Sarika S. Gupta

Sarika S. Gupta
Assistant Professor, Special Education & Disability Studies
(202) 994-8108

Sarika S. Gupta, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Special Education and Disabilities Studies who advises and teaches graduate students in the Early Childhood Special Education Program. She holds a doctoral degree in special education from the University of Maryland at College Park and completed postdoctoral training in early childhood special education leadership at the University of Colorado Denver. She is currently serving as an Associate Editor for Young Exceptional Children.

Dr. Gupta began her career as an early childhood teacher 18 years ago, but learned quickly that she did not know how to teach children with special needs. She pursued graduate training to learn how to individualize instruction within various early childhood approaches (e.g., the Project Approach, Reggio Emilia), and subsequently sought professional experiences in each level of the early childhood system to learn how the field supports teachers (e.g., federal grants, state initiatives, coaching). Her teaching experiences include teaching young children (ages 0-5) with and without disabilities in regular and inclusive settings, coaching Head Start teachers, and preparing pre-service teachers in early childhood special education programs across several institutions of higher education.

Dr. Gupta’s research and practice focuses on the implementation of preschool inclusion. Studying systems-levels issues that can facilitate or impede the implementation of early childhood programs was a recent focus of her work at the Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland at College Park, where she facilitated the statewide implementation of the Maryland Preschool Child Outcomes Summary (COS) Process and managed the Evaluation of the Efficacy of Maryland’s Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Grant and the Study of the Birth to Five Service Delivery Models in Maryland. With a better understanding of the barriers to implementation, she is further interested in investigating relations between administrators’ leadership behaviors, teacher well-being, and children’s social-emotional outcomes in inclusive preschool classrooms.

Aside from her work, Dr. Gupta practices Iyengar yoga and enjoys writing picture books for her family. She and her husband, Nitin, have lived in the DC area for over 10 years.

Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Colorado Denver
Ph.D., University of Maryland at College Park
M.Ed., University of Maryland at College Park
B.S., University of Maryland at College Park


Gupta, S. S., & Rous, B. (2016). Understanding change and implementation: How leaders can support inclusion. Young Children, 71(2), 82-91.

Tirrell-Corbin, C., Sweet, S., Gupta, S., & Lieber, J. (2016). Evaluation of the birth to five service delivery models in Maryland – Phase 1. College Park: University of Maryland Center for Early Childhood Education and Intervention.

Tirrell-Corbin, C., Lieber, J., Cummings, K., Jones Harden, B., Klein, E., Silverman, R., & Gupta, S. (2016). Evaluation of the efficacy of Maryland’s Race to the Top—Early learning challenge grant. College Park: University of Maryland, Center for Early Childhood Education and Intervention.

Ruggiero, T., Gupta, S., Nicholas, A., & Mauzy, D. (2016). State spotlight on data use. Maryland: Establishing partnerships to build data use capacity. Menlo Park, CA: SRI International. Available from

LaRocco, D. J., Sopko, K. M., Bruns, D. A., & Gupta, S. S. (2014). Voices from the field: A national early childhood special education leadership summit. Young Exceptional Children, 17(4), 28-31.

Gupta, S. S., Henninger, W. R., & Vinh, M. (2014). First steps to preschool inclusion: How to jumpstart your program-wide plan. Baltimore, MD: Brookes Publishing.

LaRocco, D. J., Bruns, D. A., Gupta, S. S., & Sopko, K. M. (2014). National early childhood special education leadership summit: Final report February 2014. Available from

Gupta, S. S., & Daniels, J. (2012). Coaching and professional development in early childhood classrooms: Current practices and recommendations for the future. NHSA Dialog, 15(2), 206-220.

Lieber, J., Butera, G., Hanson, M., Palmer, S., Horn, E., Czaja, C., Diamond, K., Goodman-Jansen, G., Daniels, J., Gupta, S., & Odom, S. (2009). Factors that influence the implementation of a new preschool curriculum: Implications for professional development. Early Education and Development, 20(3), 456-481.

In the News

Dr. Sarika S. Gupta presented a keynote titled “Inclusion in Preschool: Critical First Steps” at the Early Childhood Inclusion Institute in New York. The event was coordinated by the Early Childhood Direction Center and the Special Education Parent Center and held at the Westchester Institute for Human Development, a University Center of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities. In addition, Dr. Gupta's research proposal - Examining Relations Among Teacher Well-Being, Inclusive Practice, and Children's Social-Emotional Outcomes - was accepted for inclusion in the Division for Early Childhood of the Council for Exceptional Children's Annual Conference on Young Children with Disabilities and their Families, to be held in October 2018. The theme of the conference will be Transforming Imagination into Innovation: Impacting Outcomes for Young Children, Families, and Professionals.

Dr. Sarika Gupta's poster, "Relations of Teacher Well-Being and Inclusive Practice to Preschoolers’ Social-Emotional Outcomes: A Sequential Mixed-Methods Study," was accepted for inclusion in the Administration for Children and Families' 2018 National Research Conference on Early Childhood (NRCEC).

Content from Dr. Sarika Gupta's book, First steps to preschool inclusion: How to jumpstart your program-wide plan, has been sourced in a new app called Learn & Play Tip-a-Day, put out by Brooks Publishing. The app, which is available for free download on iTunes and Google Play, provides daily tips to promote the growth and development of young children. (If you download the app, the post from January 8, 2018 shows an example of how the app will feature her work.)