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Meet ECCLA’s New Executive Director

Dear Councils, Funders and Partners,

I am excited to introduce Dr. Amy Williamson Payton as the next Executive Director for ECCLA! Dr. Payton comes to us most recently from Oklahoma State University and has worked her way from being a preschool teacher to conducting research in our field. She is described by many as a visionary leader who will help take ECCLA to the next level. We anticipate her starting in her new position in early January 2020 but hope to have her participate in a few things as we wrap up 2019 as her time allows. Please join me in welcoming Dr. Payton to the ECCLA team!


Stacy Petty, ECCLA Board President

Dr. Amy Williamson Payton has worked in the field of early care and education for over 20 years. She is joining ECCLA from the department of Human Development and Family Science at Oklahoma State University where she was the Ramona Ware Emmons Paul Professor in Early Childhood. This role included directing the Institute for Building Early Relationships, a collaborative institute with university, state, community partnerships focused on research, education and advocacy around the importance of early relationships.

She earned her doctorate in Human Development and Family Studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with an emphasis in early childhood development and education. She holds a master’s and bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from the University of Oklahoma.

Prior to academia, she worked in a variety of settings in the field including as an early childhood center director, teacher mentor, and early care and education teacher. All of these experiences inform her many research, outreach, and advocacy interests today. Her research at OSU focused on the development of early childhood relationships in the context of family and early education settings as well as teacher professional development and well-being. The overarching goal of her work to date has been to improve outcomes for young children and families through advocacy and education about the importance of early experiences and relationships between young children and the significant caregivers in their lives.

On a personal note, she enjoys hiking, cooking, reading, and spending time with her family and pets. Finally, and most importantly, she is very much looking forward to serving ECCLA as the Executive Director and joining other Colorado early childhood leaders in working to improve the well-being of Colorado’s young children and families.

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