CLEARWATER – The board of directors for the Early Learning Coalition of Pinellas County Inc. terminated the employment of the organization’s chief executive officer, Janet Chapman, during a special meeting Oct. 23.
Chapman led the nonprofit for 12 years, during a time when the organization was known as the Pinellas County School Readiness Coalition. Following reports of a funding surplus, the board began an internal investigation on leadership practices and organizational morale, which included feedback from coalition employees.
“The board carefully reviewed the reports and employee concerns when making our decision,” said Board Chair Julie Daniels in a press release. “We did not come to this decision lightly as it weighed heavily on my mind as well as many other board members. Ultimately change in leadership was necessary in order to move the coalition in a new direction.”
The board of directors has followed the coalition’s succession plan and appointed Lindsay Carson, deputy CEO, as the interim CEO. The coalition’s executive committee will conduct a thorough search for a permanent replacement.
“We are working toward strengthening relationships in the community with our partner agencies, early education providers and families,” said Carson. “Our dedicated team remains committed to supporting families and ensuring children have access to early care and education services.”
The coalition’s School Readiness Scholarship program is currently at full enrollment with 6,161 children. In addition, the Voluntary Prekindergarten program has 5,310 children in care.
The Early Learning Coalition of Pinellas County Inc. is one of 30 Coalitions in Florida. It works to ensure that programs and services are available to assist young children during their formative years. Florida’s VPK program is free for all children who are 4 years old. School Readiness Scholarships provides assistance for low-income working families by paying a portion of the childcare costs on a sliding fee scale.