Throughout her career in education, Maria-Paz Avery has brought a keen sensitivity to the importance of viewing the performance of schools as embedded in the context of district and state supports. She has consulted extensively on organizational and multicultural issues with schools throughout the country. She brings her training and experience as a psychologist and mediator working in community cross-cultural settings to help understand the issues of historically disenfranchised families and students, especially from immigrant communities. As a researcher she has focused on ethnographic and qualitative research in a variety of settings.
As the Research Alliance Manager for the REL Northeast & Islands at EDC, Avery supports the activities of eight research alliances on topics such as college and career readiness, drop-out prevention, educator effectiveness, rural education, early childhood, English learners, and school improvement. She serves as the Facilitator for the English Language Learners Alliance. For 15 years, she was a manager and technical assistance provider for the New England Comprehensive Assistance Center and the New England Comprehensive Center (NECC). As part of NECC, she focused her work on the development of state guidance for districts on the implementation of formative assessment and on policy issues in the education of English language learners.
In her previous work at EDC, Avery directed the Gender Healthy Schools Project that provided technical and program evaluation assistance to teacher teams working on projects addressing gender equity in two urban districts. She provided consultation and training to the South Bend Community School Corporation on a project called Valuing Diversity that used the lens of student diversity to guide reform efforts to restructure K-12 education. In addition, she directed a project on the training of medical interpreters and was instrumental in the development of standards of practice for the profession. For this work, she received a 2015 Language Access Champion award from the National Council on Interpreting in Health Care (NCIHC).
She holds a BA in child study from Maryknoll College in the Philippines, an MA in psychology from Smith College, and a PhD in sociology from Boston University.