Denise Smith Biography
Denise L. Smith is the interviewer for A Conversation about The Flint Water Crisis: The Impact of Environmental Racism on Children and Families and How Art Plays a Role in Advocating for Action pre-conference webinar.
Denise L. Smith
Denise is the first implementation director of Hope Starts Here Detroit Early Childhood Partnership. Denise brings to this role a wealth of experience as an early childhood leader in Detroit and throughout the state of Michigan, rooted in her deep, personal commitment to children, families, and community. Her visionary leadership will propel the implementation of Hope Starts Here to new levels of effectiveness.
As Implementation Director, Denise will be responsible for implementing the Hope Starts Here framework, which was developed through a year-long community engagement process that drew on more than 18,000 Detroit residents to identify priorities for the city’s early childhood development system. Reflecting Hope Starts Here’s commitment to a distributed leadership model, Denise’s primary role will be to facilitate connections between the many community-based organizations supporting Detroit’s young children and families, strengthening the network of early childhood partners behind a common vision and set of strategies that come together to form a coherent early childhood development system, striving for a Detroit that puts its young children and their families first.
Denise is a native Detroiter, and for more than six years has focused her efforts on collaborative, community-based work to improve the early childhood education and care system for children and families in our most vulnerable communities. She also sits as a co-chair of the executive committee for Michigan’s Pritzker Prenatal-to-Age-Three grant and serves as one of 13 appointees to Michigan’s PreK-12 Literacy Commission.
Before returning to her hometown to continue leadership in early childhood system-building, Smith served as the executive director of the Flint Early Childhood Collaborative and Educare Flint, a system-level address to the needs of young children and their families as a result of the Flint water emergency. Previous posts have included vice president of early learning at Excellent Schools Detroit, and director of Great Start to Quality, Michigan’s statewide and tiered quality rating and improvement system at the Early Childhood Investment Corporation.
Her expertise also includes extensive experience designing, managing and consulting of early learning and care programs. Denise completed her undergraduate work in both Communication and in French at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and her graduate degree in Human Development, Education Leadership and Infant Toddler Development, from Pacific Oaks College, CA.
Empowering the Early Childhood Workforce with the Environment Rating Scales Using LearnERS
Archived Webinar March 20, 2023
The ECE workforce is facing a staffing crisis and needs support. During this webinar, a panel of experts from Arkansas, New Jersey, and Rhode Island shared how they use LearnERS to support and empower the ECE workforce.
A Whole Family Systems Approach to Promoting Stability in Minnesota: A Conversation Between Mayors
Video March 16, 2023
In this video, a Mayoral panel have a conversation about their different approaches to guaranteed income work.
A Whole Family Systems Approach to Promoting Economic Stability in MN: Kasey Wiedrich
Video March 16, 2023
Kasey Wiedrich is the Financial Capability Manager in the Office of Financial Empowerment for the City of Saint Paul, MN. In this video, Kasey shares about the guaranteed income work happening in Saint Paul.