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Stephen Backman

Project Director, Chief of Party


PhD, Curriculum, Teaching, and Education Policy, Michigan State University
BA, Anthropology, Brigham Young University

Stephen Backman has more than 20 years of experience leading projects and conducting research on education, language, and systems issues in developing countries. He has worked in Africa for more than 14 years and managed projects across Asia in various capacities, including senior management for nine large-scale U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) education projects.

Dr. Backman currently serves as Project Director for the USAID Improving Learning Outcomes for Asia (ILOA) project. Previously, for RTI, he served as the Program Manager for the USAID All Children Reading Asia (ACR-Asia) project and as the Chief of Party for multiple USAID projects, including the Tusome Pamoja (“Let’s Read Together”) project and the Arithmetic and Inclusive Education Activity, both in Tanzania, the Uganda School Health and Reading Program (SHRP), the Reading for Ethiopia’s Achievement Developed—Technical Assistance (READ TA) project, and the Malawi Early Grade Reading Activity. 

Dr. Backman specializes in early grade literacy, language policy, teacher education, curriculum development, systems strengthening, and capacity building and has substantial experience working directly with governments, development agencies, and research institutions to improve the quality of education in development contexts. He has presented and published in numerous professional forums on language, literacy, and education policy in Africa.

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