Sherri Killins, Ed.D

Sherri Killins, Ed.D, is the Director of State Systems Alignment and Integration for the BUILD Initiative and an independent consultant. Her clients have included the BUILD Initiative, WK Kellogg Foundation, Ascend, the Campaign for Grade Level Reading, and Pearson Publishing. Dr. Killins is a former Commissioner of Early Education and Care for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Throughout her career, Dr. Killins has been committed to supporting families, both children and adults, through the use of workforce, housing, health and education strategies. Since, 2009 she has focused on developing state early childhood systems for children from birth to third grade. Her efforts seek to increase access for families and communities to high quality formal and informal opportunities in health, early learning and family support. She achieves this goal in part through working with state systems, school districts, communities, programs, educators, and families.

As Commissioner, she designed and implemented a statewide method to define, measure, and communicate quality, known as the Quality Rating and Improvement System, for early education and care as well as out of school time programs. The definition was supported by evidence in the literature and developed in partnership with the field. Dr. Killins saw four primary levers for transformation: educator quality, program quality, screening and assessment and community and family engagement. Despite difficult economic times, Dr. Killins redefined four statewide systems: mental health, educator and provider supports; community family engagement and information and referral to support the early educators, children and their families; and formal and informal early education and out of school time services. Under her leadership, Massachusetts secured the Race To The Top Early Learning Challenge to provide financial resources to accelerate the work already under way in Massachusetts. Dr. Killins is known for crossing organizational boundaries to create a child development lens on the work of informal organizations as well as within other state agencies including public health and housing.

Dr. Killins has worked as an advocate for children and families in a variety of ways for more than 25 years, both as a provider of direct care and in leadership roles on issues relating to children and families. From 2006 to 2009, Dr. Killins worked at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, an organization that promotes “public policies, human service reforms, and community supports that more effectively meet the needs of today’s vulnerable children and families.” She held several roles in the Foundation. Her final position was serving as Vice President for Human Development and Operations. Prior to her work with the foundation, she served as the founding President/CEO of the New Haven Empowerment Zone, was a mayoral candidate in New Haven, Connecticut, and led operations and programs for both the Empowerment Zone Corporation and the Family Preservation Initiative of Baltimore. Dr. Killins holds a nursing degree from the University of Pittsburgh, a master’s of administrative science from Johns Hopkins University, and a doctorate in counseling psychology from the University of Sarasota.

Dr. Killins has served on a variety of boards including the New Haven Housing Authority, New Haven Regional Workforce Board and Connecticut Trails Girl Scouts. She was appointed to the Regional Advisory Committee under the U.S. Department of Education and to the MA Commission on Postpartum Depression.

Most recently, she was appointed to the Boston Children’s Museum Board of Advisors. Dr. Killins has been recognized by several organizations, examples include: the Massachusetts Reading Association Legislative Award for her leadership in promoting early childhood literacy and Horizons for Homeless Children Public Leadership Award.

Dr. Killins resides in New Haven, Connecticut and is the mother of three daughters.