About Me

Hi and welcome! My name is Kelsey Clayback, and I am currently a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Virginia, under the mentorship of Dr. Amanda Williford. I work at the Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning (CASTL) on several research projects related to early childhood education.

Through my research, I seek to partner with policymakers and practitioners to improve early childhood education. In particular, my research centers around understanding ways to equitably promote young children’s social and emotional development and prevent challenging behavior. I am also interested in early childhood educator well-being, beliefs, and bias with the goal of determining how to better support educators to facilitate positive outcomes for themselves and their students. In my free time, I love to read, travel, see live music, watch reality TV, and foster kittens with the SPCA.

I earned my Ph.D. in Educational Psychology: Applied Developmental Science (EP-ADS) from the University of Virginia in May 2023. During my doctoral studies, I was also a Dean’s Fellow, Institute of Education Sciences (IES) pre-doctoral affiliate fellow, and National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations (NCPMI) fellow. Prior to beginning my doctoral studies, I earned my B.A. in Psychology from the University of Dayton and my M.Ed. in Clinical and Developmental Research from Vanderbilt University. At UD, I worked on research examining executive function, math skills, and classroom quality in preschool settings. At Vanderbilt, I worked on a variety of projects involving social and emotional development, early math development, and depression prevention. During my master’s, I also conducted independent research on teacher well-being, support, and discipline practices in early childhood education.