Helping All Children Turn Five Ready to Thrive!

I recently made the difficult decision to step down from my position as CEO of Smart Start of Mecklenburg County at the end of our fiscal year (June 30th ).

For the past three years, I have had the pleasure of working on behalf of the early childhood community with an amazing team of people, both here at Smart Start and with our partners and providers. This decision is tough because I am moving on from people and organizations that have welcomed me, and my commitment to do whatever it takes to support all children and families. The “system” does not welcome change. Frankly, it does not want change. Yet, I have witnessed real change, and have seen more people and groups not only come to the table, but stay at the table because they are capable, compassionate, and driven to do what is right and needed.

My reasons for leaving have nothing to do with the work itself or this wonderful organization. I have other things in my life that require my attention. The reality is that I cannot, in good faith, meet those obligations while giving every ounce of my being to the collective team serving our community. I would be doing a disservice to Smart Start and the community if I tried to do it all.

I am proud that we have built a structure to support a strategy here at Smart Start. Our team and funding have grown, allowing us to go wider and deeper in the community than at any point in our thirty-year history. That will not change. Our Board of Directors and the team here at Smart Start of Mecklenburg County are committed to continuing on this path—a path of opportunity for all children from the moment they are born. To that end, a search process for the next leader has been initiated with the help of the human resources team at the Children and Family Services Center (CFSC). Additional updates will be forthcoming from CFSC or the Smart Start Board of Directors.

Thank you for your support of me and the pursuit of high-quality early care and education.

Jake House


Smart Start of Mecklenburg County is proud to celebrate 30 years of mobilizing resources, forging partnerships, and supporting families to improve early childhood health, education, and development. Click the link below to learn more about how you or your organization can join the celebration.


Smart Start of Mecklenburg County & Care Ring Partner to Offer Free Physicals to Eligible Family Childcare Providers

Free physicals are available to eligible family child care providers through June 30, 2023. By providing physicals for uninsured family childcare providers, this partnership will support the "workforce behind the workforce" - those who care for our children daily. 


Start your week off with a toast Monday, February 13, at NoDa Brewing Company for You Drink We Donate! $1 of every purchase will benefit Smart Start of Mecklenburg County and support our vision that all children in Mecklenburg County turn five ready to thrive.

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We invite you to celebrate our 30th anniversary by downloading our new Smart Start of Mecklenburg County app for iOS and Android. Our mobile app is designed to connect Mecklenburg County families and professionals to resources now at your fingertips.

We want to hear your #SmartStartStories. Click the link below to share a testimonial about your experience with Smart Start of Mecklenburg County or one of our valued community partners over the past 30 years.

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*By submitting a testimonial you understand and acknowledge that Smart Start of Mecklenburg County is allowed to use your testimonial for marketing purposes such as landing pages, newsletters, social media, emails, etc.

We mobilize resources, forge partnerships, and support families to improve early childhood health, education, and development - all to help ensure children are prepared for kindergarten. Click the links to learn more about our community partners, programs and recent news.



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