Marie Masterson, PhD
Director of Quality Assessment (IDHS & ISBE)

Dr. Marie Masterson, PhD, is the director of quality assessment at the McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership. She holds a doctorate in early childhood education and is a national speaker, child behavior expert, researcher, and award-winning author of multiple books, including Let’s Talk Toddlers: A Practical Guide to High-Quality Teaching, 101 Principles for Positive Guidance: Creating Responsive Teachers, The Essentials for Family Childcare Professionals, and Enjoying the Parenting Roller Coaster: Nurturing and Empowering Your Children through the Ups and Downs. Marie has authored many articles that address research-based, practical skills for behavior guidance and high-quality teaching. She is former early childhood specialist for the Virginia Department of Education, university professor, and Fulbright specialist. Marie provides content expertise and consultation to organizations and agencies involved in quality rating and improvement, and advocates for strength-based practices that foster resilience, especially for children who have experienced trauma and stress.


Masterson, M. L. (2018). Let’s talk toddlers: A practical guide to high-quality teaching. St. Paul, MN: Redleaf Press.

Masterson, M. L., & Ginet, L. M. (2018). The essentials for family childcare professionals. Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Abel, M. B., Talan, T. N., & Masterson, M. L. (2017, January/February). Whole leadership: A framework for early childhood programs. Exchange, 39(1), 22–25.

Masterson, M. L., & Kersey, K. C. (2016). Enjoying the parenting roller coaster: Nurturing and empowering your children through the ups and downs. Lewisville, NC: Gryphon House.

Masterson, M. L. (2015). Small steps with big rewards: Connecting with co-teachers. Young Children, 70(5), 28–33.

Kersey, K. C., & Masterson, M. L. (2013). 101 principles for positive guidance with young children: Creating responsive teachers. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Masterson, M. L. & Kersey, K. (2013). Maximize your influence to make toddler mornings meaningful. Young Children, 68(5), 10–15.

Masterson, M. L. (2013). Connecting children to kindness: Encouraging a culture of empathy. Childhood Education, 89(4), 211–216.

Kersey, K., & Masterson, M. L. (2011). Learn to say “yes,” when you want to say “no!” – To create cooperation instead of resistance: Positive behavior strategies in teaching. Young Children, 66(44), 40–44.

Kersey, K., & Masterson, M. L. (2010). Is tattling a bad word? How to help children navigate the playground. Childhood Education, 86(4), 260–263.