Director, Early Childhood Education Initiativesseveritt@childrenatrisk.org
Shay has lead CHILDREN AT RISK’s early childhood education (ECE) efforts since August 2015 with a significant focus on publicly-funded ECE systems. Shay and her team produce ground-breaking research to understand strengths and opportunities of our state’s ECE systems to help inform state and local policy. She participates in or convenes nearly a dozen coalitions at the local, state, and national levels in different aspects of ECE, including child health, quality programming, and the early childhood workforce. She regularly travels across Texas meeting with state and local stakeholders, child care providers, other ECE experts, and families. Shay is also an adjunct professor at the University of Houston-Downtown in the Nonprofit Management graduate degree program. She received a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Houston, where she focused on early childhood and family wellbeing issues. Shay also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Mass Communication. Prior to joining CHILDREN AT RISK, Shay worked for former Houston mayor Bill White for six years. Shay is passionate about giving children a healthy start to life and is excited to help CHILDREN AT RISK advocate for our youngest Texans.
What was your favorite book as a child?
I loved anything by Roald Dahl! Of course, the Babysitter’s Club series was a regular on my library list. I also really enjoyed summer reading assignments, so I have fond memories of Where the Red Fern Grows, The Giver, To Kill a Mockingbird, etc.
What is your dream for Texas children?
My dream is that all children have an equal opportunity to be successful and grow into healthy, productive adults. To make that possible, we need to change systems in order to support our most vulnerable children.