About Us

Northwest Early Learning Coalition is an established regional coalition linking five county coalitions (Island, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish, and Whatcom), which include more than 100 organizations and professionals in Northwest Washington state.  

The Coalition exists to make excellence in early learning achievable and sustainable for every child in northwest Washington.

 Join Northwest Early Learning Coalition, by getting involved through the contact at your county coalition.

  • Island County: Jessie Gunn: jessieg@whidbeyfoundation.org (Partners for Young Children in Island County)
  • San Juan County: Kristen Rezabek: 360-370-7518 kristenr@sanjuanco.com (San Juan County Early Learning Coalition)
  • Skagit County: Lyndie Simmonds: 360-854-7176 lyndie.simmonds@unitedgeneral.org (Children’s Council of Skagit County)
  • Snohomish County: Kendall Appell: 425-275-8742 kendall.appell@childstrive.org (Snohomish County Early Learning Coalition)
  • Whatcom County: Vesla Kazimer: welacoordinator@gmail.com (Whatcom Early Learning Alliance)

History Founded in 2005 to foster resilient families, schools, and communities in the five counties of its region, the Coalition has a long history of cross-system and cross-county collaboration. It is recognized and respected in the state as one of 10 active regional coalitions that are engaged in systemic changes to improve early learning in Washington state.  

Stakeholders in each of its five counties include nonprofit organizations committed to early learning, social service providers, public health officials, mental health services providers, early childhood educators, school districts, service organizations, military entities, libraries, organizations providing early support for infants and toddlers, business and community leaders, and child care licensors.  

Funding for the Coalition has historically come through state and local early learning grants. Educational Service District (ESD) 189 has been serving as Fiscal Sponsor and Coordinator to the Coalition since its inception.  

Ongoing projects of the Coalition include:  

  • Northwest Play and Learn, a campaign to increase the number of high-quality play groups in the region.  
  • Bridging the transition to kindergarten through shared professional development, curriculum alignment, and family support.  
  • The annual State of Children and Families Report, providing a snapshot of how children (prenatal–age 8) and their families are doing across the region and compared to the rest of the state. 
  • The Early Learning Leadership Brunch, an annual gathering of stakeholders to share the stories of children and families in our region and increase investment in early learning.  

The Coalition is led and governed by a Steering Committee of 17 members, with representatives from each of the five counties in its region.  

Read more about the Coalition