Karen Shirley

Karen Shirley

Director of Project Management

Karen is the Director of Project Management at studioMLA Architects with over 16 years of experience in the specialized design of child care and early childhood education facilities throughout the United States and Canada. Her extensive experience with the complex and ever changing design requirements, new technologies, and space needs of early education is an important asset to all of the projects that she oversees. With a background in education and architecture, she is exceptionally well equipped to work with our clients to ensure that the buildings and environments that we design are fully aligned with each school’s curriculum needs.

Karen is often responsible for the overall management, coordination and quality control of a large design team of architects and engineers in different parts of the country. Through careful tracking, communication and proactive involvement, she works to ensure that client needs, schedules, and budgets are monitored and met. She is also an expert in the various child care and education regulations that can vary markedly from state to state, ensuring that safety, security and operational needs are all brought together in great spaces for children.

Karen spends much of her free time walking her dog "Brady," a handsome yellow lab. She also enjoys long bike rides with husband Ken, movies, live theater and of course Red Sox baseball and NE Patriot games!

Karen received her Bachelor of Science in Education degree from the University of North Texas, her Master’s degree in Liberal Arts from Southern Methodist and has pursued post-graduate studies in Architecture at the Boston Architectural College. She has spoken at and conducted design workshops for the Massachusetts Children’s Investment Fund and the National Coalition of Campus Child Care Centers and has contributed her design skills to the “Bright Spaces” program, creating play spaces for homeless children.