Opening Session Speaker
Kris Perry, Deputy Secretary California Health and Human Services Agency and Senior Advisor to the Governor on Implementation of Early Childhood Development Initiatives.
Prior to her current appointment, Kris served as President of Save the Children Action Network where she led the political advocacy arm of Save the Children, where she led efforts to build bipartisan support to make sure every child in the U.S. has access to high-quality early learning and to protect children living in conflict zones around the world. Prior to that, Kris was Executive Director of the First Five Years Fund, where she led advocacy efforts for a smarter, stronger, healthier, and more productive America through high-quality early childhood education.
Earlier in her career, Kris served as Executive Director of First 5 California, fostering their emergence as one of the most well-known and respected advocates for early childhood development on the state and national levels. Prior to that, Kris served as Executive Director of First 5 San Mateo County, where she implemented cutting-edge programs and led community design groups to develop countywide initiatives, including preschool for all and universal health care. Her dedication to children and their families began at the Alameda County Social Services Agency where she worked for more than 12 years in various capacities, including child abuse investigator, family preservation case manager, and program manager.
Kris is a national thought leader on early childhood development, who has appeared in the New York Times, POLITICO, New Republic, Salon, Congressional Quarterly and many other new outlets across the country.
In addition to her role as a national leader on early childhood education, she was the lead plaintiff in the Hollingsworth v. Perry winning legal challenge to California’s Proposition 8, the landmark marriage equality case argued in front of the United States Supreme Court.
She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a Masters in Social Work from San Francisco State University. She also completed the Stanford Graduate School of Business Executive Program for Nonprofit Leaders. Kris is a licensed clinical social worker and a board certified diplomat who holds a postgraduate certificate as a service integration specialist.