Skip to Main Content

Our Team

  • Director

    Associate Professor of Psychiatry; Director, Child Wellbeing and Education Research

    I received my Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from University of California at Berkeley and conducted my predoctoral fellowship at the Institute for Juvenile Research at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Upon completing this fellowship, I was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Rush Neurobehavioral Center with funding from the William T. Grant Foundation. I completed my postdoctoral training at The Consultation Center at Yale within the Division of Prevention and Community Research at Yale School of Medicine with support from the Ford Foundation. I began my faculty career as an Associate Research Scientist at the Yale and have been an Assistant Professor since 2014.

    Currently, I direct Child Well-Being and Education Research at The Consultation Center at Yale where I am also a Senior Evaluation Consultant for YaleEval. My work has two main themes. One theme focuses on the role of social environments in the academic, psychological, social, and behavioral well-being of children and youth. A second theme examines whether and how school-based programs and practices improve the academic performance and health of children and emphasizes practical approaches for how to use data to inform practices and policies. Much of my work occurs in the context of partnerships between researchers and practitioners. One such project I direct is the Partnership for Early Education Research (PEER;, a research-practice partnership between three Connecticut communities. 

  • Co-Director

    Assistant Director of Child Wellbeing and Education Research

    Joanna Meyer joined The Consultation Center in 2014 and currently serves as Assistant Director of Child Wellbeing and Education Research and Co-Director of the Partnership for Early Education Research (PEER). Meyer aims to partner with education stakeholders to conduct research and evaluation studies that can inform the improvement of education systems and practices. Research interests include educational equity, early childhood education, the transition to K-12 education, social-emotional learning, family engagement, multilingual learners, STEM education, improvement science, and evaluation. Along with eight years in research-practice partnerships, Meyer brings ten years of experience as an educator to her work, a foundation that helps her to develop mutually-beneficial relationships among organizations and advocate for diverse stakeholder interests.

    Meyer’s teaching experience spans three school districts, a Job Corps center, and two experiential learning settings. As a high school STEM teacher, Meyer led her school’s decennial accreditation process with New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), and coordinated the design and pilot of six school-wide rubrics focused on interdepartmental learning expectations. Meyer also served as a fellow of the Maine Writing Project, a mentor teacher for the teacher preparation program at the University of Maine's College of Education and Human Development, and a coordinating teacher for the NSF GK-12 program at the University of Maine's College of Engineering. These experiences increased Meyer’s interest in school improvement and teacher leadership.

    In 2011, Meyer transitioned from the classroom to the Maine Physical Sciences Partnership (MainePSP), a NSF-funded collaboration between the University of Maine's Research in STEM Education (RiSE) Center and 12 local school districts that focuses on improving the teaching and learning of science in secondary and post-secondary classrooms. At the MainePSP, Meyer provided professional development and leadership to teachers who were implementing one or more year-long MainePSP curricula in their grade 6-9 classrooms and engaged in STEM education research. This role required balancing the needs and perspectives of researchers and practitioners, which Meyer found both fascinating and rewarding.

  • Practitioner Lead

    Now serving as an Early Childhood System Development Specialist at C.E.S., George A. Coleman was twice named Acting Commissioner of Education during his 24 year career in the Connecticut State Department of Education (SDE). He retired from the department in October, 2011. While at the SDE he also held the position of as Deputy Commissioner of Education, Associate Commissioner of Education, Chief of the Bureau of Curriculum and Teaching and Chief of the Bureau of Early Childhood Education. He is now a private educational contractor, working at the Cooperative Educational Services in Trumbull, Connecticut.

    Mr. Coleman joined the State Department of Education in 1987 as Kindergarten and Primary Grades Consultant. In that position he established the state’s rationale for full-day kindergarten investment and supported the department in procuring from the legislature the first state grant to support school districts in providing full-day kindergarten. He also drafted, on behalf of the State Department of Education, School Readiness legislation and funding level commitments, which is now greater than $200,000,000.

    Mr. Coleman holds graduate degrees in early childhood education and curriculum and instruction from Teacher’s College at Columbia University. He is also an adjunct professor of history at Western Connecticut State University.

  • Co-Director

    Currently a Research Scientist at EDC, Clare Waterman Irwin, PhD, is a highly experienced researcher and evaluator who leads studies that guide education leaders and policymakers in improving outcomes for students. She brings extensive expertise in measurement, quantitative and qualitative research methods, policy analysis, mixed methods evaluations, research-practitioner partnerships, and technical assistance. Her research focuses on identifying strategies to improve early childhood education.

    As well as serving as co-director of the Partnership for Early Education Research (PEER), Irwin leads the Vermont Universal PreK Research Partnership and Early Childhood Workforce Development Research Alliance for REL Northeast & Islands at EDC. She has led several state contracts, regularly publishes her findings in peer-reviewed journals, and is the lead author of Survey Methods for Educators: Collaborative Survey Development

    Before joining EDC, Dr. Waterman Irwin served as a Research Specialist for Providence Public School District where she assisted school and district leaders in using data to inform their policy and practice. In this role, Dr. Waterman Irwin worked closely with the district’s lowest performing schools to improve student learning.

    Dr. Waterman Irwin received a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Colorado Boulder, and an M.S.Ed. in Human Development, an M.S. in Quantitative Methods, and a Ph.D. in Policy, Research, Evaluation, and Measurement from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. Dr. Waterman Irwin was an IES Pre-doctoral Training Fellow from 2007–2011.

Join Us

If you would like to join PEER's mailing list as an individual, please sign up here.

If your organization would like to join PEER as an Affiliate member, please register your organization here.

Please contact with any questions.