State Representative Terri Collins
State of Alabama
Representative Terri Collins (R-AL) was raised in Birmingham and earned a Marketing degree from The University of Alabama. Collins enjoyed 16 years in banking as Vice President of Marketing and Sales before election to the House of Representatives in 2010. She serves on Education Ways and Means Committee, as Chair of Education Policy Committee, and as Chair of the Tennessee Valley Caucus. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Volunteer Center of Morgan County, Quality Education Committee with The Decatur Morgan County Chamber of Commerce, and Decatur Morgan Hospital Foundation. She is a founding member of the Women’s Leadership Council in Decatur. Collins was appointed to the Women’s Commission, Chair of the School Safety Advisory Commission, and the Education Committee of the Southern Legislative Conference (SLC) by the Speaker of the House. She was also appointed by the Governor to serve on Alabama Workforce Development Board, Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) and is Chair elect, and Chair of the Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board.
Joia Crear-Perry, M.D.
Founder and President of the National Birth Equity Collaborative
Dr. Joia Adele Crear-Perry is the Founder and President of the National Birth Equity Collaborative. A speaker, trainer, advocate, policy expert, and thought leader around racism as a root cause of health inequities, Crear-Perry continues to expand her focus on maternal and child health nationally and internationally. She previously served as the executive director of the Birthing Project, director of Women’s and Children’s Services at Jefferson Community Healthcare Center and as the director of Clinical Services for the City of New Orleans Health Department. Crear-Perry is well-known for her work to remove race as a risk factor for illnesses such as premature births. Crear- Perry currently serves on the Advisory Committee of the Black Mamas Matter Alliance, Principal at Health Equity Cypher and on the board of trustees for Community Catalyst, National Medical Association and the UCSF PTBi. Crear-Perry received her bachelor’s trainings at Princeton University and Xavier University and completed her medical degree at Louisiana State University.
Governor Mike DeWine
70th Governor of the State of Ohio
Mike DeWine (R-OH) is the 70th Governor of the State of Ohio, elected on November 6, 2018. true Ohio story. He and his wife Fran (Struewing) met in the first grade and married while students at Miami University. They’ve been blessed with eight children and 24 grandchildren. Family is at the core of everything Mike DeWine does, and that’s why he has devoted his life to fighting for Ohio’s families. He knows when families are strong, Ohio communities are stronger, and our future is bright. The Governor has had a long and distinguished career in public service, focusing on protecting Ohio children and families. He was previously the 50th Attorney General of Ohio and has previously been elected to serve as Greene County Prosecutor, Ohio State Senator, U.S. Congressman, Ohio Lt. Governor, U.S. Senator.
Group Director of the Children and Families Program at the National Conference of State Legislatures
Wade Fickler is group director for the National Conference of State Legislatures’ Children and Families Program. He oversees efforts to provide learning opportunities and technical assistance to legislators and legislative staff on matters related to child welfare, child support, early care and education, family economic security, family law, housing and homelessness. His previous experience includes policy and communications positions with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, Texas Health and Human Services Commission, the Children’s Institute and City Club of Portland
Governor Lujan Grisham
32nd Governor of the State of New Mexico
Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM) is the 32nd governor of the state of New Mexico, the first Democratic Latina to be elected governor in U.S. history. As governor, Lujan Grisham has implemented a series of evidence-based policies aimed at transforming New Mexico’s public education system, expanding the state’s economy to include more high-quality employment opportunities and preserving New Mexico’s air, land and water. In 2019, she oversaw one of the most productive legislative sessions in state history, signing a broad package of bipartisan bills into law, notably a historic investment in public education and a landmark transition to clean energy. She was elected to the U.S. Congress in 2011, serving three terms in Washington on behalf of New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District. As a member of Congress, she worked aggressively to support local tribes, equal pay for women, public schools, public lands and veterans’ health care; she also advocated strongly for saving and creating clean New Mexico jobs. As chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, she became a vocal, national leader in the battle against reactionary federal anti-immigrant policies. Lujan Grisham was born in Los Alamos and graduated from St. Michael’s High School in Santa Fe before earning undergraduate and law degrees from the University of New Mexico.
