Columbia University’s  Teachers College and the College of Physicians and Surgeons. She also co-directs the National Center for Children and Families, a center devoted to research, policy, and practice.

Dr. Brooks-Gunn’s specialty is policy-oriented research focusing on family and community influences upon the development of children and youth. Her books on these topics include Consequences of growing up poor; Escape from poverty: What makes a difference for children?; Adolescent mothers in later life; and Neighborhood poverty:  Context and consequences for children. She also designs and evaluates interventions aimed at enhancing the lives of children and youth, including home visiting programs for pregnant women and new mothers, early childhood education programs for toddlers and preschools, two generation programs for young children and their parents, and after school programs for older children.

A life span developmental psychologist, she also conducts research on transitional periods focusing on school, family and biological transitions in childhood, adolescence, and adulthood.  She is interested in the factors that contribute to well-being and changes in well-being over the life course.  She has conducted several large scale birth studies where pregnant women or new mothers are followed, with their children, through life. Her books on these topics include Adolescent mothers in later life and Girls at puberty: Biological and psychosocial perspectives.

Dr. Brooks-Gunn has been the recipient of several honors: the Harvard University Graduate School of Education Alumni Council Award, election into the National Academy of Education, election into the National Academy of Medicine; Honorary Doctorate of Science at Northwestern University; Distinguished Contributions to the Public Policy for Children Award from the Society for Research in Child Development; Margaret Mead Fellow Award by the American Academy of Political and Social Science; James McKeen Cattell Fellow Award from the American Psychological Society; Distinguished Contributions to Research in Public Policy Award from the American Psychological Association; and the John P. Hill Award for excellence in theory development and research on adolescents from the Society for Research on Adolescence.

Sharon Lynn Kagan, Ed.D.

Virginia and Leonard Marx Professor of Early Childhood and Family Policy
Co-Director,  NCCF

Biography Curriculum Vitae
Selected Publications Contact

Areas of Expertise:

• Early Childhood Education and Policy • Head Start and Other Early
Childhood Programs
• State and Federal Educational Policy • International Early Childhood Education
• Standards and Accountability • Practices and Policies impacting Young Children’s Development
• Identifying Quality Programs • The Role of Parents in Children’s Learning and Development
• Schools as Hubs for Service Delivery • Systems, Governance, and Professional Development
• Transition from Pre-School to School • Comprehensive/Integrated Early Childhood Development

Sharon Lynn Kagan is the Virginia and Leonard Marx Professor of Early Childhood and Family Policy and Co-Director of the National Center for Children and Families at Teachers College, Columbia University, and Professor Adjunct at Yale University’s Child Study Center. Recognized internationally and nationally for her accomplishments related to the care and education of young children, Kagan is a prolific pubic speaker, author of 300 articles and 14 books, a member of over 30 national boards or panels. Kagan’s academic background is enriched with experience as a Head Start teacher, Director, public school administrator, and Director of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Early Childhood Education. Her policy work has been honed by experiences in the US Senate and in work with 78 national governments around the world, including consultancies in Latin America, Asia, Africa, the Commonwealth of Independent States and throughout central and western Europe.

Recipient of international and national honorary doctoral degrees, Dr. Kagan is Past President of the National Association for the Education of Young Children and a Past President of Family Support America. She has served as Chair of the National Education Goals Panel Technical Planning Group for Goal One; a member of the Clinton Education Transition Team; a Distinguished Fellow for the Education Commission of the States; and a member of numerous National Academy of Sciences, foundation, and administration panels. She was made a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) in 2010, elected to membership in the National Academy of Education in 2012, and awarded a Fulbright Fellowship in 2016 (Tajikistan). She is the only woman in the history of American Education to receive its three most prestigious awards: the 2004 Distinguished Service Award from the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), the 2005 James Bryant Conant Award for Lifetime Service to Education from the Education Commission of the States (ECS), and the Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Prize in Education.