Professor of Practice and Founding Director of the Children’s Equity Project, Arizona State University
Shantel E. Meek is a professor of practice and the founding director of the Children’s Equity Project (CEP) in the T. Denny School for Social and Family Dynamics at Arizona State University. She manages a budget of over $1 million; oversees strategic partnerships with CEP partners at 17 universities and nonprofit organizations, policymakers, and national organizations; and sets the strategic vision and direction of the CEP. Shantel previously served as a consultant in early childhood policy and strategy at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington DC, where she advised senior staff on a range of federal and state equity and early childhood policy issues.
Prior to founding the CEP, Shantel served in the Obama Administration as a senior policy advisor for early childhood development at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and as a senior policy advisor for education in the Domestic Policy Council at the White House. During her time in the Obama Administration, Shantel advised senior officials at HHS and at The White House on a wide array of policy issues, including Head Start, child care, public Pre-K expansion, and promoting equity and reducing disparities across the early care and education system. She also worked on drafting official guidance related to Head Start and the Child Care and Development Block Grant and worked closely with states, communities, and stakeholders on implementation. Shantel also played a key role in President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative, leading the early childhood federal policy component of the initiative.
Earlier in her career, Shantel was a teacher in a toddler classroom and provided early intervention and school consultation services to support the development and full inclusion of children with disabilities. She has published peer-reviewed research and opinion pieces in the New York Times and the Washington Post. Shantel holds a BA in psychology and an MS and PhD in family and human development from Arizona State University. She is the granddaughter of Mexican immigrants, and her personal experiences as a Latina and first-generation college graduate from a small border town inform her work and contribute to her drive to improve the learning conditions of children from historically marginalized communities.