Sharon Ritchie has participated in the field of education for over 35 years, making contributions as a teacher, program director, teacher educator, and researcher. She has taught all ages from 3-year-olds to graduate students and has worked in special, regular, and gifted education. She has played multiple roles in work with elementary schools, and public and private early childhood programs at local, state, and national levels. Ritchie was on the UCLA faculty preparing elementary educators for 11 years, coordinated the accreditation study for NAEYC, and cowrote the new Self-Study Materials. She played multiple roles in national studies examining children in early learning settings, including NCEDL and LAExCELS. She currently serves as the director of FirstSchool at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.