Susan Washburn designs and delivers research-based professional learning that raises the bar for early childhood teachers and positively impacts child outcomes, particularly for young children at-risk for educational failure. She directs two projects in Rhode Island: the Center for Early Learning Professionals, Rhode Island’s training and technical assistance system for early childhood educators, and the State PreK PD/TA Project, the Rhode Island Department of Education’s Preschool Development Grant program. Washburn leads the effort to create a high-quality professional development system that aligns with related state initiatives and enhances educators’ instructional practices, leading to improved outcomes for children.
Previously, Washburn was Director of the Rhode Island and Maine Training and Technical Assistance Projects, part of the Head Start national network. In this role she built the capacities of Head Start, child care, public school pre-K programs, and statewide stakeholder groups in the areas of supervision, professional development, child assessment, and early literacy, including supporting dual language learners. She also served as EDC’s liaison to the Office of Head Start for these projects.
Washburn led three projects for the U.S. Department of Education Early Reading First initiative, implementing comprehensive systems change to support public schools, Head Start, and child care programs to advance their early learning and literacy practices. She is lead curriculum developer for EDC’s research-based, credit-bearing Excellence in Teaching (EIT) professional development program for early childhood teachers and supervisors. She co-developed and teaches EIT’s Literacy Environment Enrichment Program (LEEP) and Supporting Preschoolers with Language Differences (SPLD). She was principal developer of the supervisor strand of LEEP.
Washburn co-developed and teaches the two-credit, online course Foundations of Supervision for Early Childhood Managers, which provides child care, Head Start, and pre-K program directors and supervisors with effective techniques that improve early education.
She is coauthor of “Instructional Coaching: Helping Preschool Teachers Reach Their Full Potential,” a synthesis of effective coaching strategies based on EDC’s experiences in six Early Reading First projects across the country. She is a contributing author of “Supporting English Learners in Preschool Classrooms,” a research article detailing the implementation and evaluation of a professional development intervention designed to build teachers’ capacity to promote the language and literacy development of young English learners.
Before joining EDC, Washburn was a teacher, supervisor, and education manager in local Head Start programs and a consultant for the Region I Administration for Children and Families.
Washburn received her BS in Child Development and Family Relations from the University of Rhode Island.