Opening Keynote Tuesday May 6, 10:30am: Al Race
Al Race is the Deputy Director of the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University and Director of Communications and Public Engagement. Part of the senior leadership team, he helps to formulate, revise, and operationalize the Center’s strategic vision and ensures alignment of its projects, initiatives, and products. His responsibilities include overall thought leadership for knowledge translation, public engagement, and impact evaluation for the Center and its initiatives, including the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, the National Forum on Early Childhood Policy and Programs, Frontiers of Innovation, and the Global Children’s Initiative. He has worked with scientists, researchers, policymakers, practitioners, business leaders, advocates, and students to improve understanding and more effective communication of the science of child development in order to inform policies that build the foundations of school achievement, economic prosperity, and healthy communities. The videos and other content on the Center's web site drew more than 450,000 visits last year, from all 50 states and 200 countries around the world.
Opening Keynote: Linda K. Smith (invited)
Linda K. Smith is the Deputy Assistant Secretary and Inter-Departmental Liaison for Early Childhood Development for the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In this role she provides overall policy coordination for the Head Start and Early Head Start Program and the Child Care and Development Fund, as well as serving as the liaison with the U.S. Department of Education and other federal agencies. Her office serves as a focal point for early childhood policy at the federal level.
Smith previously served as the executive director for the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (NACCRRA), where she represented more than 650 community-based agencies concerned with the care of children in their earliest years. Linda Smith led the organization through significant growth and transformation- she was the driving force behind NACCRRA's national policy agenda and strategic plan to improve the quality of child care nationwide. Key components of NACCRRA's advocacy efforts included strengthening child care licensing and oversight, requiring comprehensive background checks, and establishing minimum training requirements for all child care workers.
Prior to joining NACCRRA, Smith served as a legislative fellow and professional staffer on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee under the Chairmanship of the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy. Prior to this work, she was the director of the Office of Family Policy for the Secretary of Defense, where she was one of the primary architects of the military's child care program. Additionally, Linda Smith has held positions with both the United States Army and United States Air Force.
Smith began her career in early childhood education on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in her native state of Montana. She is a graduate of the University of Montana.
Closing Keynote Thursday May 8, 12:45pm: Wes MooreWes Moore is a youth advocate, Army combat veteran, social entrepreneur, Rhodes Scholar, and host of Beyond Belief on the Oprah Winfrey Network. His first book "The Other Wes Moore" became an instant New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller.
Born in 1978, Wes and his sisters were raised by their widowed mother. Despite early academic and behavioral struggles, he graduated Phi Theta Kappa in 1998 as a commissioned officer from Valley Forge Military College, and Phi Beta Kappa from Johns Hopkins University in 2001, where he also played football and earned a bachelor’s degree in International Relations. He then became a Rhodes Scholar, studying International Relations at Oxford University.
After his studies, Wes, a paratrooper and Captain in the United States Army, served a combat tour of duty in Afghanistan with the 1st Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division. Wes then served as a White House fellow to Secretary of State Condeleezza Rice. He serves on the board of the Iraq Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), The Johns Hopkins University, and founded an organization called STAND! that works with Baltimore youth involved in the criminal justice system.
Wes is committed to helping the parents, teachers, mentors, and advocates who serve our nations youth. A portion of all book proceeds for “The Other Wes Moore” are being donated to City Year and the US Dream Academy.