Leadership

​​​​​​​Kentucky has a coordinated system of early childhood governance with multiple cabinets overseeing and managing early childhood programs, strategies, and services. Under this structure, the Early Childhood Advisory Council, and its support office, the Kentucky's Governor's Office of Early Childhood serves as coordinating bodies for the Commonwealth.​

Kentucky often is at the forefront of national innovation in early childhood governance and finance, starting over 20 years ago with the passage of House Bill 706 in 2000. At that time, it was the most comprehensive package of early childhood legislation in the nation and addressed the needs of the whole child: health care, family assistance, high-quality education, and community involvement. In addition, it committed 25-percent of the Kentucky Tobacco Settlement Fund, annually, to support early childhood programs. Kentucky was one of the first states to:

  • ​Develop Early Childhood Standards
  • Create an Office of Early Childhood
  • Establish a consensus-driven definition of kindergarten readiness
  • Implement a Kindergarten Readiness Screener

Kentucky also secured two large very competitive federal grants. None of this would be possible without its investment in early childhood education, strategic leadership, collaborative partnerships, or its commitment to early childhood education.

A more consolidated approach starts with visionary leadership. The Beshear administration has demonstrated its commitment to education and utilizes the experience and expertise of Lt. Governor ​Jacqueline Coleman, a former Kentucky K-12 educator. Kentucky continues to build upon the original goals of the Kentucky Governor's Office of Early Childhood:

  1. Ensuring more children start strong
  2. Promoting greater collaboration between state and local communities
  3. Emphasizing quality and continuous improvement​​
Portrait of Amanda Adkins.
Amanda AdkinsProject Coordinator
Portrait of Lynn  Baker.
Lynn BakerProject Specialist/Acting Director Kentucky Head Start Collaborative Office
Portrait of Megan Greenwell.
Megan GreenwellProject Specialist
Portrait of Brenda Hagan.
Brenda HaganProject Specialist
Portrait of Rebecca  King.
Rebecca KingProject Coordinator
Portrait of Amy Neal.
Amy NealExecutive Director


Kentucky Lieutenant Governor Jacqueline Coleman

Kentucky Lieutenant Governor Jacqueline Coleman and GOEC staff

​The Advisory Council Members

Early Childhood Advisory Council includes diverse backgrounds and organizations that lend their expertise and experience to provide leadership, direction, and support to serving the children, families, and communities of the Commonwealth. The Early Childhood Advisory Council meets quarterly on the third Thursday from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. During each meeting, the Advisory Council advises on the early care and education system, provides progress updates on the 5-year strategic plan and facilitates collective commitment to increase access and opportunity for children across the state.

Meetings are open to the public and we welcome attendance from those who are passionate about providing a strong foundation for all children in the Commonwealth. If you have any questions or need assistance, please call Amanda Adkins at 502-782-0200 or email her at amanda.adkins@ky.gov

Portrait of Lynn Baker.
Lynn BakerActing Director Kentucky Head Start Collaboration Office
Portrait of Kim Banta.
Kim BantaState Representative, District 63
Portrait of Twila Burdette.
Twila BurdetteRockcastle Early Childhood Education Council Child Development Center Director
Portrait of Annette W.  Bridges,.
Annette W. Bridges,EdD Ready Child Ready School Consulting, LLC
Portrait of Travis Burton.
Travis BurtonDirector of State Government Affairs, Kentucky Hospital Association
Portrait of Danny Carroll.
Danny CarrollKentucky State Senate, District 2
Portrait of Scotty Collier.
Scotty CollierPrincipal, Jefferson County Schools
Portrait of Deedee Cummings.
Deedee CummingsCEO of Abi Behavioral Health, Make A Way Media & The Louisville Book Festival Therapist, Attorney & Children's Author
Portrait of Felicia Cumings  Smith.
Felicia Cumings SmithPresident, National Center Families Learning
Portrait of Anita Dowd.
Anita DowdExecutive Staff Advisor, Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet
Portrait of Kim Fithian.
Kim FithianHead Start/Early Head Start Director, Ohio Valley Education Cooperative
Portrait of Eric Friedlander.
Eric FriedlanderSecretary, Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services
Portrait of Jaesook  Gilbert.
Jaesook GilbertProfessor, Early Childhood Education
Portrait of Jason Glass.
Jason GlassCommissioner of Kentucky Department of Education
Portrait of Paula Goff.
Paula GoffBranch Manager, Department of Public Health, Cabinet for Health and Family Services
Portrait of Rina Gratz.
Rina GratzDirector of Early Childhood Education, Jefferson County Public Schools
Portrait of Amy Hood.
Amy HoodInfant/Toddler & Early Childhood Specialist for Training and Technical Assistance Services, Western Kentucky University
Portrait of Brittany Howell.
Brittany HowellDirector of Student Services, Frankfort Independent Schools
Portrait of Greta McKenzie.
Greta McKenzieEarly Intervention Specialist, First Steps
Portrait of Beth  Morton.
Beth MortonDirector, Child Development Baptist Health Lexington CDC
Portrait of Amy Neal.
Amy NealExecutive Director, Kentucky Governor’s Office of Early Childhood
Portrait of Mary Pat Regan.
Mary Pat ReganActing Secretary, Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet
Portrait of John Roden.
John RodenChair, Early Childhood Advisory Council
Portrait of Amy Smith.
Amy SmithPrincipal and Preschool Coordinator, Pulaski County Schools
Portrait of Traci  Stemmle.
Traci StemmleVice President, PNC Bank
Portrait of Sarah Vanover.
Sarah VanoverDivision Director, Department for Community Based Services, Cabinet for Health and Family Services
Portrait of Connie White.
Connie WhiteDeputy Commissioner of Clinical Affairs, Department of Public Health, Cabinet for Health and Family Services