Skip to main content

The BUILD Initiative looks forward to celebrating 20 years of partnering with you on Building Systems, Improving Quality, Advancing Equity. #BUILD2022 will feature the visionary and long-haul work of teams of leaders across the country building early childhood systems that advance toward racial equity, center families and providers, and keep improving and adapting to our ever-changing context. We had hoped to be with you in person, but for everyone’s safety and health, we will host a virtual gathering.

#BUILD2022 will appeal to a broad audience with enough variety to energize QRIS leaders who want to (1) home in on improving their states’ systems to advance toward racial equity, (2) improve quality, and (3) inspire leaders seeking content that helps them better explore the connections between environmental racism, housing, and workforce pay equity. You’ll hear from community and county leaders as well as visionaries at the state level in the public sector and in advocacy roles.  We’ll make complex concepts like systems and alignment come alive as they crystallize into a feeling of connection and community.

This year’s plenary speakers will not disappoint. As in year’s past, when we have heard from prominent keynoters such as Nikole Hannah Jones, Ibram X. Kendi, Anna Deveare Smith, and Sarah Lawrence Lightfoot, we promise thought-provoking presenters who will help frame the conference. We’ll also have dozens of sessions that have been co-created with you—our state, community, and national partners—to bring you some of the most encouraging work going on in the field today. And, we’ll have small, interactive video chats where you can dig into a topic with colleagues.

The conference is designed to bring together a range of leaders from all levels including: state child care administrators, QRIS administrators, Head Start state and local leaders, technical assistance providers, coaches and mentors, quality improvement specialists, advocates, policy makers, evaluators and researchers, funders, higher education faculty, and early childhood systems leaders at the national, state, territory, tribal nation, and community levels.

Plenary Sessions:

Getting to the Heart of Early Childhood Systems Building: Starting with Families, Providers, Workforce and Communities
BUILD worked with Judy Tate, artistic director of the ASP Arts Collective, who commissioned the writing of three “mini-plays” inspired by quotes gathered from families and providers. In this session, vignettes from the plays will provide the foundation for a discussion among three state leaders. Moderated by BUILD State Services Co-Directors, Sherri Killins Stewart, Ed.D. and Carey McCann, the panel will consider how early childhood systems building can respond to families by increasing opportunities and removing barriers to access and benefit for Black, Latino/a/e, Native American, Immigrant and other marginalized children and their families. Jovan Perry, of Minnesota, Stephanie Jarem, of Oregon, and Sherrie Dueno, of South Carolina, will explore the root causes of inequities exposed in the plays; how data can help us understand issues; examples of leadership, structures, policies, and programs; and the roles we can all play to take more responsive action within the early childhood system.

The Sum of Us: A Conversation between Heather McGhee and Sherri Killins Stewart
In her critically acclaimed book, “The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together,” Heather McGhee explores what we lose when we buy into the zero-sum paradigm and the belief that progress for some of us must come at the expense of others. An expert on the US economy, McGhee illuminates how racism is at the root of some of our most vexing public problems, from collapsing infrastructure to rising student debt. In a conversation with Dr. Sherri Killins Stewart, BUILD’s Director of Systems Integration and Alignment, McGhee will discuss her book and what she has learned as an educator, advocate, public policy expert, and organizational consultant about how to address institutional and structural racism. The session will help define how we can channel her ideas into action and expand intentional efforts to create equitable early childhood systems that meet the needs of young children and families marginalized by institution and structures.

Lessons from Sesame Street: Sonia Manzano in Conversation with Miriam Calderón
You may know Sonia Manzano as “Maria” from Sesame Street, but do you know that she has a long list of accolades in addition to having shared screen time for more than 40 years with the world-famous Muppets? She has earned 15 Emmys for television writing, authored seven critically acclaimed books, and won many awards including the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Award and the Hispanic Heritage Award. One of her latest creations is the children’s show Alma’s Way, produced by Fred Rogers Productions and currently airing on PBS. In a conversation with Miriam Calderón, ZERO TO THREE’s Chief Policy Officer, Manzano will share her inspirational journey to becoming one of the most influential Latinas in television, lessons about inclusion, and the benefits of ensuring all children see themselves and their families reflected on television and in other media.

Breakout Sessions

Click here for the BUILD 2022 Agenda and Breakout Session descriptions.

Your all-access ticket includes: Interactive sponsor booths, a social wall for networking, an extensive agenda with three live plenary sessions, breakout sessions featuring live chat with the presenters, on-demand sessions, small facilitated video roundtable discussions, important resources, and a conference game in which you can win free tickets to next year’s conference and books by our plenary speakers. Your ticket also includes access to the conference platform through the end of 2022, so you can check out the sessions you missed.

Ticket Prices:
Late Registration 7/1-7/11………………………….$550

Organization Group Discount: Groups of 5 or more people from the same organization receive a discount of 10% (not combinable with other offers). This discount is only available until 6/30. Contact Dara Piltz at for details.


(All times are EST)
Day 1 – Monday, July 11
12:00-12:30 PM Welcome & Opening
12:30-1:30 PM Plenary
1:30-1:45 PM Break
1:45-2:45 PM Breakout Sessions
2:45-3:45 PM Sponsor & Exhibitor Receptions
3:45-4:00 PM Break
4:00-5:00 PM Plenary – Heather McGhee

Day 2 – Tuesday, July 12
11:30-11:45 AM Kick-Off
11:45 AM -12:45 PM Facilitated Video Roundtables
12:45-1:00 PM Break
1:00-2:00 PM Breakout Sessions
2:00-2:15 PM Break
2:15-3:15 PM Breakout Sessions
3:15-3:30 PM Break
3:30-4:30 PM Breakout Sessions
4:30-4:45 PM Wrap-Up

Day 3 – Wednesday, July 13
11:30-11:45 AM Kick-Off
11:45 AM -12:30 PM Facilitated Video Roundtables
12:30-1:30 PM Breakout Sessions
1:30-1:45 PM Break
1:45-2:45 PM Breakout Sessions
2:45-4:00 PM Closing Plenary

Explore More