Educare DC works across our community – at our flagship school in Parkside-Kenilworth, through our Early Head Start – Child Care Partners, and at new our expansion site (coming in 2021). Together we share a common vision: that all children – regardless of race or socioeconomic status – receive the strong start in life that they deserve. Each of us has a role in creating nurturing educational environment that ignites students’ love of learning and sets the stage for their lifelong success. Our leadership team is proud to guide and support this work.
As president and chief executive officer, Pyper Davis is responsible for the overall strategy and performance of Educare DC. Since joining in September 2014, Ms. Davis has led the organization to achieve significant performance milestones, including receiving national accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), initiating Educare DC’s Pre-K Enhancement and Expansion Program, and attaining highest designation (High Quality) in Washington DC’s Capital Quality system. Under Ms. Davis’ leadership, Educare DC has expanded its’ impact and voice in the District, including receiving two significant Head Start grants enabling the organization to more than double the number of children and families served. During her tenure, Educare DC has also established a formal advocacy presence, conducted training for hundreds of early educators, and most recently launched the Early Educator Fellowship, a unique opportunity for front-line early educators across DC to build their professional networks and skills. Prior to joining Educare, Ms. Davis spent more than 10 years as the chief operating officer of The SEED Foundation, where she helped build the nation’s only network of public, college-preparatory boarding schools. Ms. Davis spent the first 16 years of her career in the for-profit business sector, including nine years in the television business, primarily as an executive with The News Corporation, working in both a strategic and operational capacity in London, New York, Los Angeles and Asia. Among her achievements were the successful creation of two joint ventures in Asia, the launch of Fox’s new cable sports business, Fox Sports Net, and the relaunch of cable network, FIT TV, where she served as president. Ms. Davis’ experience also includes several years as a principal with Katalyst LLC, where she provided consulting and private equity fundraising for early-stage technology companies, and as a financial analyst with Morgan Stanley & Co., Inc. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Princeton University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. She served as a trustee of Princeton University from 2011-2015. Ms. Davis is a Pahara-Aspen Fellow, a fellowship supporting high potential leaders who are reimagining public education, and a fellow from the inaugural cohort of Seeding Disruption, which is focused on disrupting patterns of inequity in education across DC.
Jamal Berry is Educare’s vice president of programs. In 2013, Mr. Berry began his career with Educare as an infant and toddler Master Teacher. He earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Pedology from Bowie State University. At George Washington University, he earned a master’s degree in Early Childhood Education and a Specialist of Education degree in Leadership and Early Childhood Special Education. Over the years, Mr. Berry has applied his knowledge of leadership and early childhood development to steer Educare DC to earning high quality program ratings and to earning accreditation with the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Mr. Berry is an advocate for young children as well as for early childhood educators. He is a contributor to New America’s recent blog Moving Beyond False Choices for Early Childhood Educators and he serves as the chair of the DC Head Start Association. Mr. Berry believes wholeheartedly that if everyone does a little, no one has to do a lot. He is passionate about the future of early childhood education and is focused on having a lasting impact on the lives of early childhood professionals and families with young children. Educare DC is proud to have such passionate leadership, which allows us to inspire, create, and grow professionals and programs.
Michael Truesdale is the school director at Educare DC. Mr. Truesdale has an extensive background in Early Head Start and Head Start programs having held many different roles throughout his career, from classroom teacher to instructional specialist to center director. He holds a master’s degree in human services from Capella University and a bachelor’s in non-profit administration from the University of South Carolina Upstate. Mr. Truesdale believes that each child is a unique individual and his model is to be sensitive to each of their social, emotional, intellectual, and physical needs. He feels strongly in providing developmentally appropriate programs that focus on the process of learning and helping children enjoy successful experiences. As the school director at Educare Dc he encourages not just learning, but the love of learning. Mr. Truesdale is a resident of Washington DC living and working in the Ward 7 community where he advocates for all children and families not only through his work at Educare DC but as a board member of DCAEYC, an affiliate of National Association for the Education of Young Children.
Barbara Ledyard joined Educare DC in August 2020 as vice president of finance and administration. In this role she serves on the senior leadership team with direct responsibility for finance, human resources, procurement and compliance management. With 20 years of experience in nonprofit administration, Ms. Ledyard brings non-profit expertise in administering federal contracts, fiscal oversight, outcomes measurement, capacity building, operational processes, training and technical assistance. Her work has intentionally centered around anti-poverty programming and she is an advocate of two-generational approaches to reducing poverty. Prior to her current position, Ms. Ledyard served as senior program manager with the Housing and Homeless Division of Catholic Charites, ensuring fiscal, operational, and administrative program compliance of permanent supportive housing programs. Prior to Catholic Charities, she served as project director at the Community Action Partnership providing fiscal oversight of the Supportive Services for Veteran Families Program which focused on housing homeless veterans and their families. As part of this role, she also assisted with the coordination and provision of training and technical assistance to a national network of over 1,000 Community Action Agencies. Ms. Ledyard also previously served as senior support manager with Cincinnati-Hamilton County Community Action Agency where she ensured Head Start program compliance with Federal Performance Standards. Her past experiences also include leading agency-wide initiatives centered on community needs assessments, program evaluations, racial equity, community collaborations, and strategic planning. Ms. Ledyard earned both a Master of Science in Public Policy and Administration, and a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from Jackson State University, Jackson, MS.