Iheoma Iruka, Ph.D.
Chief Research Innovation Officer and Director of the Center for Early Education Evaluation at the HighScope Educational Research Foundation
Dr. Iheoma Iruka leads research strategy to drive innovation in the field of early childhood education. As chief research innovation officer at HighScope and director of the research unit, Iruka focuses on research that advances the knowledge base on key factors that address opportunity gaps and mitigates adverse circumstances. Iruka’s research is centered around the optimal development and school success of minoritized children and children from low wealth communities by examining the role of family and education environments and systems. Iruka earned a Ph.D. in applied developmental psychology from the University of Miami. She holds an MA in psychology from Boston University and a BA in psychology from Temple University. She serves or has served on a number of boards and committees, including the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine committees on parenting and health equity, North Carolina Child Care Commission, Brady Educational Foundation, and Trust for Learning.
Cynthia Osborne, Ph.D.
PN-3 Policy Impact Center Director and Associate Dean of the LBJ School of Public Affairs
Dr. Cynthia Osborne is the Associate Dean for Academic Strategies and Founder and Director of the Child and Family Research Partnership and its Prenatal-to-3 Policy Impact Center at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin. She is an appointed member of the National Academies of Sciences Committee to Reduce Child Poverty by Half in Ten Years. Osborne has extensive experience leading long-term evaluations of state and national programs, with the aim of helping organizations understand what works, and how to ensure sustainable implementation of effective policies. Her work includes evaluations for the Texas Home Visiting Program, one of the largest home visiting programs in the country, and for critical state-level child welfare and child support programs. Osborne holds a Ph.D. in Demography and Public Affairs from Princeton University, a Master in Public Policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, and a Master of Arts in Education from Claremont Graduate University. Previously, she taught middle school in a low-income community in California.
Jack Shonkoff, M.D.
Pediatrician and founding Director of the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University
Dr. Jack P. Shonkoff is the Julius B. Richmond FAMRI Professor of Child Health and Development at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Graduate School of Education; Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital, and Research Staff at Massachusetts General Hospital; and Director of the university-wide Center on the Developing Child at Harvard. He currently chairs the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, whose mission is to bring credible science to bear on public policy affecting children and families, and The JPB Research Network on Toxic Stress, which is developing new measures of stress effects and resilience in young children. Under the auspices of the National Academy of Sciences, Shonkoff served as Chair of the Board on Children, Youth, and Families and led a blue-ribbon committee that produced the landmark report, “From Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early Childhood Development.” He currently leads Frontiers of Innovation, a multi-sectoral, science-based, R&D platform committed to achieving breakthrough outcomes at scale for young children and families facing adversity. He has authored more than 150 publications and has been a visiting professor or delivered named lectureships at more than 35 universities in the United States and around the world.
State Senator Tony Vargas
State of Nebraska
Senator Tony Vargas (D-NE) has devoted his career to public service and advocacy. Elected to the Nebraska Legislature in 2016, Vargas has spent the last four years successfully fighting for economic justice and opportunity, including equity in education, technology and innovation, juvenile justice and corrections, college affordability, and healthcare access. As a member of the Appropriations Committee, he has led efforts to prioritize state funding to support the most vulnerable in our communities, especially children and families from low-income backgrounds. He proudly serves as the Vice Chair of the Executive Board of the Nebraska Legislature and Chair of the Legislative Planning Committee. In addition, he also serves on the Nebraska Early Childhood Governance and Financing Task Force. Prior to his election to the Legislature, Vargas was a school board member of the Omaha Public Schools Board of Education, serving more than 52,000 students and 86 schools across Omaha. Vargas began his career as a public school teacher in New York City. In 2018, he was named a Presidential Leadership Scholar by the Presidential Libraries of President George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Lyndon B. Johnson. in 2019, he was named a Henry Toll Fellow by the Council of State Governments. Tony is the proud son of Peruvian immigrants and a first-generation college graduate. He earned his B.A. from the University of Rochester and his M.S. in Education from Pace University.