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Vice President, Research, Monitoring, and Evaluation Capability

Diane Paulsell is an applied social scientist with more than 20 years of experience designing, conducting, and overseeing mixed-methods policy-focused research, including national multi-site studies. She has also led rapid cycle learning and program improvement efforts with a variety of human services programs and a foundation-funded research program to advance equitable access to family supportive services. Her areas of expertise range from early care and education to parenting, family engagement, youth development and family supportive policies and programs, including nutrition.

As vice president and portfolio lead, Paulsell leads business development and supports high-quality project execution across the Social and Economic Policy Division. Additionally, she supervises and supports staff recruitment, ensuring the hiring process reflects commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Paulsell comes to Abt from Mathematica, where she led research and evaluation projects for federal, international, and foundation clients and played a lead role in staff development and recruitment and business development. She also advised decision makers (foundations, federal, state and local leaders and program managers) on the use of evidence to improve early childhood and family support programs and systems. She co-created program logic models and theory of change frameworks with funders and stakeholders to guide program improvement and research and evaluation planning.

Prior to her 20-plus-year career at Mathematica, Paulsell’s work focused on refugees in the United States.


  • Research, evaluation, and policy analysis
  • Rapid cycle learning and program improvement
  • Implementation science and program quality measurement
  • System change evaluation
  • Equitable evaluation

Key Projects

  • Project Director, Home-Based Child Care Supply and Quality
  • Project Director, Strengthening Implementation of Marriage and Relationship Programs
  • Project Director, Formative Evaluation of Detroit’s Early Childhood Cohort
  • Project Director, Building an Equity-Focused Research Agenda for Supporting Low-Income Families with Young Children
  • Project Director, Head Start Innovation Fund Evaluation


  • Tonyan, Holli A., Diane Paulsell, and Eva Marie Shivers. “Introduction to the Special Issue: Understanding and Incorporating Home-Based Child Care into Early Education and Development Systems.” Early Education and Development, published online May 25, 2017. doi:10.1080/10409289.2017.1324243.
  • Paulsell, D., J. Thomas, S. Monahan, and H. Seftor. “A Trusted Source of Information: How Systematic Reviews Can Support User Decisions about Adopting Evidence-Based Programs.” Evaluation Review, vol. 41, no. 1, 2017, pp. 50-77.
  • Boller, K., D. Paulsell, P. Del Grosso, R. Blair, D.Z. Kassow, R. Kim, and A. Raikes. “Impacts of a Child Care Quality Rating and Improvement System Focused on Coaching on Child Care Quality.” Early Childhood Research Quarterly, vol. 30, Part B, 2015, pp. 306-315.
  • Paulsell, Diane, Patricia Del Grosso, and Lauren Supplee. “Supporting Replication and Scale-Up of Evidence-Based Programs: Assessing the Implementation Knowledge Base.” American Journal of Public Health, vol. 104, no. 9, 2014, pp. 1624-1632.
  • Hargreaves, Margaret, Russell Cole, Brandon Coffee-Borden, Diane Paulsell, and Kimberly Boller. “Evaluating Infrastructure Development in Complex Home Visiting Systems.” American Journal of Evaluation, vol. 34, no. 2, 2013, pp. 147-169.
Diane Paulsell, Vice President and Portfolio Lead, Social and Economic Policy