top of page


Principal Investigator, Professor of Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education          Faculty Profile

James Kim is an expert on literacy intervention and experimental design. His professional mission is to conduct a systematic program of policy relevant research in literacy that focuses on improving outcomes for low-income students and struggling readers. He leads the READS Lab (Research Enhances Adaptations Designed for Scale in Literacy), a research-based collaborative initiative to identify and scale adaptive solutions for improving children’s literacy learning opportunities and outcomes. As part of the Reach Every Reader (RER) Initiative, the READS Lab is partnering with practitioners in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) and researchers at the MIT Integrated Learning Initiative (MITili) and Florida State University to improve Kindergarten to Grade 3 reading outcomes. His current research priority is to understand how building children’s domain knowledge and reading engagement can foster long-term improvements in reading comprehension. He serves on the editorial boards of Reading Research Quarterly, the Journal of Educational Psychology, and the Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness. Prior to graduate school, he was a middle school U.S. history teacher.



Ethan Scherer is the director of the READS Lab. He leads the analytic design and execution for READS Lab's program evaluations and built its integrated data system. He has expertise in continuous improvement cycles, educational technology, family engagement, and social-emotional learning. As part of his work with CEPR, he also led the analytic design and execution for Proving Ground and Boston Charter Research Collaborative.  Prior to joining READS Lab and CEPR, Ethan completed a Ph.D. in policy analysis at the Pardee RAND Graduate School and worked on projects related to district reform, teacher effectiveness, and out-of-school time at RAND. Ethan holds an M.P.P in public policy from UCLA and B.A. in economics from Wesleyan University.

johanna profile II.jpg


Project Manager

Johanna came to the READS Lab from Harvard's Project Zero, where she worked as a Research Assistant on a national study on higher education in the 21st century. Her primary focus is issues of social mobility and equity in the field of education, and she has previously coordinated an educational program for immigrant women at the MiRA Centre in Norway, and worked as a teacher and coordinator of a study abroad program in San Francisco. She is the co-founder of the Migrant Alliance and Partnership Network in Boston, and holds an M.A. in International Studies from the University of San Francisco.

Ms B.png


Senior Learning Designer

Mary Burkhauser studies how teachers experience and participate with literacy reform efforts. She is particularly interested in the relationship between teachers' implementation experiences with literacy reform efforts and the scalability of these reforms. Before coming to Harvard, Mary was a middle-school English teacher in New York City and a research analyst at Child Trends. Mary earned her B.A. from Cornell University, her M.S.T. from Pace University and Ph.D. from Harvard.


Anna Slavin

Learning Designer​

Anna Slavin is a Learning Designer at READS Lab. She is passionate about equitable elementary literacy interventions, methods of student engagement, and teacher support systems. Prior to READS Lab, she was a K-4 classroom teacher for nearly a decade. She also taught and designed interdisciplinary curricula in museums, including the American Museum of Natural History and the de Young Museum. Anna holds an MS.Ed in Museum and Childhood Education from Bank Street College of Education, a B.A. from Vassar College, and a Massachusetts Teaching Certification for Grades K-6.



Benjamin is a Research Analyst at the READS Lab and the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University. His primary focus is evaluating the efficacy of literacy interventions using large administrative datasets. He holds a B.A. in Political Science and Social Policy Analysis from Rice University, where he specialized in program evaluation, implementation research, and data analysis.  

Doug Mosher.jpg


Research Assistant, Doctoral Candidate

Doug Mosher studies literacy interventions for elementary school students. His research examines the impact of vocabulary knowledge on reading comprehension outcomes as well as effective and meaningful ways to promote vocabulary acquisition and schema instantiation through instruction and classroom discussion. Prior to beginning his doctoral studies, Doug worked for Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools teaching first grade where he was recognized as a Blue Ribbon Teacher by the district and the Nashville Public Education Foundation. Before teaching, Doug worked as a session musician in Nashville and still occasionally plays at jazz festivals in the summer.



Research Assistant, Doctoral Candidate

Josh Gilbert is a senior researcher at the Harvard READS Lab and is a faculty member at New England Conservatory in the Music-in-Education Department. Josh’s prior research experience includes work with the Center for Music and the Arts in Education and Harvard Project Zero. Josh’s academic publications include articles in Arts Education Policy Review and AERA Open, and a chapter in Music Learning as Youth Development.



Research Assistant, Doctoral Candidate, EPPE

Thomas Kelley-Kemple focuses on examining school level determinants of policy implementation and effectiveness. He is primarily interested in understanding how schools use data to improve and support student success.



Research Assistant, Doctoral Candidate, HDLT

Alfatah's interests include the science of reading, interventions for struggling readers, and instructional and pedagogical guidance for teachers. As a PhD candidate, Alfatah focuses on the design of effective reading interventions for K-12 students. Alfatah brings a wealth of experience to research, having directly taught students as reading clinician and having led LEA and district-wide initiatives to deliver interventions at scale.

bottom of page