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John M. Love

Consultant, Ashland Institute for Early Childhood Science and Policy

In July 2010, Dr. Love began retirement after 18 years with Mathematica Policy Research, where he was senior fellow and area leader for early childhood policy and research. He now provides independent consulting in early care and education research, program evaluation, and policy. He has been involved in teaching, research, and evaluation studies of programs for children birth to 5 years old and their families for almost 50 years since receiving his doctorate in child behavior and development from the University of Iowa. Dr. Love is a former Board Member of ZERO TO THREE.

Contributions to the Field

Dr. Love is an authority on early childhood program evaluation and assessment. He has directed numerous program evaluations that have included randomized control studies, implementation/process studies, and qualitative research. He was a key player in Early Head Start research and evaluation studies from the infant-toddler phase through its prekindergarten follow-up study. He directed a multisite study of preschool curricula for the U.S. Department of Education (the Preschool Curriculum Evaluation Research or PCER project) and a single-county study of universal preschool for First 5 LA. Past advisory committee service has included Oregon Department of Education (2014–2015), Kindergarten Content and Assessment Advisory Committee; U.S, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius’s Advisory Committee on Head Start Research and Evaluation (2010–2012); Educare Randomized Control Study Expert Roundtable, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (2009); Commission on Early Childhood Program Standards and Accreditation Criteria, National Association for the Education of Young Children (2002–2005); Research Partner and Co-chair of Research Partners, National Center on Early Development and Learning, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Center, University of North Carolina (1996–2001); Secretary Shalala’s first Advisory Committee for Head Start Research and Evaluation (1999); and the Carnegie Corporation’s Starting Points advisory panel (1996–1998).


  • Society for Research in Child Development
  • National Association for the Education of Young Children
  • Chair (2011-2018), Arizona’s First Things First Early Childhood Research and Evaluation National Advisory Panel
  • Research Advisory Group, Committee for Children (Seattle)

Recent Honors/Awards/Recognition/Books Published

In 2013 the Society for Research in Child Development honored Dr. Love with its Distinguished Contributions to Public Policy for Children award in recognition of an SRCD Member’s continuous lifetime research contributions to policy and practice for the benefit of children. Dr. Love has authored and coauthored many technical evaluation reports, journal articles, and book chapters. The final report of the Early Head Start national evaluation study he directed was awarded a Department of Health and Human Services award for excellence in “Program Improvement 2002” because its “soundness of design, methodology, appropriateness of conclusions and significance and usefulness of findings” created “outstanding potential for use by the larger health and human services community.” In 2006 he was invited to give the closing plenary address at Head Start’s Eighth National Research Conference.