COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
UMBC campuses are closed, but courses are now online and employees are working remotely.
Skip to Main Content


Mavis G. Sanders, Director

Mavis G. Sanders, PhD in education from Stanford University is professor of education and affiliate professor for the doctoral program in language, literacy, and culture at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). In July 2017, she was appointed inaugural director of UMBC’s Sherman Center for Early Learning in Urban Communities, a multidisciplinary center focused on improving the educational experiences and outcomes of young children in Baltimore City.

Throughout her career, Dr. Sanders’ research and teaching have focused on the processes and
outcomes of school, family, and community collaboration. She has authored over 60 publications
on how schools and districts develop and scale up their partnership programs; the effects of
home, school, and community collaboration on African-American adolescents’ school success;
and how community engagement can improve educational experiences and outcomes for
students in US public schools and out-of-school time programs. Her current research examines
the role of principal and teacher leadership in restructuring learning opportunities for low-income
students through full-service community schools.

Dr. Sanders also works closely with educational leaders to promote a collaborative approach to
school improvement, especially in urban centers. In this capacity, she has served on several local,
state, and national advisory councils as an expert on family and community engagement in


Jennifer Mata-McMahon, Associate Professor of Education & Sherman Center Research Faculty

Jennifer Mata-McMahon is an Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education at UMBC. Dr. Mata-McMahon graduated from Universidad Metropolitana in Caracas, Venezuela with a BA in Early Childhood Education with emphasis in Educational Leadership and Administration. She received her MA, EdM, and EdD from Teachers College, Columbia University. Her graduate work was also in the field of Early Childhood Education with an emphasis in Bilingual/Bicultural Education. Since 1995, Dr. Mata-McMahon has been an infant, toddler, preschool, and kindergarten teacher, as well as taught in middle school, undergraduate and graduate levels, both in the US and abroad. Dr. Mata-McMahon has also offered ample professional development to teachers and professors in public and private settings, as well as conducted program evaluations for non-profit educational organizations in India, New York, and Illinois. She is the coauthor of Ambiente en Acción (Environment in Action) (2006), author of Spiritual Experiences in Early Childhood Education (2015), and coeditor of Spirituality: An Interdisciplinary View (2016), as well as the author and coauthor of several book chapters and journal articles. In addition to her professional responsibilities in the education department’s early childhood program, Dr. Mata-Mahon conducts school-based research and provide professional development to early childhood educators through her joint-appointment with the Sherman Center.


Melissa Bailey, Program Coordinator

Melissa Bailey is Program Coordinator for the Sherman Center.  She received her BS in Health Science/Forensic Science at Beth-El College of Nursing & Health Sciences at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.  Before joining the Sherman Center, she was employed as an adjunct professor and program coordinator for the Center for Alternative and Supported Education (CASE) at the Community College of Baltimore County at Catonsville Campus. She has an extensive record of volunteerism in Baltimore, Maryland and has worked with a diverse population of students in the city, with notable experience working with students with exceptionalities.


Louise Corwin, Visiting Executive-in-Residence

Louise Joel Corwin was Executive Director of Ready At Five for 16 years until she retired in 2017.  Under Louise’s leadership, Ready At Five became a dynamic statewide non-profit program focused on elevating the discussion, practice and quality of early childhood education in Maryland so that all children will be ready for school.

Prior to joining Ready At Five, Louise was Chief of Early Childhood Partnerships in the Maryland Governor’s Office for Children, Youth and Families.  Prior to joining the Governor’s Office, she was Coordinator of the Office for Children in Baltimore County. Preceding her move to Maryland, Louise designed and implemented a community education program in Westchester County, New York.

Louise holds a BS in Government and Political Science, and a Masters in Education for At-Risk Children. She is a past Board member of the Abilities Network and serves on numerous state and local committees and councils charged with using data to drive policies to support young children and their families.  In her current position with the Sherman Center she will spearhead the development of the Maryland Early Childhood Leadership Program (MECLP).


Laurel Burggraf Bassett, Graduate Assistant for the Sherman Center

Laurel Burggraf Bassett, Graduate Assistant for the Sherman Center,  works with Dr. Mata-McMahon on the Dual Language Program research study at Lakeland Elementary/Middle School and Visiting Executive in Residence, Louise Corwin, on the implementation of MECLP (Maryland Early Childhood Leadership Program).  She has a BFA in Acting from Otterbein University, an MA in Humanities from Towson University, and is now a doctoral student in the Language, Literacy and Culture program at UMBC, specializing in eighteenth century literacy. Prior to beginning her doctoral studies, Bassett taught theater for 13 years at St. Paul’s School for Boys. In addition to her work at the Sherman Center, she currently serves as an Education Coordinator for the Every Kid in a Park program through Baltimore Heritage Area and the National Park Service.