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Cradle to K Cabinet Members

Mayor Hodges’ Cradle to K Cabinet includes a range of experts, community leaders, scholars, educators, and parents.

Peggy Flanagan, Executive Director of the Children's Defense Fund-Minnesota, and Carolyn Smallwood, Executive Director of Way to Grow, lead the work of the cabinet as co-chairs.

Peggy Flanagan joined the Children's Defense Fund-Minnesota as its Executive Director after eight years with Wellstone Action. An active community member, Flanagan served on the Minneapolis Board of Education from 2005 to 2009, becoming the first Native American and youngest individual to serve on that board. She also was on the Minneapolis Youth Coordinating Board. Flanagan is a citizen of the White Earth Nation of Ojibwe and a nationally recognized expert in nonpartisan voter mobilization and civic engagement, especially with Native American communities and people of color. She is a 2002 graduate of the University of Minnesota and holds a bachelor's degree in American Indian studies and child psychology.

Peggy Flanagan headshot 2

Carolyn Smallwood has been the Executive Director of Way to Grow since 2004, where she has pledged to be the voice for all Twin Cities children. She is a leader in the field of early education, serving as a board member for the United Way's Early Learning Committee and as an advisory board member of the University of Minnesota's Center for Early Education and Development. Currently she serves on the Governor's Early Learning Council. Smallwood is passionate about working with diverse communities and recognized for her inclusive leadership style and strong executive experience. She was once the vice president for Sales and Marketing at Twin Cities Rise! and executive director of the Minnesota Minority Supplier Development Council. Prior to entering the nonprofit field, she was a senior executive with ADC, the Broadband Company, and business banker at U.S. Bancorp.

Carolyn Smallwood headshot 2


Carolyn Smallwood, Co-Chair

Executive Director of Way to Grow

Peggy Flanagan, Co-Chair

Executive Director Children's Defense Fund-Minnesota

Mikkel Beckmen

Director of the Office to End Homelessness

Melvin Carter

Director, Office of Early Learning at the Minnesota Department of Education

Victor Cedeño      

Director of Networks and Education Policy, Generation Next

Pamela Gigi Chawla, M.D.

Senior Medical Director of Primary Care Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota

Sarah Clyne

Executive Director, Domestic Abuse Project

Ann DeGroot

Executive Director of the Minneapolis Youth Coordinating Board

Teresa Diaz Barcenas

Parent, Joyce Preschool

Andre Dukes

Family Academy Director, Northside Achievement Zoe

Frank Forsberg

Senior Vice President, Systems Change & Innovation, Greater Twin Cities United Way

Tonia Green

Parent Representative, Way to Grow

Richelle Hart-Peeler

Parent Representative, Northside Achievement Zone

Sharon Henry-Blythe

Director, Visible Child Initiative at the Family Housing Fund

Karen Kelley-Ariwoola

Chief Officer of Strategic Alliances at Harvest Network of Schools

Steven Knutson

Executive Director and CEO of Neighborhood Health Source Clinic

Denise Mayotte

Executive Director of The Sheltering Arms Foundation; Member of Start Early Funders Group

Scott McConnell

Professor, Education Psychology, University of Minnesota

Carol Miller

Senior Human Services Manager, Hennepin County

Gretchen Musicant

Director of Minneapolis Health Department

Art Rolnick

Senior Fellow and Co-Director of Human Capital Research Collaborative, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota

Maureen Seiwert

Executive Director, Early Childhood Education, Minneapolis Public Schools

Aaron Sojourner

Assistant Professor, Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota  

Jen Van Liew

Executive Director and CEO of Minnesota Visiting Nurse Agency

Barbara Yates

President and CEO, Think Small: Leaders in Early Learning; Chair, Governor’s Early Learning Council

Deby Ziesmer

Vice President of Early Childhood Education, YWCA

Donna Zimmerman

Senior vice president of Government and Community Relations, HealthPartners

Last updated Feb 27, 2015



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