Early Childhood Leadership Summit – August 2022

September 1, 2022

From Wednesday, August 24 – Friday, August 26, 2022, The Hunt Institute hosted a bipartisan convening with 52 state teams, including Puerto Rico and Washington DC, comprised of senior elected officials, gubernatorial staff, and key early childhood system leaders for the 2022 Early Childhood Leadership Summit in Phoenix, AZ.  

Across the three-day convening, teams heard from prestigious keynote speakers and panelists, including fellow elected leaders and some of the nation’s leading early childhood experts, in addition to spending time considering high-impact strategies to improve early childhood education in their states.  

Teams also had the opportunity to connect, collaborate, and network with one another on critically important early childhood topics and discuss how to address the most pressing early childhood needs within each state. 

Wednesday, August 24 

As attendees arrived, our Hunt team set up at the Arizona Grand for the Pre-Conference Caucus Caucus. First, Dr. Dan Wuori of The Hunt Institute welcomed attendees by highlighting the major early childhood issues under consideration for the week. After a short break, we gathered for the Summit’s first panel discussion featuring The Honorable Howie Morales and Dr. Kayla Hahn, moderated by our very own Dr. Lauren Zbyszinski. The conversation centered on how states can create and sustain strong early childhood governance structures in their states.  

Following this discussion, attendees were able to connect with each other during a brief welcome reception, before grabbing dinner and settling in for day one’s final conversation. Our President & CEO Dr. Javaid Siddiqi opened the floor for The Honorable Pamela Northam of Virginia, Paul J. Luna of the Helios Education Foundation, and The Honorable Abby Cox of Utah to discuss the role of collaboration in advancing early childhood education initiatives across the country.  

Thursday, August 25 

We kicked off Day Two bright and early with The Honorable Kate Gallego, Mayor of Phoenix, who gave welcoming remarks along with Dr. Javaid Siddiqi. Before passing the mic for the opening keynote, Dr. Siddiqi of course took advantage of the moment for a group selfie!  

Elliot Steinberg, the President of the Saul Zaentz Charitable Foundation then took the stage to provide a gracious introduction for Dr. Dana Suskind. Dr. Suskind, author of Parent Nation: Unlocking Every Child’s Potential, Fulfilling Society’s Promise, showcased her research and offered powerful insight into how we might create a more prosperous and equitable future for America’s children through parent supports.  

We then shifted focus to early childhood policy, as The Honorable Jabari Brisport and The Honorable Brenda Shields discussed the importance of prioritizing early childhood policies in their states and the innovative approaches they have taken to implement positive change.  

After a short networking break, attendees broke into small groups to hear from a plethora of resource experts from across the country.  

On the topic of supporting the needs of infants and toddlers, two groups of panelists highlighted public policies and state solutions designed to support young children and their families. 

Panelists and moderators included: 

  • Andrea Palmer, Program Officer | Pritzker Children’s Initiative  
  • Dr. Abby Lane, Policy Director | Prenatal-to-3 Policy Impact Center  
  • Mina Hong, Director of Consulting | Start Early, Champions for Early Learning 
  • Gerry Cobb, Director | Pritzker Children’s Initiative 
  • Dr. Cynthia Osborne, Executive Director | Prenatal-to-3 Policy Impact Center 
  • Frankie Robertson, Founder & President | The Amandla Group 

On the topic of building a stronger early learning workforce, another two groups of panelists discussed the state of the workforce and innovative ways to support providers in the field. 

Panelists and moderators included: 

  • Alyssa Chatterjee, Early Learning System Director | Oregon Department of Education  
  • Rhian Allvin, CEO | National Association for the Education of Young Children 2013-2022  
  • Deputy Superintendent Jenna Conway, Deputy Superintendent | Virginia Department of Education
  • Dr. Sara Vecchiotti, Vice President | Foundation for Child Development 
  • Dr. Calvin Moore, Jr., CEO | Council for Professional Recognition 
  • Mary Harrill, Senior Director | National Association for the Education of Young Children 

In between these breakout groups, attendees sat down for lunch and heard from the 2020 National Teacher of the Year Tabatha Rosproy. Tabatha shared her lived experience as a preschool teacher, emphasizing the significant role early childhood educators play in children’s lives, fostering their academic social, and emotional development.   

We then gathered back in the main Arizona Grand Ballroom to hear from Barry Ford, the President & CEO of Council for a Strong America, Jack McBride, Founder & CEO of Contec, Inc., and Nicole Riehl, President & CEO of the Colorado Executives Partnering to Invest in Children. This conversation, moderated by Vince Yanez, Senior Vice President, Community Engagement at the Helios Education Foundation, focused on the business case for early childhood: how are early childhood fiscal supports a positive return on the business sector? 

Next, The Honorable Kent McCarty of Mississippi, Rachel Canter of Mississippi First, The Honorable Bethany Hall-Long of Delaware, and The Honorable Levar Stoney of Virginia sat down with Albert Wat, Senior Policy Director at the Alliance for Early Success. This panel, titled “Innovative Approaches to Early Childhood, focused on innovative approaches to funding and governance in early childhood to meet the needs of the youngest learners.  

Attendees were then able to take a networking break before heading over to our evening reception at Rustler’s Rooste before sitting with their state teams and reflecting on the day’s panels.  

Friday, August 26th 

To open the final day of the Early Childhood Leadership Summit, Dr. Dan Wuori made space for a discussion on the current state of the child care industry in the wake of the pandemic. Resource experts Anne Hedgepeth, the Deputy Chief of Policy at Child Care Aware of America, Executive Officer Lanette Dumas of the Forelle Consulting Group, and CEO Michelle Kang of National Association for the Education of Young Children gave their insights and highlighted current challenges and supports needed in the industry.  

We then made space for some professional perspectives, a key panel for every convening. Amy Corriveau, the Chief Program Officer at First Things First, sat down with kindergarten teacher Jessica Buttles, preschool teacher Ben Collinsworth, and Sas Jakeo-Singer, Director of Early Learning Services at Cognia and Training & Curriculum Specialist for the United States Air Force, to discuss their work and to summarize the landscape of early childhood education in Arizona.  

State teams then took time to set policy goals for pursuit over the coming year, making sure these goals are specific, actionable, and attainable for their community needs

Before our closing keynote, we welcomed an esteemed panel of state leaders to discuss the importance of building bipartisan support to accomplish state initiatives on early childhood education. Dr. Katie Beckman of The David & Lucile Packard Foundation moderated this discussion with The Honorable Susana Martinez, The Honorable Theresa Ruiz, The Honorable Jon Hardister, and Delegate Pamela Queen. It was a great way for our attendees to listen to these leaders’ unique perspectives and think about what it means to be an education champion in their states.  

Last, but certainly not least, we were honored to hear from Dr. Starsky Wilson, the President & CEO of the Children’s Defense Fund, to bring this impactful week to a close. Dr. Wilson spoke on the national impact of the Early Childhood Leadership Summit, reminding all of us of the power of convening and the change that can happen when we work together across state lines.



Gallery – Wednesday, August 24


Gallery – Thursday, August 25

Gallery – Friday, August 26

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