Shaunda Clark-White joined Educare DC in 2014 as a family engagement specialist and became director of family engagement in 2019. As director of family engagement, Ms. Clark-White oversees the implementation enrollment recruitment and direct family engagement services that help lead to families becoming self-sufficient. She has worked in the field of family services for 15 years serving families in early childhood programs by providing case management and home visiting services. Prior to joining Educare DC, Ms. Clark-White worked for the District of Columbia Early Intervention Program where she served parents of children birth to three with special needs. She worked with families to help them understand, navigate and become advocates for their children. Ms. Clark-White holds a Bachelor of Science in pedology (child and adolescent studies) from Bowie State University and in August of 2020, she will obtain her master’s in Human and Social Services with a concentration in Community and Social Services from Walden University.
Patricia Dela Torre has been a part of Educare DC since its conception in 2012. She started as a family engagement specialist and was later promoted to Health Coordinator. Currently, Ms. Dela Torre is the Director of Comprehensive Services. She started as a Head Start parent, where she became the chairperson and PTA President at Brightwood EC, and now has more than ten years of experience working in an Early/Head Start program. She helped co-found DC Health Management Network and now sits as co-chairperson. She earned her master’s in Human Services and counseling from Liberty University in 2015. In order to widen her knowledge in comprehensive health services in early childhood, she took a Child Care Health Advocate course from Northampton Community College and Health Services Supervisor Credential from Head Start University. She also took a Strength-Based Leadership certification from Temple University to hone her into her new position. It is her belief that children learn better when they are healthy, and that then when they are educated they can choose to be healthier.
Talia Newman joined Educare DC in June 2014 as one of the preschool master teachers. She has served in the educational field for 14 years and has worked in various child care centers and elementary schools in Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Prince George’s County, and Maryland. Ms. Newman has experience working with children from newborn to eighth grade. She has taught, tutored and mentored high school students who aspired to become early childhood educators. Ms. Newman graduated magna cum laude from Towson University where she earned her Bachelor of Science in early childhood education, received her Master of Education in elementary education from Bowie State University, and enrolled in an Administrator I certification program through the Instructional Leadership Professional Development Department at Towson University. As the director of early head start partnerships, she aims to provide the Child Care Partnership staff with high-quality professional development to encourage exemplary instruction and compliance monitoring, as well as guiding all of our participating Early Head Start Child Care Partnership professionals toward the goal of meeting the needs of the most at risk children and families while meeting Head Start Program Performance Standards.
Syritha Robinson recently joined Educare DC in the fall of 2019 as the organization’s first advocacy director. She is responsible for leading Educare DC’s federal and local early childhood advocacy work – including representing Educare DC and working with other coalitions, such as DC Under 3, and identifying hearings that staff and parents can advocate for better early childhood education. Previously, she worked at Education Trust, where she managed a portfolio of diverse state and local partnerships working to close the opportunity gap by leveraging the Every Student Succeeds Act. She also supported the Education Trust in launching their early childhood portfolio of work. Prior to that Syritha was an education policy analyst at National Governors Association and a middle school teacher. She received both her bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of Connecticut and JD from George Washington University.
Ms. Hannah Urrey joined Educare DC in October 2016 as the organization’s first development director and member of the senior leadership team. In this role, Ms. Urrey has created a robust fundraising operation from the ground up, including creating new operational infrastructure, building relationships with foundations and individual donors, and engaging the board of directors to support ambitious fundraising growth. In her first three years, she raised more than $2.6M in charitable contributions, more than doubling the organization’s annual charitable revenue. She also oversees external communications, including print, digital, social media, and in 2019 led the organization’s website redesign. Previously, Ms. Urrey served as associate for communications in the Office of Gift Planning at the University of Maryland, College Park, and in various fundraising and communication capacities at Friends of the National Arboretum. She holds a bachelor’s degree in theatre with a certificate in nonprofit management from Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia. She recently completed Princeton AlumniCorps’ professional development program, Emerging Leaders, which supports leaders in the nonprofit and public sectors as they develop leadership capabilities and management skills to advance their professional contributions.
Kiyana Morgan joined Educare DC in 2014 as an infant and toddler assistant teacher, and was promoted to lead teacher in 2015. She currently serves at the professional development coordinator, where she works with deputy director, Jamal Berry, in supporting Educare DC’s external training efforts and coordinates all onboarding and orientation for new staff. Ms. Morgan is trained on all four modules of the Educare Best Practice trainings and is currently working on her Infant Specialist Certification from Erikson Institute. She has over 10 years of progressive experience in the field of education, including four full terms as both Corps Member and Team Lead at Jumpstart for Young Children Incorporated via AmeriCorps with children ages 3 of age to 5, assistant teacher and director intern at the UDC Lab School and as a tutor with Martha’s Table. She holds a Bachelor of Art in human development and a Masters of Art in early childhood education, both from the University of the District of Columbia.