By MELINDA WILLIAMS
CHARLOTTESVILLE – Delegate Joseph Yost (R-Virginia’s 12th District) is among three area leaders chosen to represent the New River Valley at the inaugural Smart Beginnings Leader Institute, which kicks off today in Charlottesville.
The institute will consist of sessions designed to bring together state and national leaders in school readiness initiatives to address issues related to the building and support of early learning systems. The sessions will be held over a seven-month period, which runs July through January 2014.
In addition to Yost, who represents portions of Pulaski County, other NRV representatives are Kristi Snyder, administrator of Rainbow Riders Childcare Center in Blacksburg and David Moore, regional coordinator for Smart Beginnings New River Valley.
“I am very honored to be part of the inaugural Leader Institute sponsored by the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation,” said Yost. “As a member of the House Education Committee, it has been my experience that education issues are typically viewed at the K-12 and higher education level. However, I contend we need to take a step back and begin to seriously examine the benefits that quality early learning initiatives in the years from birth to age five offer for workforce development in the Commonwealth.”
Smart Beginnings New River Valley is a coalition of nonprofit and public agencies and businesses aimed at providing NRV families “with everything they need to help their children start school healthy and ready to learn.”
According to Smart Beginnings statistics, one in eight Virginia children lack the skill sets required to start school. It is Smart Beginnings’ contention that an investment in these early years will pay off later through a more productive workforce.