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Department of Early Learning and Care

Early Learning Council

The Early Learning Council is charged with coordinating a unified and aligned system of early learning throughout Oregon to ensure that all children, no matter what their background or their community, enter school ready to learn and that all families are healthy, stable and attached. The council follows the work of the five year early learning system strategic plan, Raise Up Oregon.

The council was created through Senate Bill 909 (2011), further directed through House Bill 4165 (2012), and most recently modified in House Bill 2262 (2019). Currently, there are nine members appointed by the governor. The council meets quarterly throughout the year.

Gabriela Hernandez

Early Learning Council Administrator


Council Members

Sue Miller, Chair; Appointed November 2016

Sue Miller is returning to her position as Chair of the ELC, which she stepped into in November 2016. Ms. Miller brings her extensive background in public administration and early learning to the ELC; she has been working in early childhood for over 20 years and is passionate about giving all children a chance to meet their potential to lead rewarding lives. She is the co-founder and former Executive Director of Family Building Blocks, the Relief Nursery serving Marion and Polk Counties; helped found the Marion-Polk Early Learning Hub and chaired its Board of Directors for three years; served on the Oregon Community Foundation Board for eight years; and was elected the first woman mayor of Salem, in which she served for six years.

Angela (Angie) Blackwell; Appointed October 2019

Angie Blackwell was confirmed to the ELC in October 2019. Ms. Blackwell is the Early Childhood Program Manager for the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde. She has been an advocate for the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde for over 20 years, including directing the Spirit Mountain Community Fund and sitting as Vice Chair on the Tribal Council. She also has a strong background in early childhood education, including helping to found Head Start of Yamhill County and serving as a federal grant reviewer for Head Start/Early Head Start applications. Currently, she sits on the Early Learning Council of the Yamhill Early Learning Hub.

Katy Brooks; Appointed September 2019

Katy Brooks was confirmed to the ELC in September 2019. Ms. Brooks is the Bend Chamber President, where she works partnering the local business community with education institutions to improve Bend's economy and education outcomes; as well as currently piloting a program to remove barriers to child care. She has over 20 years of economic development and public affairs experience that she brings to the Council, including working for Oregon Department of Transportation and the ports of Portland and Vancouver, WA.

Peter Buckley; Appointed October 2019

Peter Buckley was confirmed to the ELC in October 2019. Mr. Buckley is the Innovation Network Program Manager for Southern Oregon Success. He served as the State Representative for District 5 (Ashland, Talent, Phoenix, Medford, Jacksonville and Ruch) from 2005 until he retired in 2017. During his tenure in office, Rep. Buckley served as the House Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Ways and Means for eight years and continuously fought for increased funding for all levels of education. After retiring from the Oregon Legislature, he was appointed as a senior adviser to Gov. Kate Brown on transformation and budget stability during the 2017 legislative session.

Anne Kubisch; Appointed September 2019

Anne Kubisch was confirmed to the ELC in September 2019. Ms. Kubisch is the President and CEO of the Ford Family Foundation based in Roseburg, where she has served since 2013 working to improve the lives of rural Oregonians. She comes from an extensive background in international development, including developing and implementing strategies to improve outcomes for low-income children and families. For 19 years previous to Ford, she was the Director of the Aspen Roundtable on Community Change; from 1977 to 1993, she worked in international development in Latin America and Africa. Currently, she also serves on the Board of Foundations for a Better Oregon and the Federal Reserve Board of San Francisco (Portland Branch).

Dr. Margaret (Peg) Miller, MD; Appointed October 2019

Dr. Peg Miller was confirmed to the ELC in October 2019. Dr. Miller is a board certified pediatrician based in McMinnville where she practices at Willamette Valley Medical Center. She also serves as the Medical Director at Juliette's House, the Yamhill county child abuse assessment center. Dr. Miller is familiar with the barriers to health that Oregon's rural youth population faces, having served rural Oregon in her practice for over 20 years. She will provide a critical health care lens for the cross sectional work of the ELC. Currently Dr. Miller also sits on the Yamhill County Early Learning Hub and the board of directors of Headstart of Yamhill County. She received her MD from OHSU and completed pediatric residency at the University of Arizona.

Kali Thorne Ladd; Appointed November 2016

Kali Thorne Ladd is continuing her position as a member on the ELC, which she stepped into in November 2016. Ms. Thorne Ladd is the co-founder and Executive Director of KairosPDX, an education transformation organization focused on equity and providing opportunity in policy and practice for historically under-served, particularly African-American, children in Oregon. Kali's career spans two decades and includes serving as Education Director for former Mayor Adams, Policy Advisor for State Superintendent Susan Castilo, and Program Manager for school-based programs across Portland. Kali is the immediate past chairperson of Portland Community College and a former Peace Corps Volunteer. Kali currently serves as a trustee to the James and Marion Miller Foundation and is most importantly mom to 7-year-old Jodan and 10-year-old Brynn Ladd.

Andrea Bell

Andrea Bell is the Executive Director of Oregon Housing and Community Services, where she oversees the strategic direction, vision and growth of the state agency responsible for providing stable and affordable housing across Oregon. Bell’s extensive leadership across the housing continuum has led her to hold pivotal leadership positions in the public sector. Most recently she served as the Housing Director within the Medicaid system where she directed the operations and expansion of state-funded Permanent Supportive Housing programs, as well as deployed sustainable solutions to end homelessness and align funding and policy at the intersection of health and housing. During her tenure, she spearheaded the state’s first tax credit project using Housing Trust Fund resources and led the Governor’s Housing and Health initiative aimed to provide long-term housing opportunities for people experiencing homelessness with serious mental illnesses and substance use disorders.

Liesl Wendt

Liesl Wendt is the Deputy Director of Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS), which she has held since 2018. Before coming to ODHS, Ms. Wendt worked across government and nonprofit organizations providing human services at local and national levels. She began her career in Portland Mayor Tom Potter’s office; led the Multnomah County Department of Human Services in improving quality of life and increasing economic opportunity for families; and directed 211 first locally and then nationally before coming back to work for her home state of Oregon.

Alyssa Chatterjee, Early Learning System Director

Alyssa Chatterjee is the Early Learning System Director overseeing the Early Learning Division in Oregon since May 2021. Ms. Chatterjee has been working for the Early Learning Division for most of her career, starting with a support position which evolved into Early Learning Council Administrator, among other duties. In 2019, she accepted a role as Deputy Education Policy Advisor in Governor Kate Brown’s office, where she served until appointed Early Learning System Director in May 2021.

Early Learning Council Meeting Materials

Early Learning Council Meeting Schedule

Early Learning Council Reports

Contact with Questions:

Gabriela Hernandez  |  971-701-3612