The Oklahoma Partnership for School Readiness (OPSR) Foundation board has named Carrie Williams as the organization’s new executive director. Williams joined OPSR as chief operating officer in May and has been working alongside interim executive director Dr. Amy Emerson to ensure Oklahoma’s early childhood system remains strong, cohesive and vigilant against pandemic challenges. Dr. Emerson was named interim executive director in February following Debra Andersen’s almost 11-year tenure as executive director.
A native of Marlow, Okla., Williams is a graduate of the University of Central Oklahoma. Before coming to OPSR, she served seven years as executive director of Rainbow Fleet, a fifty-year-old nonprofit that improves access to child development programs and services for central Oklahoma families, children and child care providers. Williams has extensive experience in fundraising, human resources and state and federal grant compliance and a passion for early childhood programs.
“I am honored to be selected as the next leader of OPSR during a critical time for children in Oklahoma,” said Williams. “There are 2,000 days between birth and kindergarten, and 90% of the brain develops during this window. OPSR’s work to improve early childhood systems plays a key role in the availability of programs to support children and families in Oklahoma.”
OPSR also welcomes new Foundation board members Pam Gutel Campbell, AJ Griffin and Lucie Doll. Campbell is the director of public affairs for the Oklahoma City branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Griffin is the director of government and community affairs for Paycom and Doll is a program officer at Arnall Family Foundation. Campbell, Griffin and Doll join the eight-member Foundation board for three-year terms.
“As someone who has been part of the early childhood movement in Oklahoma since its inception, it is encouraging to be part of Oklahoma Partnership for School Readiness,” said Griffin. “They are a group that values and understands the need for investing in young children.”
“Everyone involved at OPSR has worked incredibly hard this year to make sure our state’s early childhood system is continuing to prepare our young children for school,” said Annie Koppel Van Hanken, the OPSR Foundation board president and a senior program officer at George Kaiser Family Foundation. “Carrie’s passion for young children, commitment to improving the field, relationships, work ethic and judgment are a winning combination and will enable her to shepherd the organization to the next phase of growth and impact.”