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Dr. Cathy Grace serves as the Children's Defense Fund's Director of Early Childhood Development where she is responsible for developing and implementing early childhood development (ECD) policy recommendations and serves as lead advocate for enhancing ECD policy to elected officials and policy makers.
Dr. Grace joins the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) while on sabbatical from Mississippi State University where she directs the Early Childhood Institute, The National Center for Early Childhood Rural Initiatives, and holds the title of professor in the College of Education. With more than 35 years of experience, Dr. Grace has worked as a classroom teacher, directed a university-based early care and education program, served as the early childhood coordinator for the Mississippi Department of Education, and served as an advisor to state legislators, governors and policy makers. During her career, she has conducted field research, developed curriculum and training for early childhood educators, been published in research journals, and co-authored two books.
Dr. Grace received her undergraduate degree in elementary education from the University of Arkansas, her master’s in early childhood education from Arkansas State University and her doctorate from the University of Mississippi in Curriculum and Instruction with a major in early childhood education and a minor in special education.