Welcoming 5 New Members to the State Advisory Council

Closeup photo of Kiona Baez Heath

On March 25, Vermont’s Early Childhood State Advisory Council (SAC) met to build relationships among members and learn about early successes and impacts of the Building Integration in Vermont’s B-5 Early Childhood Systems (VIP B-5) project. At the meeting, we welcomed five new members: Dr. Debra Hartswick, Kiona Baez Heath, Amber Hewston, Erica McLaughlin, and Danielle Lindley Mitchell. We also thanked outgoing members Paul Dragon, Alexis Duquette, and Mike McRaith.

Watch the March 25 SAC meeting >

The SAC is the state’s Governor-appointed, primary advisory body on the well-being of children from the prenatal period through age 8 and their families. The SAC advises the Governor, Administration, and Legislature on early childhood policy and systems improvements. The SAC brings together early childhood leaders and decision-makers from across sectors to better coordinate and enhance services for young children. The Council has 27 members, including seven public designated members, two legislators, 15 at-large members, and three non-voting members.

Close up photo of Dr. Debra Hartswick with blue water in the background

Dr. Debra Hartswick

Closeup photo of Kiona Baez Heath

Kiona Baez Heath

Head shot of Amber Hewston

Amber Hewston

Headshot of Erica McLaughlin

Erica McLaughlin

Danielle Lindley Mitchell

The current SAC members are:

Designated Members Representing Agency
Ilisa Stalberg, Public Co-Chair VT Department of Health
Renee Kelly Head Start Collaboration Office
Shayla Livingston Agency of Human Services
Janet McLaughlin DCF Child Development Division
Meg Porcella Agency of Education
Jessica Vintinner Agency of Commerce
Cheryle Wilcox Department of Mental Health
Appointed Members
Representative Jessica Brumsted Vermont House
Senator Ruth Hardy Vermont Senate
At-Large Members Representing Organization
Flor Diaz Smith, Private Co-Chair Vermont School Boards Association
Libby Daghlian Family Representative
Xusana Davis Vermont Office of Racial Equity
Eddie Gale A.D. Henderson Foundation
Dimitri Garder Global-Z International
Sharron Harrington VT Association for the Education of Young Children
Dr. Debra Hartswick Retired Medical Professional
Kiona Baez Heath Vermont Network Against Domestic & Sexual Violence
Amber Hewston Family Representative
Carol Lang-Godin Lamoille Family Center
Erica McLaughlin Vermont Principals’ Association
Danielle Lindley Mitchell Washington County Mental Health Services
Christy Swenson, Secretary Head Start Representative
Rebecca Webb, Treasurer Act 166 Coordinator/Special Education
Non-Voting Members
Aryka Radke Director of Family Services at DCF
Kendal Smith Governor’s Office
Miranda Gray Deputy Director of Economic Services


Learn more about who is serving on the SAC by reviewing the bios of the current members.

There is no SAC meeting in April. The next meeting, on Monday, May 20, will serve as the annual Vermont’s Early Childhood Action Plan (VECAP) Summit to mark progress we have made toward the four VECAP goals and identify priorities for the coming year. Register here for the May 20 SAC meeting.

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