Malloy appoints former Obama advisor as commissioner of Office of Early Childhood

Malloy appoints former Obama advisor as commissioner of Office of Early Childhood


David Wilkinson, right, was named commission of the Office of Early Childhood on Thursday, April 20, 2017. | Mike Savino, Record-Journal

HARTFORD — Gov. Dannel P. Malloy Thursday named former President Barack Obama’s social innovation and civic participation director as the new commissioner of the state Office of Early Childhood.

David Wilkinson, 39, of Hartford, said no state was “more innovative, more creative, more dedicated” at serving preschool aged children during his time working for the White House, adding that he “jumped at the chance” to work with Malloy.

“I observed with enthusiasm his creation of this new agency,” said Wilkinson, who will make $142,000 annually in his new post. “OEC is already an example for the nation on how to better serve the needs of children and families who are overburdened and under-resourced.”

Wilkinson replaces acting Commissioner Linda Goodman.

Malloy created the office in 2013 to oversee the state’s child care, preschool, and other programs for the care and development of children up to five years old.

Malloy said Wilkinson, who earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia before graduating from Yale Law School, “has mobilized data-driven, evidence-based policies that advance economic opportunity and equity for the families” receiving services from the office.

Wilkinson also credited his upbringing with inspiring his interest in early child development, telling reporters about the sacrifices his mother made as a single parent.

“She worked long hours for low wage, we often had unstable housing and we relied on public support,” he said Thursday.

Obama created the position of director of social innovation and civic partnership to find ways to implement social and community-centered priorities. Wilkinson made early childhood one of his core focuses in that role.

He also served as a senior policy advisor to Obama. 203-317-2266 Twitter: @reporter_savino

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