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Our mission is to increase equity, quality, capacity, and stability in Early Childhood Education (ECE) through building relationships and guiding professional growth in collaboration with early childhood professionals, families, and leaders.


Our vision is to provide equity, inclusion, and justice in accessing high-quality education for children, families, and educators across the state of Virginia.


Meet the Director of Early Childhood Initiatives:

Dr. Maryam Sharifian

Maryam Sharifian earned her B.A. in Counseling and Psychology from Allameh Tabatabai' University, Tehran, Iran; M.A. in School Counseling from University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran; and a Ph.D. in Early Childhood Education from University at Buffalo, NY. She is currently Director of Early Childhood Initiatives at James Madison University, an Assistant Professor of early childhood education, and Program Director of ECED 2+2 BIS program. In addition, she is the Principal Investigator of the Preschool Development Grant, Mixed Delivery Grant, VIVA Course Design, and STEPs Grant to increase access and equity in high-quality early childhood education in Virginia. Dr. Sharifian addresses educational issues relating to children and teachers in areas of armed conflict (their wellbeing and resilience strategies) and equity and access to high-quality education in marginalized populations. She worked with children of undocumented Afghan immigrants, schoolgirls in rural Tanzania and street children in Iran. She has several book chapters and article publications related to teacher training and children's education.

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