Cleo Jacobs Johnson

Senior Researcher
  • Qualitative research
  • Child development
  • Quality improvement
  • Primary data collection
Focus Areas
  • Early Childhood
  • Education
  • Family Support
  • Human Services
About Cleo

Cleo Jacobs Johnson is a senior researcher with expertise in conducting qualitative research and overseeing data collection for large-scale early childhood, education, and family support research studies for Mathematica’s foundation and federal partners.

At Mathematica, she serves as the project director for the Children of Military Caregivers study for the Elizabeth Dole Foundation. In this role, she is leading a descriptive study that examines children’s experiences living with a caregiver who is providing care for an ill or injured servicemember or veteran. She is also overseeing the development of a community of practice in collaboration with the Kresge Foundation in support of its Hope Starts Here initiative, a community framework the foundation launched with the W.K Kellogg Foundation to improve Detroit’s early childhood systems. Additionally, she supports this initiative as the project director for a study that is examining how to enhance the quality of informal child care in Detroit.

While at Mathematica, Jacobs Johnson has served as the interim chief diversity officer and co-led survey research design and data collection support for numerous large multisite evaluations such as the Building Strong Families and the Strengthening Relationship Education and Marriage Services projects. As deputy survey director for Parents and Children Together, she oversaw data collection on the large-scale, multisite, random assignment evaluation of grant programs that aimed to strengthen and support responsible fatherhood, healthy relationships, and marriage.

Before joining Mathematica, Jacobs Johnson conducted research at the University of Pennsylvania for the National Center on Fathers and Families as well as the Center for Health Achievement Neighborhoods Growth and Ethnic Studies. She also worked on an evaluation of the Schools and Families Educating Children program for the University of Illinois at Chicago.

She holds a Ph.D. in applied psychology and human development from the University of Pennsylvania, an M.A. in psychology from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and a B.S. in human development and human studies from Cornell University.

Key Projects
  • PACT Fathers
    Parents and Children Together (PACT)

    Parents and Children Together (PACT) is a six-year evaluation of the Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood grant program to help couples build and sustain healthy relationships and marriages, and to strengthen positive father-child interaction.

  • female entrepreneur
    Kauffman Firm Survey

    The Kauffman Firm Survey aimed to help new business owners overcome start-up challenges and build innovative, growing companies. Mathematica conducted the study to help the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation with its mission to promote new business development.