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Celebrating Black Women Leaders

From Coretta Scott King being at the forefront of the Civil Rights Movement to modern women today making history like Kamala Harris, the first African-American and first Asian-American Vice president, women have been soul contributors in historical moments. In honor of Women’s History Month, we want to acknowledge and pay tribute to our engaging leaders who made sacrifices to make BCDI-Atlanta and NBCDI what it is today and to improve and advance the quality of life for Black children everywhere.

National Black Child Development Institute first leader Evelyn K. Moore, founded and led the organization for 38 years. With her career as a teacher in the Perry Preschool/High Scope program that later became the model for the federal Head Start Early Childhood Education Program, Evelyn has dedicated years to improving outcomes for children. Her efforts to improve and advance early education for young African American children led to the foundation for what we know today as the National Black Child Development Institute, established in 1981. Moore continues to advocate and support the need for universal child care, including access to high-quality early childhood education for all children regardless of race, economic level, or other identifiers.

Inspired by Moore’s advocacy for Black children, Dr. Leah Austin, who served as an intern for Moore, became the new President and CEO of NBCDI in August of 2021. With over two decades of experience in education; philanthropy, and social justice advocacy; Leah has held leadership positions with the United Way of Greater Atlanta, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Southern Education Foundation, Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs, and most recently, the Schott Foundation for Public Education. As an educator, an advocate, and a futurist working to create conditions that allow people to imagine and plan better futures, Leah has made it her mission to guide the implementation of the #50Forward initiative designed to build momentum and chart a course for NBCDI’s next 50 years of impact on the lives of Black children and families.

Four years after NBCDI’s incorporation in 1981, NBCDI leadership launched the National Affiliate Network to mobilize volunteers at the grassroots level. NBCDI currently has 24 affiliates served by dynamic leaders. In 2018, Dr. Bisa Batten Lewis accepted the charge to lead the Atlanta affiliate, Black Child Development Institute-Atlanta as President, after serving as Vice President for nearly four years. With almost three decades working in the education space from elementary to high school to university level educator - and even as a Dean, Dr. Bisa has been lauded with many awards, including “Teacher of the Year” Finalist and “50 Under 50” Honoree. Today, Dr. Bisa, an educational powerhouse, is the Founder and Managing Partner of WINGS Curriculum, LLC and Ideal Early Learning, LLC, and bestselling author of The P-A-I-D Educator: 10 Professional Ways to Supplement Your Teaching Salary and continues her mission to helping educators rethink how to bring value to the marketplace.

Evelyn K. Moore, Dr. Leah Austin, Dr. Bisa Batten Lewis, and other dynamic leaders of NBCDI and its affiliate network have helped lift millions of children, their families, and communities through promoting and advocating for strengths-based programs and policies that improve and advance the quality of life for Black children.

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