About Us

OUR VISION

All four-year-old children in Forsyth County will have the opportunity to enroll in an affordable, high-quality Pre‑K program.

MISSION STATEMENT

To educate, engage, and mobilize the public and secure the commitment of civic leaders to support the establishment of a high-quality system of Pre‑K programs available to all four-year-olds in Forsyth County.

WHO WE ARE

The Pre-K Priority was formed in 2014 by a group of early childhood professionals to explore how to improve the quality and number of early childhood programs available in Forsyth County. Since then, we’ve grown to include an ever-expanding number of participants who share a commitment to making high-quality, affordable Pre‑K available to every four-year-old.

What we do

We work to educate and advocate for affordable, high-quality Pre‑K programs and establish standards for a comprehensive system. We provide research on the current state of Pre‑K in Forsyth County as it relates to the state and national level, and the reasons why more investment is needed.

In April 2019, we released a report and recommendations for high-quality Pre‑K expansion, including quality standards, projected costs and a timeline for rollout. The Pre‑K Priority invites community support and input and seeks the commitment of public officials, business leaders, and neighborhood champions to bring about successful Pre‑K expansion.

our approach

The Pre‑K Priority is building a grassroots movement to support high-quality Pre‑K expansion. We’re also working directly with community leaders to turn them into champions. The good news is, we don’t have to start from scratch. There are many Forsyth County leaders and residents who already understand the importance of investing in high-quality Pre‑K. We are building on the solid standards and best practices of current programs funded by the North Carolina Pre‑K Program (NC Pre‑K) provided in classrooms in Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools, at Family Services Head Start program, and in private community childcare centers.

We’re taking what’s promising and making it better. We’re encouraging those who “get it” to join us and in turn encourage others.

That’s where you come in!

Steering committee

The Pre‑K Priority Steering Committee oversees and coordinates activities leading to the adoption and implementation of an expanded, high-quality Pre‑K system in Forsyth County by:

Providing leadership for work groups as the groups refine, add, and implement recommendations

Reviewing and approving recommendations for the implementation, administration and evaluation of an expanded Pre-K system

Guiding and supporting education and advocacy activities

Increasing the number of individuals, community groups, organizations, and civic leaders committed to Pre-K expansion

Claudia
Barrett
Executive Director,
Imprints Cares
Kelly
Bendheim
Director,
WS/FCS Office of Early Learning
Executive Director,
Project Impact
Joe
Crocker
Director of Local Impact in Forsyth County,
Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust
Bob
Feikema
President & CEO,
Family Services
Sabrina
Hinton
Owner/Operator,
North Point Academy & TLC Learning Academy
Professor & Supervisor of Student Teaching,
Winston-Salem State University
Katura
Jackson
Executive Director,
Child Care Resource Center
Charlette
Lindell
Executive Director,
The Forsyth Promise
Jackie
Lofton
Interim Executive Director,
Smart Start of Forsyth County
Vanessa
Sawyer-Wilson
Teaching & Learning Services Coordinator,
Smart Start of Forsyth County
Trina
Stephens
Manager,
Great Expectations, MDC
Elizabeth
White
Deputy Director,
Forsyth County Department of Social Services
Jenny
Whitley
Chief Educational Officer/Director of Teaching & Learning Services,
Smart Start of Forsyth County

work groups

Evaluation Work Group

Austin
Cavanaugh
Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools
Brandi
Covington
Family Services
Sarah
Heinemeier
Compass Consulting Group
Linda
Hestenes
University of North Carolina - Greensboro
Steve
Hestenes
University of North Carolina - Greensboro
Emily
Lamquaye
Family Services
Sharon
Mims
University of North Carolina - Greensboro
Dana
Sandknop
Smart Start of Forsyth County

Public Education & Engagement Work Group

Bob
Feikema
Family Services
Nora
Ferrell
Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust
Meredith
Flowe
The Centers for Exceptional Children
Sharon
Frazier
Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools
Michael
Lawless
NC Pre-K Committee
Jackie
Lofton
Smart Start of Forsyth County
Doug
Punger
NC Pre-K Committee
Odette
Sanchez
Latino Community Services
Shelley
Sizemore
Wake Forest University
Michelle
Speas
Family Services
Betty
West
Imprints Cares

System Implementation & Administration Work Group

Kelly
Bendheim
WS/FCS Office of Early Learning
Terri
Burris
Child Care Network
Joe
Crocker
Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust
Cate
Elander
Great Expectations, MDC
Bob
Feikema
Family Services
Paula
Grubbs
Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools
Katura
Jackson
Child Care Resource Center
Kim
McClure
YMCA of Northwest North Carolina
Doug
Punger
NC Pre-K Committee
Vivien
Stearns
Family Services
Therresa
Stephens
Church Childcare
Jenny
Whitley
Smart Start of Forsyth County

Workforce Education & Training Work Group

Donna
Bell
Child Care Resource Center
Makisha
Burns
Smart Start of Forsyth County
Shirley
Bynum
Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools
Brandi
Covington
Family Services
Beth
Day-Hairston
Winston-Salem State University
Sabrina
Hinton
North Point Academy & TLC Learning Academy
Sheryl
Long
Salem College
Vanessa
Sawyer-Wilson
Smart Start of Forsyth County
Okeyma
Wright
Child Care Network
Phygenia
Young
Forsyth Technical Community College

Our Partners

Bethlehem Community Child Care Center

Child Care Network

Child Care Resource Center

Church Child Care Center

Forsyth County Department of Social Services

Forsyth Technical Community College

Family Services / Head Start

Imprints Cares

Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust

MDC

North Carolina Justice Center

North Point Academy & TLC Learning Academy

Salem College

Smart Start of Forsyth County

The Centers for Exceptional Children

The Forsyth Promise

Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce

The Winston-Salem Foundation

Winston-Salem State University

Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools & Project Impact

YMCA of Northwest North Carolina