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Gov. Malloy Appoints David Wilkinson to Serve as Commissioner of the Office of Early Childhood

David Wilkinson
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(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced that he is appointing David Wilkinson of Hartford to serve as Commissioner of the state’s Office of Early Childhood (OEC).

Wilkinson most recently served as Director of the White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation under President Barack Obama. In this position, he led efforts to identify and scale better, more effective social solutions, advancing presidential priorities that strengthened communities and enabled upward economic mobility. Wilkinson made early childhood a core focus of his White House office, successfully promoting policies and programs to get better results for children. He also previously served President Obama’s White House as Senior Policy Advisor.

“One of my top priorities as Governor is to strengthen the state’s role in ensuring that students are prepared for twenty-first century careers upon graduation – and one of the best ways to do that is to ensure that Connecticut’s children get a good start by accessing quality preschool,” Governor Malloy said. “The state’s recently created Office of Early Childhood is working to help us close the achievement gaps that have persisted for too long in our state and ensure that all of Connecticut’s children arrive at school ready to learn, regardless of their family’s income or zip code. Through his work in the White House, David Wilkinson has mobilized data-driven, evidence-based policies that advance economic opportunity and equity for the families who are served by the Office of Early Childhood. I am thrilled that he has agreed to take on this new responsibility and I look forward to working with him and all of the early childhood stakeholders to advance this mission.”

“Under the Governor’s leadership, Connecticut has made significant investments in education, including funding thousands of new seats in early learning programs throughout the state,” Lt. Governor Wyman said. “The Office of Early Childhood helps ensure that every child gets an early education experience and a strong foundation to build on. It’s a pleasure to welcome David to the team.”

“I am honored to be nominated by Governor Malloy to serve Connecticut’s young children and families at this important new agency,” Wilkinson said. “At the White House, I had the opportunity to work with many states. None was more innovative, more creative, more dedicated to serving its citizens effectively than the State of Connecticut under Governor Malloy. So I jump at the chance to join the Governor’s team. I observed with enthusiasm his creation of this new agency. OEC is already an example for the nation on how to better serve the needs of children and families who are overburdened and under-resourced. I look forward to carrying forward this mission, alongside the dedicated and talented OEC staff, and with a laser focus on results and equity.”

While at the White House, Wilkinson worked closely with the Malloy Administration on signature early childhood efforts, including a first-of-its-kind initiative – scaling a program proven to reduce parental substance use and child welfare interaction – for which the administration has achieved national acclaim. He also worked with the state to support and grow the New Haven MOMS partnership, providing more responsive service delivery to get better results for low-income moms and their children.

He serves as an advisor to the Yale Child Study Center, a leading collaborator with the state and its early childhood service providers. He will advise the center on how it can best support the state’s and OEC’s goals, working with the center and its partners to achieve better outcomes for Connecticut's vulnerable children and families.

Prior to his work at the White House, Wilkinson served as Executive Director of City First Enterprises, a federally regulated nonprofit bank holding company and incubator of community development solutions supporting low-income families. He also helped lead successful efforts to advance equitable community development in New Haven, and has served as Executive Director of Common Cause New Jersey.

He received a B.A. in Political and Social Thought from the University of Virginia, and a J.D. from Yale Law School.

“I also want to give a special thank you to Linda Goodman, who has served as the agency’s Acting Commissioner over the last six months,” the Governor said. “A model public servant with 40 years of service to Connecticut’s children, Linda helped launch the OEC and unify early childhood efforts.”

Governor Malloy created the OEC in 2013 in order to provide the state with a comprehensive, collaborative system for delivering improved programs and services to children from birth to five years old and their families. The agency’s mission is to support all young children in their development by ensuring that early childhood policy, funding, and services strengthen the critical role that families, providers, educators, and communities play in a child’s life.

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