Board Spotlight: Welcoming Nina Smith, New NCECF Board Member

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At the North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation (NCECF), our board members play an integral role in the success of the organization by providing strategic direction, solid governance, financial accountability and oversight, and offering support and guidance to the staff. Our board members are a powerhouse of individuals in their own spheres of influence including – educators, college Presidents, entrepreneurs, executive directors, and attorneys – that have come together to serve as early childhood champions. With them, our team is more supported to bring to reality our vision that each North Carolina child has a strong foundation for life-long health, education, and well-being supported by a comprehensive, equitable birth-to-eight ecosystem.

One of the reasons NCECF’s board is so strong is because it is continuously evolving and bringing new voices to the work. While it is always bittersweet to say goodbye to excellent board members, it also provides an opportunity to engage new talent. We honor and thank Matty Lazo-Chatterton, Dr. Jennifer Vu and Peggy Wang for their commitment and expertise as NCECF board members.

Matty was a very early NCECF board member and an integral part of our organization’s early strategy and community engagement. Dr. Jennifer Vu’s experience as a family physician provided her unique experience in supporting families of young children. As Treasurer, Peggy Wang’s experience as a Partner at PWC supported our financial decision making as well as contributing to our work in incorporating equity into our board practices. We thank Matty, Jennifer and Peggy for their years of service to NCECF.

Dr. Nina Smith is a Black women with long black hair, wearing a burgundy long sleeve shirt, with her arms crossed“The full board voted to welcome Dr. Nina Smith in 2023 to NCECF’s board and we are privileged to welcome her to our collection of fearless leaders helping guide us through this important work for early childhood,” said Muffy Grant, NCECF Executive Director. “She has already been an invaluable asset to our Family Forward NC initiative and we know, with her expertise in centering the workforce, she can further guide us in not only this, but other initiatives, including our mission to center racial equity in all that we do.” 

Dr. Nina Smith is Associate Dean of the College of Health and Sciences and Associate Professor of Human Sciences at North Carolina Central University. She studies the impact of parental employment on the health and well-being of children and families. She also examines factors that influence children’s academic preparedness and teacher professional development in early care and education settings. Her work centers the experiences of Black children and families.

Nina has worked closely with NCECF’s Family Forward NC initiative for more than four years as a research advisor. In this role, she guides research efforts around improving family-friendly workplace policies in North Carolina. She currently serves as a co-investigator for the National African American Child and Family Research Center – a $1.8 million initiative funded by the Administration for Children and Families. She leads the Center’s cross-cutting research theme of research among rural populations.

Nina obtained her BA in Psychology at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, her MA in Psychology at North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina and her PhD in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in Greensboro, North Carolina.

The NC Early Childhood Foundation is driven by a bold – and achievable – vision: Each North Carolina child has a strong foundation for life-long health, education, and well-being supported by a comprehensive, equitable birth-to-eight ecosystem. We build understanding, lead collaboration, and advance policies to ensure each North Carolina child is on track for lifelong success by the end of third grade.