María Velásquez has a wealth of experience in the fields of early childhood education, K-12 education, and health, along with expertise in providing innovative, effective, and responsive training and professional development. Driven by her deep commitment to improve the quality of early childhood programs, she brings extensive knowledge of effective assessment, evaluation, research, use of technology to enhance teaching and learning, program management, and policy reform to all of her early childhood development work at EDC.
Velásquez is advancing the goals of EDC's Center for Early Learning Professionals in Rhode Island. She specializes is providing bilingual, bi-literate (Spanish/English) professional development and technical assistance to early education programs that are interested in improving their services for children and families and progressing along RI’s quality continuum. In this capacity, she works closely with EDC's Center for Early Learning Professionals team, as well as the RI Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the RI Department of Human Services, the RI Department of Health, the RI Department of Children, Youth, and Families, BrightStars, and Rhode Island's early childhood care and education programs.
Previously, Velásquez was a State of Rhode Island Programming Services Officer/Contract Manager, in which capacity she served as the state's liaison to EDC on the Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge contract of $17.5M. For nine years, she was the Director of Education Services for WSBE-RI PBS. She introduced video-streamed technology and online curriculum in RI’s classrooms increasing teacher capacity of classroom virtual learning, technology use, and knowledge of curriculum standards. She also participated in the development of the National Digital Library funded by PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. She began her career as a Program Manager for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Rhode Island, where she had an early start in programming and quality management operations.
Velásquez earned a BS in Psychology from Rhode Island College, an MA in Education from the University of Rhode Island, and an EdD in Educational Leadership from Johnson & Wales University.