Rhian Evans Allvin became executive director of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), in Washington, DC, in August 2013. She is responsible for guiding the strategic direction of the organization as well as overseeing the daily operations. With more than 70,000 members and 300 Affiliate components across the United States, NAEYC serves as the leading voice on behalf of young children and early childhood educators. Through its publications, accreditation of programs for young children, accreditation of Associate Degree and higher education programs, public policy, conferences, and research, NAEYC strives to meet the ideal that all young children have access to high-quality early learning experiences and that early childhood educators be able to attain the higher education and professional development that inspire high standards and innovation in every early education setting and classroom.
Before joining NAEYC, Evans Allvin was a guiding force in Arizona’s early childhood movement for more than 15 years. In 2006 she co-wrote the citizen’s ballot initiative that created First Things First (FTF) which set aside Arizona’s tobacco tax monies for children birth to five and created a state agency whose purpose is to ensure all Arizona children start kindergarten prepared to be successful in school and in life. Then-governor Janet Napolitano appointed her to FTF’s state board, where she served for four years before resigning to become the organization’s chief executive officer (CEO). As CEO Evans Allvin represented FTF with state and national constituents and led its coordination with policy makers, state department heads, providers, and community stakeholders. She oversaw FTF’s daily operations, including the distribution of $130 million in annual tobacco revenue.
During her tenure the organization led and participated in a variety of Arizona statewide early childhood systems-building efforts, including panels that adopted the Arizona Model Early Childhood System Framework, the development of First Things First’s 10 School Readiness Indicators, the FTF National Research and Evaluation Advisory Panel, and the development and rollout of Quality First, Arizona’s quality improvement and rating system.
Rhian’s earlier experiences helped her prepare for her role at NAEYC. As a founding partner in the Brecon Group she specialized in public policy, philanthropy, and community engagement. As senior advancement officer at the Arizona Community Foundation, she used her knowledge in community organizing, communications, media relations, fund-raising, and nonprofit management to help donors connect their philanthropic interests with community needs. Additionally she served in leadership roles with Libraries for the Future, a national nonprofit promoting the important role of public libraries in American life, and Children’s Action Alliance, Arizona’s state-based child advocacy organization.
Rhian has authored a number of white papers, articles, policy briefs, and reports on various topics. She coauthored a report on the state of early care and education in Arizona, Building Our Foundation: Assessing Early Care and Education in Arizona, for the Arizona Community Foundation. She has given numerous presentations to diverse local and national audiences.
Rhian holds a bachelor’s degree from Northern Arizona University and a master’s degree in business administration from Arizona State University. She is married to Paul Allvin, and they live in Falls Church, Virginia, with their three young children.