Catherine Atkin

Executive Director

Catherine Atkin

Executive Director

Catherine is the founder of The Early Learning Lab and brings a decade of early childhood leadership and more than two decades of legal and policy experience to her work at The Lab.

Catherine leads our collective mission to address the complex challenge of identifying and scaling effective early learning solutions. She directs a cross-disciplinary team who supports our innovation work in local communities and guides the team to widely share best practices. Catherine collaborates with thought-leaders, researchers, and policymakers in California and across the nation to uncover and share what works.

As a senior fellow at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Catherine brought the concept of early learning social innovation to fruition through the founding of The Early Learning Lab. Prior to that, she founded Early Edge California where she led the passing of legislation to institute the state’s first transitional kindergarten program, a new grade in California, as well as the passage of legislation creating an early education quality rating and improvement system.

Catherine graduated from Stanford University, holds a law degree from Boalt Hall School of Law at UC Berkeley and a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning from UCLA.

She is a mother of two and a Trader Joe’s cook who is committed to making real meals despite her busy schedule.

Kimberly Boller

Senior Advisor for Learning and Innovation & Senior Fellow, Mathematica Policy Research

Kimberly Boller

Senior Advisor for Learning and Innovation & Senior Fellow, Mathematica Policy Research

At The Lab, Kimberly works closely with the Starting Smart and Strong initiative. Currently, she is focused on identifying effective measures to track progress within the Fresno and San Jose, California communities. She is part of the team that is planning a formative study of programs serving parents of young children and a measurement project designed to better assess changes in parenting. She is most excited about The Lab’s approach to co-creating solutions with communities that address issues unique to their circumstances.

Kim is a Senior Fellow with Mathematica Policy Research where she conducts research on Head Start, Early Head Start, child care, and home visiting. She holds degrees from Villanova and Rutgers, including a PhD in Developmental and Cognitive Psychology.

Kim is also a proud mom of a teenage daughter who teaches her everything about parenting that never made it into her college textbooks. She loves being on the beach in the afternoon and sunrises over the ocean in New Jersey. Kim feels fortunate to travel regularly for work and has been to more than 30 states and five continents.

Diana Chun

Strategic Communications Officer

Diana Chun

Strategic Communications Officer

Diana Chun supports the planning and execution of strategic communications for the Early Learning Lab and each of its initiatives. A deep believer in the power of communication, she works to share the Lab’s learnings, tools, and strategies.

She enjoys being on the ground floor of innovation, advocacy, and policy that will help teachers, caregivers, and parents support young children. Before joining the Lab, Diana was the communications director of Early Edge California, where she executed successful advocacy campaigns to increase access to preschool, improve quality, and guarantee transitional kindergarten throughout the Golden State.

Diana graduated from UC Davis with a double major in Communications and Psychology. While there, she served as the marketing events intern for United Way California Capital Region and volunteered in youth education and mental health programs. She continues to take marketing and communications courses at UC Berkeley Extension in her spare time.

Diana is the mother of two cats, Remi and Zelda, and she loves traveling between California and Colorado whenever she gets the chance.

Sarah Flores

Director of Communications & Knowledge Transfer

Sarah Flores

Director of Communications & Knowledge Transfer

Sarah’s background represents both a breadth and depth of experience across a variety of communications disciplines in the for-profit and nonprofit sectors.

At The Lab, Sarah oversees external and internal communications, including a strategy for synthesizing, curating and sharing learnings from the Starting Smart and Strong communities and the development of new ways to extend the reach and impact of The Lab and its partners. Sarah also builds networks in order to share best practices and create opportunities for advancement in early learning.

Previously, Sarah oversaw national experiential marketing campaigns for some of Silicon Valley’s most well-known companies including Google, YouTube and Levi’s. More recently, she developed communications campaigns for clients including USAID/CodeREDD, The Trust for Public Land and the City of Phoenix on issues ranging from deforestation and land conservation to gender equality and human rights. She graduated from UC Berkeley with a double major in English Literature and Religious Studies.

Sarah is a San Francisco native and a third generation Californian. She maintains a regular meditation practice and has a ‘best of’ list of meditation apps she loves sharing with anyone interested.

Chris Sciarrino

Director of Early Childhood Practice and Innovation

Chris Sciarrino

Director of Early Childhood Practice and Innovation

Chris brings more than 40 years of early childhood field experience to The Lab. She works alongside three California communities to co-create and implement professional development for teachers, and is passionate about helping teachers see the impact of their own interactions with children.

With a long-standing track record in education, Chris’s experience includes translating research to practice, teaching young children, developing academic curricula, implementing innovative practices in curricula, assessment and continuous improvement. Her work has spanned the nonprofit and for-profit sectors at both the local and federal levels. Chris’s professional experience has been informed by her studies at Kent State where she earned a Masters in Child Development and Family Studies.

She has three daughters and three grandsons, and credits her family with grounding her work in a ‘real world’ context. She’s endlessly curious about how culture influences children and finds ways to explore this everywhere she goes – from the grocery store to her recent travels to China and everywhere in between.

Sheetal Singh

Director of Design and Innovation

Sheetal Singh

Director of Design and Innovation

Sheetal’s work at the Lab builds upon 15 years of experience in digital media and technology for social innovation.

At The Lab, Sheetal is working to advance early childhood learning by co-creating with communities to tap into their existing knowledge, and by using technology to scale impact. She oversees work with targeted local communities as they innovate, design and test a range of solutions that support skill building for teachers, parents and caregivers.

She collaborates with colleagues to synthesize learnings and transfer knowledge to the early childhood sector, including policy makers, funders and program implementers. She is also responsible for building partnerships to advance The Lab’s vision.

Prior to joining the Early Learning Lab, Sheetal developed digital media for parents to support their children’s education as the Director of Program Development at GreatSchools. As the Senior Director of Global Media at TechSoup Global, Sheetal advised the global nonprofit sector on the use of technology to accelerate impact. She holds a Masters Degree in Anthropology from the University of London with a focus on the use of technology in cross-cultural contexts.

She is the mother of two, and writes and performs music under the name Forest Bees.

Katy Wise

Director of Operations

Katy Wise

Director of Operations

Katy manages The Lab’s operations and Early Edge Initiative’s transition to The Lab. She ensures that business procedures are effective and efficient.

Katy has a background in working with state and federally funded community health programs with the Florida Department of Health. She found her passion in working in youth development after assisting several adolescent pregnancy prevention programs that targeted at-risk youth. She is a graduate of the University of South Florida, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in business management. She is a devoted aunt to a 6-year-old niece and 2.5-year-old nephew who live nearby in Oakland.

Katy enjoys exploring the outdoors with her partner, and is currently training to run her first 10K in November.