I am delighted to announce the appointment of Dr. Jennifer Mata-McMahon as the new director of the Sherman Center for Early Learning in Urban Communities. Her appointment is effective August 16, 2021. Dr. Mata-McMahon succeeds Dr. Mavis Sanders, who has served with distinction as the Center’s inaugural director.
The Sherman Center for Early Learning in Urban Communities is a multidisciplinary center that was established with a generous gift from the George and Betsy Sherman Family Foundation. The mission of the Center is to expand UMBC’s efforts to build a strong foundation for learning among young children in Baltimore City and to develop best early education practices for urban schools through applied research, teacher professional development, and partnerships with schools, families, and communities.
Dr. Mata-McMahon joined UMBC in 2018 as Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education in UMBC’s Department of Education and also currently holds an appointment as a research professor in the Sherman Center for Early Learning in Urban Communities. Dr. Mata-McMahon graduated from Universidad Metropolitana in Caracas, Venezuela with a B.A. in early childhood education and educational leadership and administration, and earned her M.A., Ed.M., and Ed.D. from Teachers College, Columbia University, in early childhood education with an emphasis in bilingual/bicultural education. She has served as an infant, toddler, preschool, kindergarten, and middle school teacher, both in the U.S. and abroad. In addition, she has provided professional development to teachers and professors in public and private urban settings, and conducted program evaluations for non-profit educational organizations in India, New York, and Illinois. Her research interests include bilingual education, moral and socio-emotional development, and children’s spirituality, fields in which she has published a number of articles, chapters, and books.
As director of the Sherman Center for Early Learning in Urban Communities, Dr. Mata-McMahon will build upon Dr. Sanders’ remarkable legacy. As the Center’s inaugural director, Dr. Sanders established a strong foundation for the Center through the development of effective collaborations with its steering and advisory committees, UMBC’s faculty, and campus partners supporting K-12 engagement, as well as through authentic partnerships with schools, families, and communities.
Please join me in congratulating and supporting Dr. Mata-McMahon in her new leadership role and in expressing our thanks to Dr. Sanders for her outstanding commitment and leadership as the inaugural director of the Sherman Center for Early Learning in Urban Communities.
Provost Philip Rous