Katherine Merseth King

Director, Early Childhood Development

Katherine Merseth


  • MA, International Education Policy, Harvard University
  • BA, Latin American Studies, George Washington University
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Katherine Merseth King leads the International Development Group’s practice in Early Childhood Development (ECD). She designs programs, builds institutional partnerships, and sets the long-term strategic vision for RTI’s work in the field of international early childhood development.

This new practice area strives to improve children’s developmental outcomes and school readiness in low- and middle-income countries. We specialize in child development assessment, longitudinal research on the impact of pre-primary education, and curriculum development and technical support for teaching and learning. We conduct research on parents’ attitudes and decision-making about their children’s early education. We also facilitate policy dialogue with governments seeking to increase access to high-quality early childhood programs 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 American Educational Research Association, the Comparative International Education Society, the National Association for the Education of Young Children, and the Society for Research in Child Development. She also serves as co-chair of the Basic Education Coalition ECD Working Group and the Comparative International Education Society’s Early Childhood Education Special Interest Group. “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.

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