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WHEN VIEWING ON A TABLET OR MOBILE -- DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM Institute for Educational Leadership, as an urban education program analyst for the US Department of Education, as the director of early childhood pro- grams for the District of Columbia public schools, and as the deputy superin- tendent for the Center for Systemic Educational Change for the same school district. I am now the executive director for the Early Childhood Leadership Institute at the University of the District of Columbia, an organization that provides professional development and training for early childhood leaders in the District of Columbia. Through my work in these roles, my perspective evolved and the leadership qualities that I share in this book emerged. My story is, of course, uniquely mine, but the leadership qualities are for anyone who is committed to doing the right thing for children. The Investment Perspective Does it pay to invest in young children? This may not seem like a question that is relevant to the topic of leadership in early childhood education, but it is. Leadership of any kind takes place within the context of the times, and right now the country wants to know: Is there a quantifiable return to be gained from investing in early childhood education? The answer to that question from a political, economic, societal, and even military perspective is a resounding yes. Yet, to make these gains a reality, lead- ership at all levels is required—from the president of the United States to class- room teachers and parents. An investment not only in children but also in lead- ership is required. Here is an overview of our context of the times: In his 2013 and 2014 State of the Union addresses, President Obama rep- resented the bipartisan demand for education for our youngest citizens. The president declared that high-quality early childhood programs serve as the building blocks for societal contribution. As such, he called for a series of new investments that would establish high-quality learning for children from birth to age five in this country. The president’s voice isn’t the only one call- ing for reform. Organizations across the country are verifying the critical link between children’s early education success and their future ability to contrib- ute to society, which ultimately strengthens the nation. Leading economists have run the numbers. Their measurements for identi- fying early childhood education as a sound investment are based on a host of introduction COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL