2020 First 1,000 Days – Keynotes


August 11, 2020

8:00 AM – 9:00 AM PT

Live Online

General Session, Welcoming & Keynote – Research to Practice

Dr. Debra Pacchiano

Debra Pacchiano, Ph.D., is vice president of translational research at the Ounce of Prevention Fund. She is an educational psychologist and applied researcher with a focus on leveraging instructional leadership and organizational development to catalyze innovation and quality improvement in early childhood intervention and education settings. She is the Co-Principal Investigator on the Early Education Essentials Organizational Supports Measurement System and was formerly Co-Principal Investigator of US Department of Education, Investing in Innovation (i3) development grant that designed and tested Lead Learn Excel, the Ounce’s early childhood instructional leadership fellowship. Debra has held positions as a special education administrator in a large, public school system, a regional coordinator of a state-wide mental health capacity building grant, a research analyst, and has extensive experiences developing implementation protocols and measurements for educators. She has extensive publication and presentation experience.

Welcome by Cynthia Yao, Regional Program Manager – R IX RPM


August 11, 2020

3:15 PM – 4:00 PM PT

Live Online

General Session, Closing & Keynote – Voices from the States Panel

Camille Maben

In December 2012, Camille Maben began serving in her current role as Executive Director of First 5 California. In that role, she is responsible for staffing the California Children and Families Commission, in addition to directing the work of the agency and its staff. Through her leadership, First 5 California is implementing several evidence-based and results-driven Signature Programs targeted to children, parents, and teachers that focus on quality.

Prior to her appointment at First 5 California, Camille served as the Division Director of the Child Development Division at the California Department of Education (CDE). Part of her responsibilities in that role included providing leadership and oversight to over 700 early care and education contractors with a $1.7 billion dollar budget. She most recently served as Co-Chair of the State Advisory Council on Early Learning and Care, and also helped win and implement the $52.6 million federal Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Grant.

She was previously appointed by the Governor to serve as Chief of Staff for the Office of the Secretary of Education. She worked closely with the Secretary on the coordination and development of the Governor’s education policy agenda.

In earlier work at CDE, Camille served as Division Director of the School and District Accountability Division. Her division included the No Child Left Behind Office, oversight of the Categorical Program Monitoring process, the Title I Policy and Partnerships Unit, and the English Learner Accountability Unit. She served as the Superintendent’s representative to the California Interscholastic Federation. Camille also served as Senior Advisor to former State Superintendent Delaine Eastin and has worked as a consultant to the Assembly Education Committee.

Camille currently serves as a school board member for the Rocklin Unified School District. She has served on the Rocklin Board for over 20 years.

Marilee Dal Pra

Marilee Dal Pra is Chief Executive Officer for First Things First. Prior to joining FTF, Marilee was Vice President for Programs at Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust, where she led the foundation’s community initiatives and strategic program development. She was a driving force behind efforts such as Read On Arizona, the state’s third grade reading initiative; BUILD, a multi-state partnership that supports early childhood systems building (now the work of the Arizona Early Childhood Alliance); The Kindergarten Experience, which offers professional development opportunities to kindergarten teachers statewide; and Maricopa Family Support Alliance, a collective of 70 independent agencies that work together to best serve families in need.

Previously, Dal Pra served as the director for the Governor’s Division for Children, where she coordinated policies and programs to improve conditions for Arizona’s children and families in partnership with professional organizations, business groups and policymakers. Her prior work experience also includes oversight of juvenile justice programs for the Governor’s Office and work to improve outcomes for women on probation. During her career, Dal Pra has served on a variety of national and local nonprofit boards, including serving as an original member of the FTF Central Phoenix Regional Council and serving as a gubernatorial and judicial appointee on several commissions and committees. She holds a Master’s Degree in Education from Northern Arizona University and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Arizona State University.


August 12, 2020

8:00 AM  – 9:00 AM PT

Live Online

General Session, Welcoming & Keynote – The Power of Kindness

Jason and Kim Kotecki

Jason Kotecki is an artist, author, and speaker who considers himself a professional reminderer and permission granter. He is also a husband, dad, Batman fan, Star Wars watcher, retro T-shirt wearer, and avid eater of sugar-laden cereal. Jason is the author of five books, including Penguins Can’t Fly +39 Other Rules That Don’t Exist. Through his inspirational thought leadership and humorous anecdotes, his mission is to demonstrate how the secrets of childhood are timeless.

He works with all kinds of organizations, sharing real-world strategies and practical ideas for driving innovation, preventing burnout, and achieving new levels of productivity. His content-rich programs are balanced with a refreshing mix of humor and emotion, serving as the perfect antidote for people who find themselves in a personal or professional rut.

In 2005, Jason and his wife Kim co-founded The Cure Adultitis Institute, a mission-based organization focused on the awareness and early detection of Adultitis. Through the website, artwork, books, speaking programs and other tools, they empower people to live fuller, richer lives in order to eradicate Adultitis.


August 12, 2020

3:15 PM  – 4:00 PM PT

Live Online

General Session, Closing & Keynote – Call to Action for the Babies

David Johns

David J. Johns is executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition. He is the former executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans. The Initiative works across federal agencies and with partners and communities nationwide to produce a more effective continuum of education programs for African American students.

Prior to joining the Department, Johns was a senior education policy advisor to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) under the leadership of Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa. Before working for the Senate HELP committee under Chairman Harkin, Johns served under the leadership of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass. Johns also was a Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Fellow in the office of Congressman Charles Rangel, D-N.Y.

Johns has worked on issues affecting low-income and minority students, neglected youth and early childhood education and with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). His research as an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow served as a catalyst to identify, disrupt and supplant negative perceptions of black males within academia and society. Johns is committed to volunteer services and maintains an active commitment to improve literacy among adolescent minority males.

Johns obtained a master’s degree in sociology and education policy at Teachers College, Columbia University, where he graduated summa cum laude while simultaneously teaching elementary school in New York City. He graduated with honors from Columbia University in 2004 with a triple major in English, creative writing and African American studies. Johns was named to the Root100 in both 2014 and 2013, selected as a member of the Ebony Power 100 in 2015 and received an early career award from Columbia University, Teachers College in 2016.



The Vision

All children, regardless of their circumstance at birth, deserve a full and prosperous life.

The Mission

  • Support high-impact Head Start programs for children and adults by creating opportunities for collaboration, networking and information sharing.
  • Unite with state and national Head Start organizations to ensure regulatory and budget outcomes that support our work.
  • Champion the message that every child and family who succeeds makes their community a better place.
  • Provide resources to assist our members in compliance and professional development.

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