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(Sharon) Lynn Kagan, EdD

Professor Adjunct

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(Sharon) Lynn Kagan, EdD



Sharon Lynn Kagan is a Professor (Adjunct) at the Yale Child Study Center and 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. Recognized internationally and nationally for her accomplishments related to the care and education of young children, Dr. Kagan is a prolific public scholar who has influenced the policies of over 90 countries in Latin America, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and the former Soviet Republics. She is the author or editor of 17 books, over 300 articles, and numerous policy position statements. Dr. Kagan’s scholarly work is enriched by international experiences as a Fulbright Scholar/Senior Specialist, University visiting reviewer, scholar and board member, consultant to United Nations agencies and International banks/foundations, and global keynote speaker; domestically, she has worked in the United States Senate, the United States Department of Education, the New York City Mayor’s Office of Early Childhood Education, and as a senior administrator in Head Start and in public school systems in Connecticut.

A recipient of international and national honorary doctoral degrees, and numerous prestigious commendations and awards, Dr. Kagan has served the early childhood education and care (ECEC) profession as a president of both the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and Family Support America; chair of the National Education Goals Panel (Goal One); a member of the Clinton Education Transition Team; a distinguished fellow for the Education Commission of the States (ECS); and a member of numerous National Academy of Sciences, foundation boards, and administration panels. She was made a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) in 2010, and elected to membership in the National Academy of Education (NAEd) in 2012. 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.

Dr. Kagan’s research focuses on the application of child development and family studies research to the formation and implementation of public policies for children birth to age eight and their families; the impact of institutions (e.g., families, child care) on the development of young, low-income children; the development of early childhood architecture and systems (e.g., governance, finance, workforce development, data systems, QRIS) that enhance the equity, quality, sustainability, and efficiency of ECEC service delivery; the development, validation, alignment, and implementation of early learning standards, and the appropriate curricula and assessments to accompany the standards; and the role of, and relationships among, organizations (e.g., schools, health, social services, family support, public and private sector providers) to advance the developmental readiness of young children.

Education & Training

  • EdD
    Columbia University (1979)

Departments & Organizations