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Former Journalist To Direct Oregon's Early Learning Division

A former journalist is stepping in to direct Oregon’s Early Learning Division, following the retirement of the new agency’s first director.

Jada Rupley retired as early learning director at the end of last week following a 25-year career supervising early childhood and education services in the Northwest.

The acting director taking Rupley’s place is Meg Irwin. She’s a prize-winning education reporter, with journalism and politics degrees. While she didn’t get education or early childhood credentials in college, Gov. John Kitzhaber’s announcement emphasizes Irwin’s advocacy and community organizing efforts.

In a statement, Kitzhaber calls Irwin an “engaged and energetic leader” of the state’s approach to the youngest Oregonians.

The state’s focus on early learning has intensified over the last few years. Lawmakers authorized a new Early Learning Council in 2011, and the state has received federal grants for early learning totaling more than $30 million.

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