BBF Welcomes Four New Staff Members

We’re excited to introduce four new BBF team members: Michelle Kersey, Kate Bailey, Tanya LaChapelle, and Valerie Wood.

These new hires come as we ramp up our activities under “Vermont Integration Project: Building Integration in Vermont’s B-5 Early Childhood Systems (VIP B-5),” the three-year, $23 million federal Preschool Development Grant (PDG) awarded to Vermont at the start of this year.  The VIP B-5 will strengthen the state’s early childhood system, support the early childhood workforce, and improve the quality and availability of services for children from birth to age 8. Over the next three years, these four experienced professionals will help to put the grant funds to the best, most effective uses possible. 

Michelle Kersey joins us as the Vermont Early Childhood Fund Grant Manager. Launched in 2021, the Vermont Early Childhood Fund (VECF) will now expand considerably thanks to a VIP B-5 subgrant of $2 million annually for the next three years. Michelle has more than two decades of fundraising experience, most recently at a nonprofit affordable housing organization. She is passionate about social justice and ensuring equitable access to resources for everyone. Michelle holds a B.A. from Dartmouth College and serves on the Steering Committee of the Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition. She enjoys cooking, reading, fishing, mowing the lawn, and renovating a home in Chelsea, Vermont, with her partner John.

Kate Bailey is our new Partnership Coordinator, helping to foster accessible and efficient systems of communication and impact across the BBF Network. She holds a master’s degree in Health Advocacy with a focus on equity-based health policy and community organizing. Before BBF, Kate worked at Vermont Legal Aid. She currently serves on the South Burlington school board. Kate is an advocate for reproductive justice and works to support each person’s right to have a child or not and to raise children in a safe, healthy environment. She lives with her spouse, two dogs, and cat and enjoys biking, quilting, and traveling.

As Family Leadership Coordinator, Tanya LaChapelle supports BBF’s family leadership and partnership efforts, including the Families and Communities VECAP Committee. Tanya has a background in early childhood education, with recent fieldwork coaching and advising early childhood programs toward better outcomes for children and families. Tanya has served in committee roles focused on workforce development, quality improvement, partnership development, child health, and nutrition. She seeks to nurture parent partnerships and elevate parent leadership. Outside of work, Tanya loves reading and dabbling in art and nature. She resides in Colchester with her two children and some tropical fish.

Valerie Wood, our new Preschool Development Grant (PDG) Early Childhood Systems Evaluator, will work to evaluate Vermont’s early childhood system through an equity lens, examine short- and long-term child and family outcomes, and ensure that early childhood stakeholders have access to up-to-date data to guide best practices and decision-making. Valerie earned a M.S. and Ph.D. in Applied Social Psychology at Colorado State University, then worked for the Vermont Department for Children and Families’ Family Services Division and the Vermont Department of Mental Health. Most recently, she was a Research Assistant Professor at the University of Vermont’s Center on Disability and Community Inclusion. Valerie lives in Colchester with her husband, James, their two children, and a variety of four-legged family members. She enjoys playing board games, curling up with a good book, watching a good movie, trying new recipes, and enjoying Vermont’s hiking and biking trails.

Please join us in welcoming Michelle, Kate, Tanya, and Valerie.

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