Mavis Sanders

Senior Research Scholar of Black Children and Families

Research Focus

Areas of Expertise

Racial Equity, Education, Youth Development

Education & certification

PhD: Social Sciences, Policy, and Educational Practice, Stanford University, MA: Sociology, Stanford University, BA: Urban Affairs with Secondary Education Certification in Social Studies, Barnard College/Columbia University

Mavis Sanders

Senior Research Scholar of Black Children and Families, Bethesda, MD

Mavis Sanders, senior research scholar of Black children and families at Child Trends, leads an applied research agenda that advances racial equity and social justice. Before joining Child Trends in 2021, Dr. Sanders served as a professor of education and affiliate professor in the doctoral program in language, literacy, and culture at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). She also served as the inaugural director of UMBC’s Sherman Center for Early Learning in Urban Communities from 2017 to 2021, working closely with families, educators, and community partners to develop best practices for early childhood education in urban contexts.

Prior to her tenure at UMBC, Dr. Sanders was a researcher and faculty member at Johns Hopkins University, where she served as a research scientist at the federally funded Center for Research on the Education of Students Placed at Risk, the founding director of the Leadership for School, Family, and Community Collaboration (now Urban Education) graduate certificate program, and an assistant director of the National Network of Partnership Schools.

Dr. Sanders is committed to improving the life trajectories of children and youth through research on school, family, and community partnerships. She has authored over 60 publications, including five books, on family and community engagement in schools and the effects of home, school, and community collaboration on African American students’ school success. As the co-editor of Reviewing the Success of Full-Service Community Schools in the US: Challenges and Opportunities for Students, Teachers, and Communities (with Claudia Galindo, Routledge, 2020), she also examines full-service community schools—characterized by integrated services, family and community engagement, collaborative leadership, and culturally and community-responsive teaching—as a strategy to transform learning experiences and opportunities for underserved students. As an extension of her internationally recognized research, Dr. Sanders works closely with educational leaders and policymakers to promote collaborative approaches to school improvement and child and family well-being. She is also a former social studies teacher and Peace Corps Volunteer (Papua New Guinea 1987-1989).