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PANEL DISCUSSION: America's Child-Care Crisis

January 28th, 2021 | 3 min. read

By Ann Berry

The child-care industry — essential to American families and to the economy — is at risk of complete collapse, and unfortunately, this was the case even before COVID-19 struck.

Dr. Nadia Jones, chief content officer, moderates a panel of experts — including the author of America's Child-Care Crisis: Rethinking an Essential Business, Dr. Sarah Taylor Vanover — to discuss the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

Watch the following panel discussion to learn more. 



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Featured in This Panel

Panelist: Samantha Aigner-Treworgy, Commissioner, Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care

Samantha Aigner-Treworgy, a former preschool teacher, has worked in early education policymaking, finance, and systems improvement for the past decade. She is the commissioner of the Department of Early Education and Care for the commonwealth of Massachusetts. Previously, she served as the chief of early learning for the city of Chicago, where she led the implementation of the plan to provide universal full-day prekindergarten to all four-year-old children in the city. Aigner-Treworgy graduated from Smith College with a bachelor’s degree in child development and sociology and received master’s degrees in public policy and in social work from the University of Chicago's Harris School of Public Policy and School of Social Administration.

Panelist: Rhian Evans Allvin, Chief Executive Officer, NAEYC

Rhian Evans Allvin serves as the chief executive officer of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). NAEYC’s mission is to promote high-quality early learning for all children, birth through age 8, by connecting practice, policy, and research. NAEYC advances a diverse and dynamic early childhood profession and supports all who care for, educate, and work on behalf of young children. Before joining NAEYC, Evans Allvin was a guiding force in Arizona’s early childhood movement for more than 15 years. Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano appointed her to serve on the board of the state’s First Things First initiative, which supports the health, development, and education of children birth to age 5. Rhian Evans Allvin holds a bachelor’s degree from Northern Arizona University and a master’s degree in business administration from Arizona State University.

Panelist: Michelle Jackson, Director, AlleGro Center at Jackson Healthcare

As the center director for the Bright Horizons AlleGro Center in Alpharetta, Georgia, Michelle Jackson steers her teachers and students toward educational excellence. With more than 15 years of experience in child care, her passion for connecting with students, families, and staff has allowed her to excel in training and marketing while balancing compassionate and mission-driven guidance. One of her primary goals is to help those around her reach their highest potential. As a member of organizations such as NAEYC’s Young Professionals Advisory Council and the Georgia Association for the Education of Young Children, Michelle can directly influence those who work with children daily. She graduated cum laude with a bachelor's degree in both history and psychology, along with a minor in English, from Atlantic Union College.

Panelist: Dr. Sarah Vanover, Director of the Division of Child Care, Commonwealth of Kentucky

Sarah Taylor Vanover, EdD, has been working in the field of early childhood for more than 20 years. She is an active trainer in Kentucky and surrounding states and frequently speaks at conferences on topics such as quality child-care indicators, early language development, and the importance of quality infant and toddler care. For the past several years, Dr. Vanover has focused her work and research on supporting school-readiness skills and on assessing quality early childhood programs for health and safety requirements. She is currently the director of the Division of Child Care for the Commonwealth of Kentucky and is an active member of several policy teams looking at ways to save the US child-care system.

Panelist: Jennifer Washburn, Owner and Executive Director, iKids Childhood Enrichment Center

Jennifer Washburn founded iKids Childhood Enrichment Center with the vision of providing the highest quality care and early childhood education in the commonwealth of Kentucky. She is an advocate for quality programs at the state and federal level and works to provide access to quality preschools and child care for all families who need it. Washburn earned a bachelor’s degree in youth services and administration from Murray State University and a master’s degree in art therapy from the University of Louisville. She is working toward a PhD in developmental and child psychology at Capella University. 

Panelist: Dr. Reginald Harrison Williams, Associate Professor, SC State University

Reginald Harrison Williams, PhD, is the assessment coordinator for the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), as well as an associate professor and early childhood coordinator at South Carolina State University. He is the president of the SC Association for Early Childhood Teacher Educators and a past president of the SC Association for the Education of Young Children. He currently serves as a member of the NAEYC governing board. He is a SC certified master child-care trainer and certified technical assistance provider.  Dr. Williams earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Duke University, a master of arts in teaching from SC State University, and his PhD in early childhood education from the University of South Carolina.

Author(s)Sarah Taylor Vanover, EdD

Ann Berry