Susan Muenchow is a principal researcher at AIR. She has experience in research and technical assistance in the area of child development, with a special focus on state and local initiatives related to early learning and care.
Muenchow's recent work includes co-authoring the Condition of Children Birth to Age Five and Status of Early Childhood Services in California: Synthesis of Recent Research for the California Department of Education. The report is being used to help inform the development of the state’s Comprehensive Early Learning Plan for the federal government. In addition, she served as co-lead writer for the Dream BIG for Our Youngest Children, the California Early Learning Quality Improvement System (CAEL QIS) Advisory Committee’s Final Report to the Governor and Legislature. This work involved analyzing access to early learning and care programs, standards for program quality, affordability of services, current issues and strengths in early learning and care staff education, and the status of the state's early learning and care subsidy policies. She also co-authored the CAEL QIS Committee’s Infant/Toddler Early Learning and Care Needs Assessment Report.
With support from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Muenchow served as project director for a supply and demand assessment of early learning and care services for children birth to five. On behalf of First 5 California, Muenchow conceived, developed, and served as the lead author of the First 5 California Preschool for All: Step by Step Toolkit, a guide specifically designed to focus on county leadership in preschool planning. She has also provided individualized technical assistance to several county offices of education and local First 5 commissions in the development of preschool plans and related demonstration grant activities. In her prior work as executive director of the Florida Children’s Forum, Muenchow helped develop one of the nation’s first tiered reimbursement systems for child care.