Gov. Jared Polis added his stamp to the state's early childhood advisory council with key appointments to the Early Childhood Leadership Commission.
He appointed two of the three chairs: Tom Massey, deputy executive director of the state Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, and Susan Steele, executive director of the Buell Foundation. They will serve as co-chairs with Elsa Holguín, the president and CEO of the Denver Preschool Program.
The new board members are:
- Ryan Beiser of Cherry Hills, the regional president for PNC Bank Denver.
- Jehan Benton-Clark of Denver, portfolio director for the Colorado Health Foundation.
- Pamela Harris of Denver, president and CEO of Mile High Early Learning.
- Kate Kennedy Reinemund of Englewood, executive director of Constellation Philanthropy.
- Sue Renner of Denver, vice president of philanthropy for Merage Foundations.
- Ida Rhodes of Pueblo, director of operations for Catholic Charities-Diocese of Pueblo.
They join Angie Paccione, executive director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education; George Welsh, superintendent of Cañon City Schools; Gerri Gomez Howard, principal of Gomez Howard Group; Heather Craiglow, head start collaboration director for the Colorado Office of Early Childhood; Jai Scott, parent representative; Jeanne McQueeney, Eagle County commissioner; Jeff Kuhr, executive director of the Mesa County Health Department; Letty Bass, Letty Bass Consulting; Melissa Colsman, associate commissioner of student learning for the Colorado Department of Education.
“The commission has led the advancement of early childhood priorities in the state for many years,” Holguín said in a press release. “I am thrilled to work with all of our new members to continue this work and to elevate the Commission’s and the Governor’s priority areas so that all children in Colorado have the opportunity to be healthy, valued and thriving.”
The ECLC assists public and private agencies, including five state departments, collaborate around issues, as well as advising the Colorado Department of Human Services' Office of Early Childhood.
The commission also works on increasing "access, quality and equity" of services for pregnant women and children 8 years old and younger.
"The work of the commission provides an opportunity to be bold and innovative in our approaches to supporting young children and families,” Steele said in the release. “I am honored to be a co-chair and look forward to working with the Governor and the members to advance outcomes for all of Colorado’s kids.”
Massey added, "The commission has brought state agencies, as well as other public and private programs together to advance early childhood outcomes in a way that has made real impacts for the children in our state. This is critical to ensuring we have a robust, comprehensive system that supports health and well-being for all Coloradans.”