What an exciting and hopeful time to be alive working towards a bold vision for the children of North Carolina! Armed with brain science and the knowledge that brains are built, not born, NCECF convenes meaningful conversations, collaborating with partners around policy, practice, programs, and funding to make our collective dream that all children are reading at grade level by the end of third grade. Reading proficiency at eight is a proxy for child well-being and currently, our state needs innovations and disruptions to make child well-being a reality for all of our children. Social change requires disruptions – disrupting the status quo, focusing on equity. Positive change feels possible. I am honored to lead the passionate and brilliant team at NCECF towards this positive change.
My goal every day is to support North Carolina’s young children and their families—especially those facing the most barriers to success. In my role as Policy and Practice Leader for NCECF, I get to do that work alongside dedicated colleagues and incredible partner organizations. Together, we will continue to shift policy and practice to create a comprehensive, equitable, aligned system for children in North Carolina. I have always worked in the public and nonprofit sectors—building state human services budgets, developing legislative agendas and policy campaigns, lobbying the state legislature and Congress, and implementing a UN program in Morocco to keep girls in school.
Community matters. It’s where dynamic change happens. That’s why I help strengthen the ability of communities to collaborate and accelerate – so they can accomplish what they set out to do. Here at NCECF, I support communities to build a strong foundation for lifelong success for North Carolina children. I’ve also worked with communities around the world, on environmental health issues, across Europe and here at home in places like Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana and Bladen County, North Carolina. I have fostered healthy and safe communities through many lenses – from changing policy with a focus on prevention of environmental health threats to enhancing what’s working.
Kaylan serves as the Accounting Associate for NCECF. Coming from a similar organization in California, she is glad to be able to continue supporting the early childhood field. Kaylan started years ago in early childhood education as an Americorps tutor, went on to become a preschool teacher, and most recently provided administrative and fiscal support to First 5 Mono County, a California statewide program that supports kids from birth-to-age-five by implementing supports through home visits, lactation assistance, child development parent education, parent-child playgroups, early literacy programs, school readiness activities, oral health visits, the Childcare Quality System, and professional development for childcare providers.
Kaylan grew up in New Hill and attended Appalachian State University, as well as Cerro Coso and Foothill Colleges in California. After living in the beautiful Eastern Sierras of California for ten years, she is happy to return home to North Carolina with her husband and kitten.
There’s an African proverb that says “If you want go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” To me, this is the strength of collaboration; our ability to accomplish more together than any of us can do alone. Nothing is more important than going far to ensure that all children can reach their full potential. For several years, I facilitated partnerships and access to opportunities for families in East Durham. My experience spans community, school, and research settings. Now, I’m excited to bring people together to impact children across the state. I’m especially interested in addressing systemic barriers and amplifying family voices in our work.
I am still a relative newcomer in the nonprofit world, but I am eager to make my mark on it and absorb as much as I can from those around me. I gain strength from my team’s diverse and extensive background to create a positive impact on the lives of children for the state of North Carolina. My passion for the nonprofit world stemmed from an internship with Project Vote Smart in Montana, which led me to do a Master in Public Affairs at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Since then, I have worked for the North Carolina Humanities Council, Partners Ending Homelessness and Guilford Adult Health.