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Governor Dayton’s New Leadership for Early Childhood Learning

August 10, 2011

St. Paul – Governor Dayton today reaffirmed his commitment to making quality early childhood education a priority for his administration, appointing 22 Minnesotans to the Early Learning Council and announcing that Commissioner of Education Brenda Cassellius, Commissioner of Health Ed Ehlinger and Commissioner of Human Services Lucinda Jesson will lead the Children’s Cabinet. 
 
The Early Learning Council will be chaired by Barb Yates and will be responsible for advising the Governor, the Children’s Cabinet, and the legislature on how to increase access to high quality state and federal early childhood care and education programs for all Minnesota learners – including those who are part of underrepresented and special programs. 
 
Governor Dayton established the council by Executive Order in March, with members being selected through the open appointments process.  Today’s appointees bring diversity to the Early Learning Council in terms of experience, geographic representation, race, gender and ethnicity.  A list of appointees to the Early Learning Council is attached. 
 
“Minnesota’s future success depends upon building an education system that gives every child the chance to succeed.   By starting early we can lay a strong foundation to ensure every learner has the tools to excel in the classroom, in our communities, and in life.  I thank these distinguished Minnesotans for their dedication to our children and our state,” Governor Dayton said. 
 
Governor Dayton also reaffirmed his commitment to apply for federal Race to the Top – Early Challenge funds as a way to support Minnesota’s efforts to close achievement gaps.  The federal grant would award up to $50 million to states that increase the number of low-income children enrolled in high quality early learning programs, which is a key part of preparing children for Kindergarten.  Established in 2009, Minnesota has a Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) to ensure access to high-quality early learning and care programs.  This program will continue under current statutory authority, enhancing Minnesota’s application for Race to the Top funds.   
  
 
Early Learning Council Appointees: 
 
Chairwoman Barb Yates 
 
A resident of Roseville, Yates has more than 20 years of experience in education.  She is a former Deputy Commissioner at the Minnesota Department of Education and is currently Executive Director of Resources for Child Caring.  
 
Victoria Campverde 
 
A resident of Saint Paul, Campverde is a parent facilitator for Minneapolis Public Schools as part of the CEPEO Parenting Program.  She has also held a number of leadership positions in her community and is an alumna of the Wilder Neighborhood Leadership Program and the Latino Leadership Program.   
 
Sara Carlson 
 
A resident of Willmar, Carlson has more than 17 years of experience in the early care and education field.  She is currently serving as a Program Officer with the Southwest Initiative Foundation based in Hutchinson. 
 
David Cournoyer 
 
A resident of Saint Paul, David Cournoyer is the Principal at Plain DEPTH Consulting.  He also volunteers with the St. Paul schools Indian Education Parent Committee. Cournoyer is the former Chair of the Board of Directors of Native Americans in Philanthropy. 
 
Jackie Cross 
 
A resident of Coon Rapids, Cross is Head Start Director for Anoka County Community Action Programs. She is a former elementary school teacher and has 10 years of experience in business at Honeywell/Alliant Techsystems. 
 
Maria Erlandson 
 
A resident of Foley, Erlandson is the Principal at Foley Elementary School and brings extensive expertise in implementing, growing and adapting early childhood efforts in rural Minnesota. She is currently a member of the Minnesota Association of Elementary Principals, the Minnesota Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, and of the Curriculum Leaders of Minnesota. 
 
Barbara Fabre 
 
A resident of White Earth, Fabre is the Director of Child Care and Early Childhood Programs on White Earth Reservation. She is a tribal leader in early childhood education and is a member of the advisory board for the Minnesota Tribal Resources for Early Childhood Care and the Minnesota Child Care Resource and Referral Network. 
 
Dianne Haulcy 
 
A resident of Minneapolis, Haulcy has nearly 25 years of experience in the non-profit sector. She is currently serving as the Chief Operating Officer of The Family Partnership and has directed five early childhood programs that serve inner city, low-income, and ethnically diverse populations. 
 
Donna Henning 
 
A resident of Redwood Falls, Henning is an Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) child educator for New Ulm schools. She has more than 10 years experience at Heartland Community Action Head Start. 
 
Susan Hoeft 
 
A resident of Grand Rapids, Hoeft has 20 years of experience in early childhood education. She is currently serving as adjunct faculty for Foundations of Early Childhood and has been involved in the Itasca County Early Childhood Leadership Team for 10 years. 
 
Denise Mayotte 
 
A resident of Minneapolis, Mayotte is the Executive Director of The Sheltering Arms Foundation. She is involved with numerous early childhood programs, including Co-Chair of the Early Childhood Funders Network Steering Committee. 
 
Dr. Scott McConnell 
 
A resident of Minneapolis, McConnell is a professor for the Center for Early Education and Development at the University of Minnesota. McConnell has also been active with the Northside Achievement Zone (NAZ) and evaluation of Promise Neighborhood projects. 
 
Carol Miller 
 
A resident of Minneapolis, Miller is a Senior Human Services Manager at Hennepin County and a member of the Early Childhood Advisory Council Access and Finance Committee. She formerly worked as a Pre-K/Kindergarten teacher and ran a childcare center. 
 
Mariam Mohamed 
 
A resident of Shoreview, Mohamed is a consultant to Philanthropy, Non-profits and Government. Mohamed is a member of the Early Childhood Advisory Council Accountability Committee as well as an advisory team member for Achievement Gap of the Twin Cities Compass. 
 
Patricia Nordahl 
 
A resident of Grand Marais, Nordahl is director of Cooperation Station Family Child Care and Headstart, a childcare center rated as high quality in the Parent Aware Rating system. She has previously advised the Minnesota Department of Human Services on the preparation of the federal Child Care Development Fund application. 
 
Molly Rieke 
 
A resident of Eyota, Rieke works as a family childcare provider at Molly J. Rieke Family Child Care. She currently serves on the Dover Eyota School Board. 
 
Dr. Arthur Rolnick 
 
A resident of Maple Grove, Rolnick is a Senior Fellow and Co-Director of the Human Capital Research Collaborative at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, the University of Minnesota. He is also a board member on the Minnesota Early Learning Foundation. Rolnick’s work on early childhood development has earned him several awards, including from the George Lucas Educational Foundation and the Minnesota Department of Health. He has previously served at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. 
 
Fred Senn 
 
A resident of Eden Prairie, Senn is a founding partner of Fallon. He has been an active volunteer in early education, including as a current Executive Board member for Minnesota Business for Early Learning (MNBEL). 
 
Carolyn Smallwood 
 
A resident of Minneapolis, Smallwood is the Executive Director of Way to Grow. She is also an advisory board member of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Early Education and Development. 
 
Jill Timm 
 
A resident of Forest Lake, Timm is a Public Health and Environment Program Manager for Washington County. She is also a member of the Minnesota Department of Public Health, Henry Street Consortium. 
 
Yeu Vang 
 
A resident of Saint Paul, Vang is the principal of Jackson Elementary School in St. Paul. She is also the St. Paul Division President of the Minnesota Elementary School Principals’ Association. 
 
Michelle Zadra 
 
A resident of Virginia, Zadra is involved in Early Childhood Family Education and other early education services in Virginia. She owns and runs a wedding consulting business.