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First Things First Senior Policy Fellow: A Unique Opportunity for Early Childhood System Leaders

PHOENIX – (February 13, 2013) First Things First announces a unique opportunity for accomplished leaders in early childhood to use their experience to benefit young children in Arizona through a one year, part-time paid fellowship.

Applications are now being taken for the First Things First Senior Policy Fellowship, which allows individuals to innovatively address policy, financing or other systems issues in one of five focus areas: early childhood education; children’s health; family support and literacy; tribal family and child care policy; or, research and evaluation.

Established in Arizona in 2007, First Things First distributes more than $150 million in tobacco revenue annually and has become a leader in early childhood system innovation. Among the organization’s notable accomplishments are:

  • Development of a framework for the Arizona early childhood system, which includes key School Readiness Indicators and benchmarks designed to monitor progress.
  • Implementation of a comprehensive approach to quality early learning through Quality First, T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood Arizona and Professional REWARD$, impacting more than 41,000 young children statewide.
  • Design of a 5-year aggressive research and evaluation plan developed in partnership with an advisory panel of national experts.
  • Development of a framework and 2-year strategic plan for building Arizona’s early childhood professional development system.
  • Establishment of extensive partnerships with 19 of Arizona’s 22 federally recognized tribes.
  • Funding a continuum of parent support programs that provide information regarding early childhood development and health to caregivers of children 5 and younger at varying levels of intensity, including: kits for the parents of all newborns, a toll-free statewide warm line for all caregivers of young children, community-based parent education and home visitation.
  • Support for young children’s health through expanded access to preventive services such as developmental screening and oral health treatments, as well as parent education.

“This fellowship gives the individual an opportunity to leverage those successes and work in collaboration with key partners around the state,” said Rhian Evans Allvin, CEO of First Things First. “It really allows a seasoned professional to use their experience and expertise to focus on one or two key initiatives that affect significant change on behalf of young kids throughout Arizona.”

The individual selected will become part of an energetic team of exceptional early childhood professionals dedicated to working together in a fun, dynamic and fast-paced organization.

Sandy Foreman, the current FTF fellow, said she applied for the position because it gave her the opportunity to continue her life’s work with an organization that is changing the landscape for young kids in Arizona.

“After a 30 year career in early learning, I was ready to retire, but I wasn’t ready to give up the passion I have for this field,” Foreman said. “With the work I am doing on our child care quality improvement and rating system and financing early learning, I know I am affecting policy decisions that will impact generations of young Arizona children.”

Information and application materials for the First Things First Senior Policy Fellowship are available at www.azftf.gov/fellowship. First review of applications is on March 29, 2013.

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About First Things First – First Things First is a voter-created, statewide organization that funds early education and health programs to help kids be successful once they enter kindergarten. Decisions about how those funds are spent are made by local councils staffed by community volunteers. To learn more, please visit firstthingsfirst.org.

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