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 and New Mexico State University.
Recent Publications (see scholarship page for a full list of publications) +alphabetical listing of authorship
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.
Pérez, M.S., & Saavedra, C. M. (2020). Spiritual activism as a means for social transformation: Womanist and Chicana feminist possibilities. Equity and Excellence in Education, 53(3), 315-323.
Lucero, L., Araujo, B., & Pérez, M. S. (2020). Standardizing Latinx early childhood educators: (Un)intended consequences of policy reform to professionalize the workforce. Policy Futures in Education, 18(6), 725-738.
+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.
Rideaux, K., & Pérez, M. S. (2019). Countering color-blindness in early childhood education: Enactments of social justice education by Black women educators. In S.A. Kessler, & B.B. Swadener (Eds.), Educating for Social Justice in Early Childhood (pp. 20-33). 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.
Lee, I. F., & Pérez, M. S. (Eds). (2019). Special Issue for the International Critical Childhood Policy Studies Journal (ICCPSJ), Foggy Futures in Education: The Looming Storms of School Choice and Voucher Programs, 7(2).
Pérez, M. S. (2019). Children’s media as a conduit for “unbiased” news: Critical reflections on the coverage of Trump’s presidential campaign. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 20(4), 350-362.
Pérez, M. S., Kim, K., & Cahill, B. (2019). Myrna’s children’s village: Reflections on a dynamic early childhood lab school community in southern New Mexico. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 20(3), 294-308.
Osgood, J., Robinson, K., Jones Diaz, C., Andersen, C. E., Pérez, M. S., Gunn, A., & Surtees, N. (Eds.). (2019). Special Issue for the Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood (CIEC), Revisiting Diversity & Difference in Early Childhood through Children’s News Media, 20(4), Winter Issue.
Forthcoming +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.
Editorial and Advisory Board Membership
Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood
Early Childhood Research Quarterly
Journal of Childhood Studies
International Journal of Early Years Education
Straus Center for Young Children & Families, Bank Street, New York City
Appointments, Awards & Recognitions
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
Glass Family Research Institute for Early Childhood Studies
J.Paul Taylor Endowed Professorship, Fall 2018 to Spring 2020
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