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Katherine Merseth

Katherine Merseth King

Director, Early Childhood Development


MA, International Education Policy, Harvard University
BA, Latin American Studies, George Washington University


Katherine Merseth King leads the International Development Group’s practice in Early Childhood Development (ECD). She designs and oversees implementation of programs, conducts research, and sets the strategic vision for RTI’s work in the field of international early childhood development.

RTI strives to improve children’s well-being and developmental outcomes in low- and middle-income countries. We specialize in Nurturing Care programs, child development assessments, longitudinal research on children and families, and curriculum development and technical support for teaching and learning in pre-primary education. We design and implement ECD programs based on global evidence on what works for whom and why. We also facilitate policy dialogue with governments seeking to increase access to high-quality early childhood development service and pre-primary education at national scale.

Ms. Merseth King joined RTI in 2015. She has worked for several international development organizations, including Save the Children US, Creative Associates International, and Winrock International. As deputy chief of party for the USAID-funded Education Reform Support Program in Jordan, she managed initiatives on early childhood education, monitoring and evaluation, and youth employability. She is a member of the Executive Committee of the Thrive Coalition (2021) and previously served as co-chair of the Basic Education Coalition ECD Working Group (2014-2019) and the Comparative International Education Society’s Early Childhood Education Special Interest Group (2017-2020). “Stumbling at the First Step,” an article about pre-primary education that Ms. Merseth King wrote with Luis Crouch, was selected for the 2018 Change the World collection by publisher Springer Nature. In 2020, she received an RTI President’s Award for outstanding contribution to the Institute.

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