Ashley Simpson Baird is the founder and principal of Merit Research, Policy and Evaluation where she provides customized, equity-focused solutions to schools and educational organizations. She is a skilled mixed-methods researcher with expertise in English learners, language development, and family engagement. Prior to starting her own company, she was a Senior Researcher at the American Institutes for Research. She is a former English Learner and bilingual education teacher. In 2021 she was elected to serve as a member of her local School Board. She holds degrees from the Pennsylvania State University (B.A.), the School for International Training (M.A.T.), and the University of Virginia (Ph.D.). She began her career as a Peace Corps volunteer in Bolivia and is bilingual in English and Spanish. She lives in Alexandria, Virginia with her husband and three children.