Topeka, KS – Governor Laura Kelly today announced her appointments to the Early Childhood Transition Task Force, which was created by Governor Kelly’s first executive order of her second term, Executive Order 23-01. The Task Force is charged with reviewing Kansas’s early childhood care and education system and developing a roadmap for the creation of a cabinet-level agency dedicated to supporting our youngest Kansans.
“I’m proud to announce the appointment of this bipartisan group of Kansans to serve on the Early Childhood Transition Task Force,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “Representing business, government, advocacy, and the early childhood sectors, these appointees bring years of experience and a wealth of expertise to the most important challenge we face as a state: giving our next generation the strongest possible start to life. I look forward to collaborating with this group and reviewing their findings in the coming months.”
Members appointed to the Early Childhood Transition Task Force are:
- Barry Downing, Wichita—Honorary Chair
- Cornelia Stevens, Wichita—Co-Chair
- Sam Huenergardt, Shawnee—Co-Chair
- Secretary Laura Howard, Topeka
- Secretary Janet Stanek, Topeka
- Melissa Rooker, Fairway
- Amanda Petersen, Lawrence
- Sara Bloom, Hays
- Lona Duvall, Garden City
- Kelly Davydov, Overland Park
- Betsy Wearing, Salina
- Jennifer Adhima, Lawrence
- David Jordan, Hutchinson
- Monica Murnan, Pittsburg
- Senator Pat Pettey, Kansas City
- Senator Brenda Dietrich, Topeka
- Representative Susan Ruiz, Shawnee
- Representative Troy Waymaster, Bunker Hill
Governor Kelly also announced that The Hunt Institute will provide operational and staffing support to the Task Force. Established in 2001 by former North Carolina Governor James Hunt, The Hunt Institute’s mission is to provide unbiased research, technical expertise, and learning opportunities that equip and empower educators and policymakers to drive equitable education reforms.
The Hunt Institute will serve as the Task Force’s primary convener, provide policy and research expertise, and manage a statewide community engagement tour. The Hunt Institute has provided similar services in the review of early childhood programming in states including New Mexico, Missouri, North Dakota, Alabama, and Delaware.
“By establishing the Early Childhood Transition Task Force, Governor Kelly has placed Kansas on the leading edge of a national conversation about early childhood system governance,” Dr. Javaid Siddiqi, President and CEO, The Hunt Institute, said. “Our team at The Hunt Institute looks forward to supporting the state as it works to make its systems more efficient and coordinated on behalf of children, families, and Kansas taxpayers.”
The Task Force will hold its first meeting in the coming weeks.