FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- A day after creating a state Office of Early Childhood to improve early learning opportunities for young children in Fairfield County and across Connecticut, Gov. Dannel Malloy appointed an executive director Tuesday to lead the agency.
Myra Jones-Taylor of New Haven will be executive director of the OEC, which Malloy proposed earlier this year and signed an executive order Monday to establish.
Jones-Taylor currently serves as director of the state Office of Early Childhood Planning. Malloy appointed her to that position in 2012 to create a statewide plan for a coordinated birth-to-8 early care and education system.
“Dr. Jones-Taylor has an impressive background, specifically her research on the impact that poverty can have on young children’s overall success in our education system,” Malloy said in a statement. “We must make quality early childhood programs available to more of our young people so they can get the preparation they need, and eventually graduate high school and attend college. With her extensive knowledge and experience, she is a perfect fit as the first executive director of this new office.”
Jones-Taylor praised Malloy’s passion and vision for early childhood. That "will be the force that will drive Connecticut to the forefront of quality early childhood programs and services for children,” she said. “I feel an incredible sense of responsibility and urgency to ensure that this new agency streamlines inefficiencies, increases access, and improves the quality of comprehensive early childhood services available to children and their families across the state.”
She previously served as an assistant professor-faculty fellow at the McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research at the Silver School of Social Work at New York University. Jones-Taylor, a cultural anthropologist with expertise in early care and education policy, currently serves as a member of the New Haven Board of Education.
She received her doctorate in American studies and anthropology from Yale University, where she also received two master’s degrees: one in African American studies and the other in American studies.
Under executive order, the OEC will become the lead agency for the coordination and delivery of early childhood services. The OEC builds on the work done in 2012 when Connecticut invested $9.8 million in early childhood initiatives, created 1,000 new spots for early learners, invested $3 million for a tiered quality rating and improvement system, and sought collaborative partnerships for Office of Early Childhood Planning.
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