Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership
Dr. Karen L. Kelly received her doctoral degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Denver in 1995 and most recently worked as a Senior Manager for Early Childhood and Primary Programs with the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) based in France and Dubai. During that time, she served as the Director of the Aga Khan Early Learning Centre (AKELC), a preschool and demonstration center in Dubai. Her role included global professional development for early childhood leadership, program development for 0-8 and quality assurance for early childhood programs in ten AKDN countries (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, India, Syria, Bangladesh, the UAE, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania).
Dr. Kelly’s international work began with a 1999-2000 Fulbright award to Cyprus, where she developed an Early Literacy Baseline Assessment (ELBA) for use by teachers. From 2007-2010 she served as the national Early Years Specialist for the Supreme Education Council in Doha, Qatar. Prior to working in Qatar, Dr. Kelly was an Associate Dean at Walden University from 2005-2006 and facilitated program development to obtain approval for teacher preparation programs in ECE and SPED. Her work at Walden included Contributing faculty assignments in the College of Education from 2004-2014 and again from 2017 to present.
A passion for teacher education is a primary focus for Dr. Kelly, and she has served as Education Faculty at the Adams State University in Colorado and at the University of Montana in Missoula. Her expertise has been further enhanced by her work at the Colorado Department of Education as a Senior Consultant in the Professional Educator Preparation unit, where she evaluated teacher preparation programs in Colorado colleges and universities.
Dr. Kelly’s early career was in the public schools as a speech/language pathologist, a K-1 teacher and as a provider of professional development for teachers. Current research interests include entry-level professional development for early childhood educators and leaders in economically challenged settings.