Tulsa's Inovative Educare Gets a New Leader

2 hours ago


One of Tulsa's three Educare Schools
Credit Educare


After 20 years of dedicated service to the mission of offering high-quality early childhood education, Tulsa Educare is announcing that Caren Calhoun is retiring as executive director in June 2019. In her place, Cindy Decker from CAP Tulsa will take over. 


Calhoun devoted years to growing the Educare program, and now Decker takes over the helm of the thriving research-based early childhood program that ensures school readiness for students in need and seeks to break the cycle of poverty. 


Tulsa Educare's mission is to help break the cycle of poverty through a flagship, very early childhood education program and through transfer of best practices to other Tulsa programs.


With three Tulsa locations and a fourth opening in late 2019, each facility benefits around 160 students, ages birth through 4 years-of-age. Eligibility is based upon income, with a preference given to students in poverty who have other risk factors, like homelessness or an incarcerated family member. 


“Leading the mission at Tulsa Educare has been the most rewarding years of my career and I am happy to leave the program in the very capable hands of Cindy Decker,” Calhoun said. “Cindy will continue to evolve this program, bringing quality education to students across our schools.”


During Calhoun’s tenure, Tulsa Educare was honored nationally for outstanding early childhood education with two awards, Head Start Champion of Change and Early Educator of the Year, both awards granted by the White House.


Decker officially begins her new role on Jan. 7, 2019. She comes to Educare from CAP Tulsa, where she worked for more than 12 years. Decker was instrumental in the organization earning a national reputation for using data for program improvement. In her position as the Director of Research & Innovation, her team sparked an innovative, data-driven culture across the agency. Given that CAP Tulsa constructed and operated Tulsa Educare for multiple years before it became a stand-alone entity, she has a foundational understanding of the Educare model. 


Decker serves on the Board of Education for Tulsa Public Schools and while she is able to continue her service, she has stated that she “wants to focus exclusively on this meaningful new role that allows us to bring quality education to Tulsa’s youngest children.” 


“The opportunity to continue my work in early childhood education at an award-winning organization like Tulsa Educare is an honor and privilege,” Decker said. “I look forward to extending the amazing legacy left by Caren Calhoun: a research-based program that eliminates inequities and creates bright futures for disadvantaged children.”