September 14, 2016

Introducing our new Director of Quality Assessment

by McCormick Center

We’re excited to announce that Dr. Marie Masterson has joined our team as the Director of Quality Assessment.

In this role, Marie is responsible for managing the McCormick Center’s contracts with the Illinois State Board of Education and the Illinois Department of Human Services to provide program quality monitoring, assessment, and supports for ExceleRate Illinois, the state’s Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS). Marie leads the McCormick Center’s Quality Assessment Team, which conducts classroom and program level assessments across Illinois in public schools, child care centers, Head Start/Early Head Start classrooms, and family child care homes. Her team also provides professional development, peer learning opportunities, and on-going support for the Quality Specialists, Infant Toddler Child Care Specialists, and other coaches working with teachers and leaders participating in ExceleRate Illinois QRIS.

With a Ph.D. in Early Childhood Education, Marie has extensive experience teaching in higher education, and providing technical assistance and professional consultation to cross-sector organizations and schools. As early childhood specialist for the Virginia Department of Education, Office of Early Childhood Development, she was responsible for administration, accountability, and technical assistance for the Virginia Preschool Initiative, the state-funded program for children at risk. She provided leadership and support for the Virginia Star Quality Initiative—Virginia’s quality rating and improvement system. Since 2010, she has been active in the development of the Gateways early childhood credentials in Illinois. From her work, she brings deep knowledge and experience of assessment tools and the needed ingredients of quality improvement. Marie describes herself as “an eager learner—always ready to take on new challenges and to collaborate with others to create successful initiatives.” She adds, “I enjoy helping others achieve their goals.”

Marie is the author of numerous articles that focus on strength-based, respectful practices that nurture resilience and promote high-quality early care and education. She is the co-author of101 Principles for Positive Guidance with Young Children: Creating Responsive Teachers, and Enjoying the Parenting Roller Coaster: Nurturing and Empowering Your Children through the Ups and Downs. Three additional books in press address best practices in family child care and high-quality toddler teaching. She is an advocate for the human rights of children and serves on the national board of the U.S. Alliance to End the Hitting of Children.

Please join us in welcoming and congratulating Marie. She can be reached at