Helping to usher in universal preschool in Colorado
[ By Kendra Walker ]
Governor Jared Polis has appointed Gunnison Watershed School District’s own superintendent Leslie Nichols to the state’s Early Childhood Leadership Commission (ECLC).
The ECLC supports early childhood efforts as a statewide leader in advising policymakers. One of its roles is to advise and support the establishment of universal preschool in Colorado by the fall of 2023, which is supported by the statewide tobacco tax that was passed in 2019.
Nichols will serve for three years and is the only school district superintendent of the 20 members representing advocates and leaders in early childhood development, schools and municipalities, non-profits, businesses and various state departments.
“I am thrilled about the work, I am passionate about early childhood development issues and feel the Gunnison Valley is an excellent microcosm of challenges that rural early child education is facing in Colorado,” said Nichols. “So I feel having the perspective from the Gunnison Valley will be a great voice for rural Colorado in general as the state works to roll out universal preschool.”
She continued, “One of the big hopes for this office that I’m exited about is to streamline the experience for families trying to access not just preschool, but all types of services that exist for families with young kids. We’re looking at technology that will help create a better experience for families and trying to navigate the services. The investment that we make in early childhood and from birth to age 5 from a purely economic standpoint is incredible.”