Durham PreK Governance Committee

The Durham PreK Governance Committee serves to provide vision and direction to the Durham County preschool expansion effort. In June 2018, Durham County Commissioners voted to support and fund the creation of a system designed to expand opportunities for all 4-year-old children in Durham to attend high-quality early learning programs. Durham PreK focuses on providing families access to preschool programs meeting the highest standards for early learning. The Governance Committee is involved in advising and approving plans, strategies, standards and policies for Durham PreK. Content-specific advisory committees with wider membership/participation support particular focus areas requiring more intensive engagement and input. The intent of the Governance Committee and its advisory committees is to establish an inclusive, community-driven initiative that will enhance public will and engagement and strengthen the resulting system of preschool services developed through the initiative.

Governance Committee Chair, Dr. Iheoma Iruka

Iheoma U. Iruka, Ph.D., is the Chief Research Innovation Officer and Director of The Center for Early Education Research and Evaluation at HighScope Educational Research Foundation after tenure at FPG Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and the Buffett Institute at the University of Nebraska. Dr. Iruka is engaged in projects and initiatives focused on how evidence informed policies, systems, and practices in early education can support the optimal development and experiences of low-income and ethnic minority children, such as through family engagement and support, quality rating and improvement systems, and early care and education systems and programs. She has been engaged in addressing how best to ensure excellence for young diverse learners, especially Black children, such as through development of a classroom observation measure, examination of nontraditional pedagogical approaches, public policies, and publications geared towards early education practitioners and policymakers. Dr. Iruka has served or serves on numerous national boards and committees, including the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine committees on Supporting Parents of Young Children, and Applying Neurobiological and Socio-behavioral Sciences from Prenatal through Early Childhood Development: A Health Equity Approach.

Vice-Chair, Leigh Bordley

Ms. Bordley has over twenty-five years of experience working with nonprofits on a variety of social justice issues. She graduated from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill in 1983. She holds a Masters of Social Work degree from the University of Maryland (1986). She has worked for a variety of nonprofits addressing racism, literacy and poverty, including Frankford Human Relations Coalition and Literacy South. In 1998, she founded Partners for Youth, a multi-year intensive mentoring program, which pairs low-income teens with teams of mentors to support their graduation from high school and college. She led the organization for thirteen years. From June 2008-2016, she served as the At-Large Representative to the Board of Education for Durham Public Schools. In July 2012, she joined LEAP as the Executive Director. Ms. Bordley is motivated by the power of education to create a more just and peaceful world.

Secretary, Dr. Wykeshia Glass

Wykeshia Glass, Assistant Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Human Sciences at North Carolina Central University, received her Bachelor of Science degree in Child Development from Alcorn State University and Master of Science and Doctorate degree in Early Childhood Education from Jackson State University. As an Assistant Professor at North Carolina Central University, Dr. Glass teaches undergraduate, graduate, and online courses, advises graduate students, engages in scholarly research and professional development, serves on departmental committees, and completes other duties and responsibilities as assigned by the chair or dean.

Durham PreK Governance Committee 2018 – 2020

Voting members:
  • Peggy Ball, CCSA Board Chair
  • Leigh Bordley, Executive Director for LEAP
  • Cathy Collie-Robinson, Durham’s Partnership for Children Board Chair and Durham Technical Community College Early Childhood Director
  • Deric Boston, Director of Durham Head Start and Early Head Start, Chapel Hill Training Outreach Project
  • Xavier Cason, Durham Public Schools Foundation Director of Community Schools and School Transformation
  • Wendell Davis, Durham County Manager
  • Dr. Anna Gassman-Pines, Associate Professor at Duke University, Sanford School of Public Policy and Associate Director of the Center for Child and Family Policy
  • Dr. Wykeshia Glass, Professor of Early Childhood Education at North Carolina Central University
  • Dr. Nakia Hardy, Deputy Superintendent at Durham Public Schools
  • Dr. Iheoma Iruka, Chief Research Innovation Officer and Director of the Center for Early Education Research and Evaluation, Highscope Educational Research Foundation
  • Tammy Jacobs, Educational Program Manager of Resident Services, Durham Housing Authority
  • Michelle Lyn, Director of Community Health, Duke University Health System
  • Karen McLeod, Durham County Public Health (Program Supervisor for Care Coordinator for Children, designated member by the Director of Public Health)
  • Beth Messersmith, Mom’s Rising
  • Darnella Warthen, Owner and Director of A New Beginning I, II, III and IV
  • June Shillito, Director of Yates Baptist Child Development Center
Other non-voting members:
  • Drew Cummings, Chief of Staff, Durham County
  • Cate Elander, Durham County Early Childhood Coordinator at Durham County Government
  • Marsha Basloe, President of CCSA
  • Dr. Linda Chappel, Senior Vice President of CCSA
  • Danielle Johnson, Executive Director of Durham’s Partnership for Children
  • Dr. Alex Livas-Dlott, Durham PreK Manager, CCSA

Governance Meeting Agendas and Notes