July 2022 Update

Working for a just,
equitable, and quality
early childhood education 
for every young child.
DEY Summer Institute Replay
Did you miss it? We hosted our 4th annual DEY Summer Institute and it did not disappoint. This FREE three-day virtual event focused on equity, advocacy, and policy in early childhood education. Full recordings of these lively discussions can be found below.
  • Day One: Centering Racial Justice in Education, moderated by Takiema Bunche Smith.

Click here to view Day One
  • Day Two – We begin with Advocating for the Childhood All Children Deserve, a conversation with Linda Darling Hammond.

Click here to view Day Two
  • Day Three – Aligning Research and Practice and in Early Care and Education moderated by Denisha Jones.

Click here to view Day Three
Defending the Early Years Welcomes New Executive Director and Director of Communication and Outreach
Denisha Jones
Kisha Reid

As DEY embarks on our 10th year as a national early childhood education advocacy organization, we are delighted to announce the selection of Denisha Jones as our Executive Director and Kisha Reid as our Director of Communications and Outreach.

Denisha joined the DEY Advisory Board in 2014 and began writing regular blogs for DEY. In 2018 she became the Director of Early Childhood Organizing and launched the first DEY Summer Institute in 2019. In 2020 Denisha joined Blakely Bundy as co-director and beginning August 1st will serve as the first DEY Executive Director.

Kisha Reid began working with DEY in 2019 as part of our Teacher Speak Out Series. She joined the leadership board in 2021 and launched the DEY Podcast in 2022. Kisha begins her new role as Director of Communications and Outreach in July 2022.

Please join us in welcoming Denisha and Kisha as they take on their new positions within DEY.

Learn more about Denisha Jones and Kisha Reid below.

Denisha Jones joined the DEY Advisory Board in 2014 and worked as the Director of Early Childhood Organizing and Co-Director before becoming the Executive Director. She has a B.S. in Early Childhood Education and Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership from the University of the District of Columbia, a PhD. in Curriculum and Instruction from Indiana University, and a J.D. from the University of the District of Columbia. Denisha is a part-time faculty member at Sarah Lawrence College and Howard University. Previously, Denisha worked at Trinity Washington University, first in the College of Arts and Sciences as an assistant professor and program chair for undergraduate elementary and early childhood programs and, most recently, in the School of Education as director of teacher education and assistant professor.

Kisha Reid is the owner and director of Discovery Early Learning Center:  A Place for Childhood, a wonderful authentic early years program in Poolesville, Maryland. She has been in the early childhood field for 28 years and continues to actively work in the classroom with children 0-6 years old. Her passion for authentic childhood has led her to found an advocacy group called Play Empowers which focuses on promoting developmentally appropriate play-based education for young children.

In her work as an early childhood advocate, Kisha has collaborated with Defending The Early Years to film mini documentaries, FairPlay (formerly Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood), and Explorations Early Learning to promote play in early childhood. She now sits on the board of Defending The Early Years and someday hopes to open a school for elementary-aged children.
Along with her daily work in the classroom, Lakisha also hosts The Defending The Early Years Podcast, presents keynote presentations, mentors and consults directly with programs, and hosts her annual teacher retreat conference, PEP Rally.
The DEY Podcast with Kisha Reid

"The DEY Podcast with Kisha Reid" is available on the first and third Wednesdays of each month.

July's Second podcast features Nicolette Sowder, The Founder of "Wilder Child" and "Wild Schooling," programs for preschool and school-age children and families with a focus on nature-connected parenting.

To learn more about Nicolette's work visit her website: www.wilderchild.com

Find the podcast here.

On the first Podcast in August, Kisha Reid interviews Carol Garboden-Murray, The Author of "Illuminating Care - The Pedagogy and Practice of Care in Early Childhood Communities." Carol and Kisha discuss keeping the CARE in child care. The podcast will be available on Wednesday, August 3rd.
DEY Advocacy Map
Did you know that ...
  • New Mexico will provide free child care for the majority of its families, starting in fall 2023?

  • A recent survey by the Buffett Institute found that COVID-19 continues to compound Nebraska's child care crisis, including high staff turnover and staff burnout.

  • Illinois passed the "Too Young to Test" bill which prohibits testing of children in pre-kindergarten through second grade?

Find out about these and other early childhood news on the Defending the Early Years Advocacy Map.
Our Leadership
Board of Directors
Nancy Carlsson-Paige
Founder and Senior Advisor

Blakely Bundy
Leadership Board Member

Diane Levin
Founder and Senior Advisor

Geralyn Bywater
Kisha Reid
Director of Communication & Outreach

Executive Director
Denisha Jones

National Advisory Board
Erika Christakis
Sherry Cleary
Bill Crain
Stephanie Feeney
Doris Pronin Fromberg 
Ayla Gavins
Michelle Gunderson
Ed Klugman 
Susan Linn
Deborah Meier
Ruth Rodriguez-Fay
James St. Clair
Judith Van Hoorn

Founding National Advisory Board 
Constance Kamii
Lilian Katz
Maurice Sykes
Defending the Early Years, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.
Donations are tax deductible. Our Tax ID: 82-4308558

Defending the Early Years