Columbia, S.C. – Parents as Teachers, the nation’s most replicated home visiting, early childhood development, and parenting education program, has appointed Georgia Mjartan, executive director of South Carolina First Steps and the South Carolina Early Childhood Advisory Council (ECAC), to its national Board of Directors where she will serve a three-year term.
The Parents as Teachers board sets the organization’s strategic direction, develops policies, and engages in research design and dissemination. Its members bring their personal and professional interests in ensuring the healthy development of young children and families at local, state, and national levels.
“It is a tremendous honor to serve on the board of Parents as Teachers,” said Mjartan. “This is an organization that has national and international reach, impacts hundreds of thousands of children annually, and has rigorous scientific research backing the model and its long-lasting, brain-building impacts.”
“I have seen first-hand how important this program is for children and their parents right here in South Carolina. I have spent time shadowing parent educators and listening to moms and dads who have shared the impact that Parents as Teachers has had on their families. I am so grateful for the opportunity to lend my experience, insights, and voice on the national board,” Mjartan added.
South Carolina First Steps is a state agency and a nonprofit, a public-private partnership that directly reaches more than 50,000 children birth through age five across South Carolina annually. Through the Early Childhood Advisory Council, Mjartan leads a multi-agency coalition of state and federally funded public entities serving young children.
In this role, she pioneered the development of a first-in-the-nation technology solution, First5SC.org, that streamlines eligibility and application for dozens of publicly funded early childhood programs, attracting more than 100,000 unique visitors in its first year and successfully linking 79 percent of users to programs for which they are eligible. Among the many early childhood programs families can find and apply for on this portal, visitors can easily connect with the Parents as Teachers program, which is available in more than two dozen counties across the state.
Parents as Teachers President and CEO Constance Gully said she is happy that Mjartan has chosen Parents as Teachers and is pleased to welcome her to the board.
“We are pleased to welcome Georgia to our board, and we especially value the wealth of experience and passion she has for strengthening children and families,” said Gully. “Her presence will enrich our current board of directors’ skills and experiences and we are confident that she will provide valuable perspectives as we continue to build strong communities, thriving families and children that are healthy, safe, and ready for school. We look forward to her contributions.”
Prior to her move to South Carolina, Mjartan spent more than a decade leading Our House, a large-scale anti-poverty program in Arkansas that empowers extremely low-income and homeless families and individuals to succeed in the workforce, school, and life. Under her leadership, the organization dramatically expanded – doubling the units of available housing and shelter and growing to include homelessness prevention, two-gen whole family supports, a quality-rated early learning center, an out-of-school time program, workforce training and re-entry from incarceration programs, adult education, and financial literacy.
Mjartan has a Master of Science in Public Affairs from the University of Ulster (UK) and bachelor’s degrees in English and Political Science from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She is a recipient of the Ascend Fellowship at the Aspen Institute, the Fannie Mae Fellowship at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and the Mitchell Scholarship for graduate study.
About Parents as Teachers
Parents as Teachers matches parents and caregivers with trained professionals who make regular personal home visits during a child’s earliest years in life, from pregnancy through kindergarten. The internationally recognized evidence-based home visiting model is backed by 40 years of research-proven outcomes for children and families. Parents as Teachers currently serves nearly 200,000 families in all 50 U.S. states, 115 Tribal organizations, five other countries, and one U.S. territory. Parents as Teachers National Center, Inc., is a non-profit organization headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri.
Parents as Teachers 1,000 affiliates are family-focused organizations that have chosen the Parents as Teachers home visiting model as one of the services they offer to families with small children. Affiliates operate year-round, providing monthly personal visits to families and group connections focused on parent-child interaction, development-centered parenting, and family well-being.
About South Carolina First Steps
South Carolina First Steps is the state’s only dedicated, comprehensive early childhood initiative focused on getting children ready for school and life success. As both a state agency and a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, First Steps works with families, early educators, and partners statewide to support children from birth through age five.
First Steps takes holistic approach to accomplishing our mission, offering services that improve children’s health, strengthen families, expand access to quality child care, increase participation in four-year-old kindergarten, and help transition rising kindergartners into school.
Because this mission is a shared endeavor, First Steps also mobilizes partners in building a more effective and efficient early childhood state system. As the connector and convener of all early childhood serving agencies, First Steps operates the Early Childhood Advisory Council (ECAC), a collaborative body representing the state’s early childhood system.