Educational First Steps (EFS), whose mission is to increase the number of economically disadvantaged children receiving high-quality early childhood education, has named Vickie L. Allen as its new executive director. A seasoned nonprofit leader, Allen has extensive leadership, administration and fundraising experience that will help EFS prepare even more children for school and to graduate from high school and college.
Previously, Allen was senior vice president of development at United Way of Tarrant County. She has also worked for WiNGS and consulted in Texas and St. Paul, Minnesota. In St. Paul, she was an assistant professor/co-chair of the business department at St. Catherine University; co-founded Team Pact Consulting Group, which partnered with nonprofits, foundations and businesses; and worked for the Girl Scout Council of St. Croix Valley.
Allen also led the Minneapolis/St. Paul campus of the Jeremiah Program, a nationally recognized non-profit focused on eliminating generational poverty through education and employment. She led fundraising efforts and built relationships with philanthropic leaders that secured the organization financially. Allen has also served as a consultant for the Bush Foundation’s Leadership Fellows Program, mentoring more than 20 fellows to navigate and lead systemic change.
Allen began her career in sales for Fortune 500 companies and translated those skills to the nonprofit industry when she began volunteering and serving on boards for various nonprofits. Originally from Syracuse, New York, she received her bachelor’s degree in business and sociology from Ithaca College and a master’s in public administration from Harvard University.
Allen says, “Educational First Steps’ mission is closely aligned to my life’s work of helping organizations that focus on education, and particularly helping families understand that education is key to a better life. I look forward to working with the staff, board of directors and supporters to make sure that early childhood education is made available to even more children.”
Brett Kirstein, EFS board chairman, said, “We are very excited for Vickie to be joining Educational First Steps. She brings experienced leadership in operations and philanthropy, and she is passionate about growing the number of quality childhood education opportunities for at-risk children. As our organization seeks additional opportunities to grow our ability to serve more children and communities, we are confident Vickie can lead us there.”
Educational First Steps' mission is to increase the number of economically disadvantaged children receiving high-quality early childhood education through a results-driven program for becoming nationally accredited preschools, at no cost to the centers, teachers or parents. More than 6,700 at-risk children ages birth to 5 years old receive quality early education because of EFS’ investment. EFS, which started in South Dallas, has grown to serve Tarrant, Denton, Johnson, Collin and Grayson counties. More information can be found at http://educationalfirststeps.org/.