Iheoma U. Iruka, PhD

Former Chief Research Innovation Officer and Director of the Center for Early Education Research & Evaluation at HighScope

Dr. Iheoma U. Iruka is the former Chief Research Innovation Officer and Director of the Center for Early Education Research and Evaluation (CEERE) at HighScope Educational Research Foundation. In this role, Dr. Iruka led research strategy to drive innovation in the field of early childhood education. As director of the CEERE, Dr. Iruka focused on research that advances the knowledge base on key factors that address opportunity gaps; and examines HighScope’s curriculum, assessments, and implementations to improve outcomes for children, families, and communities. She left HighScope in the fall of 2020.

Prior to joining HighScope, Dr. Iruka was the Director of Research and Evaluation at the Buffett Early Childhood Institute at the University of Nebraska. She previously held the role of Associate Director at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Iruka’s research is centered on determining how early experiences impact poor and ethnic minority children’s learning and development, and the role of the family and education environments and systems.

Dr. Iruka earned a PhD in applied developmental psychology from the University of Miami. She holds an MA in psychology from Boston University and a BA in psychology from Temple University. She is a current member of several national boards and committees, including Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) and National Black Child Development Institute (NCBDI).

View full CV here.

  • 2018–Present | Foundation for Child Development | Urban Resiliency Initiative
  • 2017–Present | Buffett Early Childhood Fund | National Evaluation Partner for the Educare Learning Network Implementation Study. (Co-Investigator).
  • 2016–2021 | U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences (R305N160016) | Early Learning Context in Rural and Urban Nebraska. (Co-Principal Investigator)
  • Iruka, I. U., Jones Harden, B. P., Bingham, G., Esteraich, J., & Green, S. (2018). Profiles of parenting for low-income families and links to children’s preschool outcomes. Early Education and Development, 1-25. doi:10.1080/10409289.2018.1440843
  • Iruka, I. U., Brown, D., Jerald, J., & Blitch, K. (2018). Early Steps to School Success (ESSS): Examining pathways linking home visiting and language outcomes. Child & Youth Care Forum, 47(2), 283-301. doi:10.1007/s10566-017-9430-1
  • Iruka, I. U., De Marco, A., & Garrett-Peters, P. (2018). Profiles of academic/socioemotional competence: Associations with parenting, home, child care, and neighborhood. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 54, 1-11. doi:10.1016/j.appdev.2017.11.002
  • Iruka, I. U., Curenton, S. M., Durden, T. (Eds.) (2017). African American Children in Early Childhood Education: Making the Case for Policy Investments in Families, Schools, and Communities. Bingley, UK: Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
  • Iruka, I. U. (March 2018). The Invisible One: The Learning and Development of Young Black Girls Presentation at Minority Child Series, Michigan State University. Lansing, MI.
  • Iruka, I. U. (March 2018). Solidifying Our Villages: Addressing Opportunity and Achievement Gaps Through an Equity Lens. Keynote for Southern Early Childhood Association Conference. Lexington, Kentucky.
  • Iruka, I. U. (December 2017). Family Support & Engagement: Vehicle for Addressing Intergeneration Poverty. Presentation at Boston University, School of Education Symposium. Boston, MA.
  • Winn, D-M., & Iruka, I. U. (December 2017). Supporting Parents of Young Black Children: Utilization of PACC. Presentation at NHSA Parent and Family Engagement Conference, Austin, TX.