Lisa Grant, Ed.D.

Founder and Executive Director

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Lisa is the Founder and Executive Director of Early Childhood by Design. Through her leadership and consultative roles, she has helped create, grow, and support some of the top early childhood programs in the country. With almost twenty years of experience in early childhood leadership, Lisa has served as a director, faculty member, executive, and consultant; serving such organizations as The YMCA, Waypoint Services for Women, Children, and Families, The National Association for the Education of Young Children, The Office of Head Start, Mile High Early Learning, and many others.

Lisa is a graduate of The Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor of Science in Human Development & Family Studies. She has earned a Master of Arts in Human Development; specializing in Leadership in Education from Pacific Oaks College. Lisa has also earned a Doctorate of Education in Leadership for Educational Equity at the University of Colorado Denver with a concentration in Executive Leadership.

Lisa has a passion for creating high quality early learning environments that are accessible to all children and families. Research has clearly shown that learning environments (the physical space and materials accessible, the teachers who facilitate learning within that space, and the program structures that support that learning) have a direct impact on child outcomes. Designing these facets with intentionality and the learning sciences in mind yields enormous benefits for children, families, and educators.

Lisa lives in Natick, MA with her husband and three children where they enjoy traveling, sports, and movies!

Mikayla Martinez, Ed.D.

Principal Associate, Program Design & Evaluation

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Mikayla Martinez is a seasoned professional in the field of early childhood education, boasting over 18 years of experience. Born and raised in Denver, CO, Mikayla has dedicated her career to nurturing and enriching the lives of young learners. She currently holds a full-time faculty position at Front Range Community College after having taught part-time at the institution since 2018.

Mikayla’s expertise spans across various age groups, from infants to school-age children, and she has fulfilled numerous roles within the early education field, including teacher, program director, administrator, and education coach. Her educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts degree in Human Development and Family Studies, with a minor in Early Childhood Education, from Metropolitan State University. She furthered her academic pursuits by attaining a Master of Arts degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Colorado at Denver. Recently, Mikayla completed her Doctorate in Leadership for Educational Equality at the University of Colorado at Denver, focusing on Professional Learning and Technology.

With a profound passion for early child teacher preparation and professional development for early childhood educators, Mikayla brings a wealth of knowledge and hands-on experience to her work. Her areas of interest also extend to exploring early childhood teacher motivation and mindsets, aiming to enhance the quality and impact of early education.

Mikayla lives in Denver, CO with her husband and two sons. They enjoy traveling and family game nights.

Tess Wood, MA

Senior Associate, Educator & Leader Development

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Tess Wood’s passion for teaching has been ingrained in her since early childhood. With an academic background that includes a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education, complemented by minors in Special Education and Business Administration from University of Wisconsin-Stout, as well as a Master of Arts in Human Growth and Development, Educational Leadership, from the University of Colorado, Denver, Tess has consistently demonstrated her commitment to the field.

Tess began her career as a Head Start inclusive preschool teacher in Southwest Denver, partnering with families, special educators and internship mentees to provide developmentally appropriate, responsive curriculum. She subsequently assumed the role of education coach to further spread her reach of support, finally joining the leadership team as Director of Initiatives. In this capacity, she engaged in innovative professional development and locally constructed curricular design.

Driven by her passion for playfully ambitious leadership and emergent curriculum development, Tess eventually assumed the position of Executive Director of a community program. Leading a team of courageous early childhood educators, she further honed her skills in program administration, observation and feedback, data collection, and research analysis.

Beyond her professional pursuits, Tess enjoys experimenting with new recipes, practicing yoga, and most recently, she has taken up home renovation. Alongside her husband, Tess purchased an old home in central Wisconsin, bringing them closer to family and the joys of lake life. 


Early Childhood by Design partners with key consultants (project specific) to provide additional supports in the areas of design, professional development, and program quality.

Now Accepting Proposal Submissions!