Partner Letter: April 14, 2021

Dear ELD partner,

I wanted to reach out to let you know that my time at the Early Learning Division (ELD) will be coming to a close at the end of April. I have accepted a position with the Biden-Harris Administration to work on early childhood policy. As announced earlier this week, Alyssa Chatterjee will serve as the Acting Director of ELD beginning May 1, 2021.

When I arrived in 2017, I could not have imagined how far we could go to elevate early childhood in Oregon. I am particularly proud of our work to develop the Raise Up Oregon plan, which brought different sectors and communities together to address equity and to focus on the critical first 2,000 days of a child’s life. Another high point is the passage of the Student Success Act, which doubled our state’s investments in early learning and serves as a powerful acknowledgement that learning begins at birth.

While the pandemic brought unprecedented challenges for children, families, and child care providers, particularly in BIPOC communities due to historical and persistent racism, we’ve also witnessed incredible resilience in our communities. The resilience, passion, and hope within Oregon communities signals positive changes ahead. I hope that one of the lessons we’ve all learned is that child care and birth to five educators are essential and must be respected and compensated for the important work they do. It’s the key to lifting families into opportunity and supporting healthy child development.

While I may not be here to celebrate new milestones with you, there are many exciting opportunities ahead. Thanks to new state investments, federal stimulus dollars, and our Preschool Development Grant, there are resources in the next several years to enhance our regional early learning systems in ways that will better support families, early learning partners, and providers. And, just this week, an important bill passed out of committee that brings us one step closer to transitioning ELD to a new Department of Early Learning and Care that will allow Oregon to dream even bigger about what is possible for children and families.

During this chapter in our state’s early learning journey, it has been an honor to serve. Thank you for your partnership and for all you do for our state’s young children and families. I will miss you and this work so much, and will carry all that I’ve learned here into my new role.


With gratitude,

Miriam Calderon

Oregon Early Learning System Director

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