Spotlight Dr. Maurice McInerney

Maurice McInerney If you spend just a few minutes with Maury McInerney, two things will be clear. First, he passionately believes in the importance of translating the theoretical to the practical. Second, he is passionate about being someone who does this on a grand scale.

Maury gives a stirring plea: “There are millions of children struggling to learn in the world. Somewhere, there is a student who is struggling right now, and somewhere else, there is a student with very similar needs who is not struggling, and we have to explain that conundrum.”

Maury is a researcher, an almost-lawyer, a policy influencer, a basketball enthusiast, and a family man. He has had one wife and two jobs since 1975, and it may have been one job had his kids lived closer to Wisconsin.

Maury’s father was a lawyer, and his son is currently in law school at the University of Michigan. In his early days of undergrad at Tulane University, Maury thought he would be a lawyer, too. He double majored in political science and English and minored in history with plans of attending law school. That all changed with the influence of an instructor at Tulane. Maury fondly remembers Professor Buchannon as the man who was not only his Latin teacher, but also someone who inspired him to be a teacher. Professor Buchannon gave Maury the opportunity to teach an adult literacy class for Tulane support staff. Maury claims that once he “caught the teaching bug,” there was no possibility he could do anything else.

After graduation, Maury started working at Capital Head Start, one of the first Head Start programs in Washington, DC. He then received his teaching credentials at George Washington University and taught in DC at Bruce-Monroe Elementary School. Several years later, he decided to get his PhD at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. During his graduate work, he began wrestling with the question that has come to define much of his professional career: “How can we take what we know from research and put it into practice?” He has spent his life attempting to answer that question.

After working for several years at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Maury and his wife moved back to DC to be closer to family. This was when he began working at the American Institutes for Research (AIR). During his tenure at AIR, Maury has been involved with many Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) technical assistance (TA) centers, but he feels especially excited to collaborate with the CEEDAR Center. He believes CEEDAR is unique because it looks at teacher preparation at the state level instead of just at university or local education agency levels. This will afford large-scale opportunities for change.

When he is not in the office, Maury loves to talk basketball. He has a yearly tradition of taking his son to a basketball tournament. They have gone to the Big Ten tournament a couple of times and to the ACC tournament. However, we cannot completely consider him a CEEDAR staff member until he goes to at least one Florida Gators basketball game. What do you say, Maury? See you at the SEC tournament in a couple of weeks?