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Early Childhood Advisory Council

About the Council

Governor Cooper established the North Carolina Early Childhood Advisory Council (NCECAC) through Executive Order 40 in February 2018.

Dr. Mandy Cohen, Secretary, NC Department of Health and Human Services, chairs the Council, which includes 25 members appointed by the Governor from education (from early childhood through higher education), as well as representatives from business, government, research, philanthropy, health care, mental health, social services, and parents.

The foundation for future learning, health, and well-being is built during early childhood. The NCECAC supported the NC Early Childhood Action Plan released on February 27, 2019 that lays out a bold vision and roadmap for how the state can create better futures for our young children by 2025. Read more about the plan HERE

On March 18, 2019, members of the NCECAC wrote to the North Carolina General Assembly to urge them to support Medicaid expansion to help young children and families. The letter recommends increasing access to health care coverage for more adults across the state as a way to ensure more of North Carolina's babies are born healthy and grow up to stay healthy. Read the letter HERE

Council Members



Name Title Organization
Susan Butler-Staub Instructor of Early Childhood Education Piedmont Community College
Dr. Lisa Chapman President Central Carolina Community College
Dr. Mandy Cohen Secretary NC Department of Health and Human Services 
Gerald "Jerry" M. Croan Senior Fellow Third Sector Capital Partners, Inc. 
Terry David Director of Head Start and Early Head Start Programs Chapel Hill Training Outreach Project
Stephanie Fanjul Retired  
Dr. Laura Gerald President Kate B. Reynolds Foundation
Eric Hart Head, Properties Department  Triad Stage
Kathy Higgins CEO Healthier Generation
Velva Jenkins Consultant  
Dr. Dore LaForett Researcher Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute
Dr. Kelly Maxwell Senior Research Scientist Child Trends
Karen McKnight Director Head Start - State Collaboration Office
Susan Perry Principal Deputy Secretary NC Department of Health and Human Services
Mamie "Bernadette" Rogers Director/Owner Smiling Faces Childcare Center
Meka Sales Director of Special Initiatives Duke Endowment
Janet Singerman President Child Care Resources, Inc.
Dr. Betsey Tilson State Health Director NC Department of Health and Human Services
Banu Valladares Executive Director Charlotte Bilingual Preschool
Kristin Walker Deputy Director of State Budget NC Office of State Budget and Management
Cindy Watkins President NC Partnership for Children
Michelle Winstead Director New Hanover Department of Social Services