Dr. Michelle Salazar Pérez is the Velma E. Schmidt Endowed Chair for Early Childhood Education & Professor of Early Childhood Studies at the University of North Texas. She uses women of color feminisms to inform her community collaborations, research, and pedagogy. These perspectives not only critically orient her work, but they also foreground the urgency to re-envision the field to support culturally sustaining praxis and programs for minoritized young children.
Dr. Pérez’s past and current scholarship addresses early childhood policy reform, historical and contemporary constructions of childhood/s, teacher education, and critical qualitative methodologies. Her work has been published in Teachers College Record, Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, Equity & Excellence in Education, the Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, Qualitative Inquiry, and Review of Research in Education. She has co-edited several special issues and books, including The SAGE Handbook of Global Childhoods.
Dr. Pérez was the recipient of the 2020, AERA Mid-Career Award, from the Critical Examination of Race, Ethnicity, Class, and Gender in Education SIG. She was also the Host Chair of the 27th international Reconceptualizing Early Childhood Education (RECE) conference in 2019, and the Chair of the AERA Critical Perspectives on Early Childhood Education (CPECE) SIG in 2018.
Dr. Pérez earned her Ph.D. from Arizona State University and her master's and undergraduate degrees from Texas A&M University in College Station. Prior to her appointment at the University of North Texas, she was a tenured Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education at The University of Texas at Austin. She spent seven years at New Mexico State University, where she held the J. Paul Taylor Endowed Professorship, co-founded the Glass Family Research Institute for Early Childhood Studies, was Co-PI of a Head Start grant, and served as Interim Associate Dean for Research in the College of Education.
Forthcoming Publications +alphabetical listing of authorship
Shelby-Caffey, C., Abril-Gonzalez, P., & Pérez, M. S. (In press). Excavating the methodological terrains of life writing: How and why we engage in re-memberings of Black and Chicana/Latina lived experiences. In L. E. Bailey & K. Hinton (Eds.), Racial dimensions of life writing research. Information Age Publishing.
+Odim, N., +Rideaux, K. S., & Pérez, M. S. (In press). Womanist praxis in early childhood education and care: Educators’ nourishment of mind-body-spirit relations. In R. Langford & B. Richardson (Eds.), Feminisms and the early childhood educator subject: A critical conversation. Bloomsbury.
Ruiz Guerrero, M., & Pérez, M. S. (In press). Snack time: The “both/and” of an in-between praxis. In C. M. Myers, R. Hostler, K. Smith, & M. Tesar (Eds.), Every/day: Conceptualizing a mundane early childhood praxis. Routledge.
Pérez, M. S., Saavedra, C. M., Jones, N. N., & Abril-Gonzalez, P. (2022). Woman of color feminisms as a vehicle for racially-just methodologies in educational research. International Journal of Research & Method in Education, 45.
Yelland, N., Peters, L. E., Fairchild, N., Tesar, M., & Pérez, M. S. (Eds.). (2021). The Sage handbook of global childhoods. Sage.
Abril-Gonzalez, P., & Pérez, M. S. (2021). Pláticas on early childhood and bilingual education: Reckoning with the past to envision the future. In N. Yelland, L. E. Peters, N. Fairchild, M. Tesar, & M. S. Pérez (Eds.), The Sage handbook of global childhoods (pp. 111-124). Sage.
Díaz Bletrán, A., Abril-Gonzalez, P., Saavedra, C. M., & Pérez, M. S. (2021). Enlaces in reflections and (re)memberings as Latina border-crossers: Journeys of childhood and professional un/welcomings. Bank Street Occasional Papers, 45, 100-112.
Selected Publications (see scholarship page for a full list of publications) +alphabetical listing of authorship
+Pérez, M. S., & +Saavedra, C. M. (2020). Womanist and Chicana/Latina feminist methodologies: Contemplations on the spiritual dimensions of research. In C. Taylor, C. Hughes, & J. Ulmer (Eds.). Transdisciplinary feminist research: Innovations in theory, method, and practice (pp. 124-137). Routledge.
Pérez, M. S. (2019). Dismantling racialized discourses in early childhood education and care: A revolution towards reframing the field. In F. Nxumalo & C. P. Brown (Eds.), Disrupting and countering deficits in early childhood education (pp. 20-36). Routledge.
Pérez, M. S. (2018). What does the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) mean for early childhood education? A history of NCLB’s impact on early childhood education and insights for the future under ESSA. Teachers College Record, 120(13), 1-18.
Pérez, M. S., & Saavedra, C.M. (2017). A call for onto-epistemological diversity in early childhood education and care: Centering global south conceptualizations of childhood/s. Review of Research in Education, 41(1), 1-29.
Editorial Board Membership
Review of Educational Research
Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood
Early Childhood Research Quarterly
Journal of Childhood Studies
International Journal of Early Years Education
Advisory Board Membership
Straus Center for Young Children & Families, Bank Street, New York City
Appointments, Awards & Recognitions
Velma E. Schmidt Endowed Chair for Early Childhood Education, University of North Texas, 2022 to present
Mid-Career Award, American Educational Research Association, Critical Examination of Race, Ethnicity, Class, and Gender in Education SIG, Spring 2020
Host Chair, 27th International Reconceptualizing Early Childhood Education (RECE) Conference, Oct 31-Nov 5, 2019
Interim Associate Dean for Research, NMSU College of Education, Spring/Summer/Fall 2019
Co-Founder, Glass Family Research Institute for Early Childhood Studies, New Mexico State University, 2019
J.Paul Taylor Endowed Professorship, New Mexico State University, 2018-2022
Co-Authored Article Named Top Five in “Most Read Education Research Articles of 2017” for AERA’s Review of Research in Education. Pérez, M. S., & Saavedra, C.M. (2017). A call for onto-epistemological diversity in early childhood education and care: Centering global south conceptualizations of childhood/s. Review of Research in Education, 41(1), 1-29.
Elected SIG Chair (2017-2018) & Co-Program Chair (2015-2017), Critical Perspectives on Early Childhood Education, American Educational Research Association
Dean's Excellence in Research Faculty Award, College of Education, New Mexico State University, Fall 2015
Exceptional Achievement in Creative Scholarly Activity, Early Career Award, University Research Council, New Mexico State University, Fall 2014
Outstanding Dissertation Award, American Educational Research Association, Critical Perspectives on Early Childhood Education SIG, Spring 2011