Children's Institute


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Our Staff Team / About Dr. Merrill

Marina Merrill

Marina Merrill

Director of Research & Strategy

Dr. Marina Merrill joined Children’s Institute in 2013 to lead the organization’s research on prenatal through third-grade issues, evaluation, data collection, and analysis. She also advises Children’s Institute’s advocacy and policy work.

Dr. Merrill was instrumental in advocating for and winning a new, mixed-delivery preschool program in Oregon during the 2015 legislative session. She has extensive experience in program evaluation and technical assistance for early learning programs, prenatal to third-grade initiatives at the program and policy level, parenting education programs, home visiting, education reform, safe schools, community partnerships, and school/community health.

Dr. Merrill partners with Portland State University on the evaluation of the Early Works initiative. She serves on the statewide Spark Ad Hoc Committee, working to revise the state’s Quality Rating and Improvement System and participates in the Partnership for Preschool Improvement team, working to develop a comprehensive professional development system for state-funded preschool.

Prior to Children’s Institute, Dr. Merrill was a Senior Research Associate at RMC Research and Early Childhood Education Specialist at the Oregon Department of Education, where she provided leadership for Oregon’s Even Start Family Literacy and Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education programs.

She also contributed to the development of the early childhood longitudinal data tracking system and provided statewide professional development on school readiness, including effective teaching strategies in early childhood.

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