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Lekha Venkataraman

Pronouns: She/Her

Senior Research Director
Lekha has over 20 years of experience in survey research.

Lekha is a senior research director in the Bridge at NORC. Her primary areas of expertise are in the design and management of both in-person and web-based studies. She has extensive experience working in early education and school based projects, including questionnaire design, recruitment, training, IT systems development, data collection management and data delivery.

She currently serves as a senior task lead on the 2024 National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE), sponsored by the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation in the Administration for Children and Families. The 2024 NSECE is a large-scale, mixed mode data collection effort, which builds on findings from the 2012 and 2019 NSECE, to allow for comparisons of supply and demand of child care and early education over the 12 years that span data collection. In addition, she leads numerous smaller data collection projects,  such as the Brilliant Baby survey, Getting on Track, and the Kindergarten Readiness Indicator. Lekha also serves as the project manager on multiple projects, helping to manage and forecast budgets as well as assisting with contract management.



University of Chicago


University of Chicago

Project Contributions

Evaluating Oakland Promise’s Cradle-to-Career Programs

NORC’s assessments enable Oakland program to identify past benefits for future funding


Oakland Promise

Analyzing Parent Narratives to Create Parent Gauge™

Helping Head Start build a tool to assess parent, family, and community engagement


National Head Start Association, Ford Foundation, Rainin Foundation, Region V Head Start Association

2024 National Survey of Early Care and Education

Examining early care and education after major disruption


Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation in the Department of Health and Human Services

Kindergarten Readiness Indicators

Measuring early literacy and numeracy skills for pre-K children


Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation, Welborn Baptist Foundation

Chicago Health and Activity in Real-Time (CHART)

The first-ever study documenting how activity spaces change as people age


The National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health

Oakland Promise Kindergarten to College Evaluation

Assessing efforts to promote a college-going culture among young students and their parents


Oakland Promise

NORC-Rainin Foundation Early Childhood Collaboration

Supporting programs to improve the education of Oakland children from birth to third grade


Kenneth Rainin Foundation

Head Start-to-Kindergarten Transitions Project

The first rigorous, system-level study of the factors that drive successful kindergarten transitions


Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families

Early Childhood Training and Technical Assistance Cross-System Evaluation

A first-of-its-kind evaluation to maximize the effectiveness of TTA provided to early childhood grantees


Office of Head Start and Office of Child Care in the Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Evaluating the Tempe Preschool Resource Expansion

Assessing whether Tempe PRE improves kindergarten readiness and future achievement for low-income children


Helios Education Foundation

Financing Early Care and Education Study

Exploring Head Start financing strategies and the landscape of state-level early care and education (ECE) financing policy


Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE) at the Administration for Children & Families (ACF)