Kristin McSwain Named Senior Advisor to Mayor Wu and Director of Office of Early Childhood

McSwain brings to this new office a demonstrated ability for creating opportunities for Boston’s youth.

Mayor Michelle Wu announced today that Kristin McSwain will lead the newly formed Office of Early Childhood as Director and Senior Advisor to the Mayor. McSwain brings more than ten years of experience as the Executive Director of the Boston Opportunity Agenda, working directly with families, educators, and public and private organizations in Boston and across the Commonwealth to remove systemic barriers for underserved youth.

“City Hall can do so much more to set up our youngest children for a lifetime of success, and I’m thrilled that Kristin will bring her deep knowledge, leadership, and passion for building the early childhood ecosystem into this role,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “Working together with coalition partners, we will accelerate creating high-quality childcare and pre-K seats for Boston families, support the early education and care workforce, and make the most important investments in the next generation of our City.”

“It is a great honor to join the team at City Hall to work on creating the office dedicated to young children and their families,” said Kristin McSwain, incoming Senior Advisor to the Mayor and Director of the Office of Early Childhood. “Mayor Wu’s focus on early education and care as a public good will ensure that Boston makes an equitable recovery as we move out of the pandemic. I am excited to partner with families, providers, and City departments to make the Office of Early Childhood a reality.”

Mayor Wu last month announced the creation of the Office of Early Childhood to advance the administration’s commitment to universal, affordable, high-quality early education and care for infants, toddlers, and all children under five. In the Director role, McSwain will work to expand access to early education and childcare programs, invest in Boston’s early education and care workforce, and build a central point-of-entry for residents looking for information on early education and childcare programming and wraparound services for young children and their families. McSwain will officially begin in this role on April 4. 

McSwain has spent her entire professional career in education and national and community service. Most recently she has served as Executive Director of the Boston Opportunity Agenda, a unique, public/private partnership between the City of Boston, the Boston Public Schools, and local charities and foundations dedicated to improving the educational pipeline in Boston from cradle to career.  

“Kristin has been a transformational leader for our city since the inception of the Boston Opportunity Agenda twelve years ago,” said Lee Pelton, President and CEO of the Boston Foundation and Chair of the Boston Opportunity Agenda. “She has set the table for important partnerships between philanthropy, higher education, and the public and private sectors. Her insight and leadership in the creation of the Birth to Eight Collaborative both anticipated and amplified the importance of investing in early childhood and makes her the perfect leader to execute on Mayor Wu’s vision.” 

“As Executive Director of the Boston Opportunity Agenda, Kristin McSwain has fostered a stronger commitment to equitable access to education for all Boston children by welcoming partnerships and equity-centered policies,” said Renée Boynton-Jarrett, Pediatrician at Boston Medical Center and Founding Director of Vital Village Networks. “As the inaugural Director of the Office of the Early Childhood we look forward to her and Mayor Wu's collaborative leadership to leverage and align City resources and community programs, and support deeper partnerships with Boston families. This Office is a monumental step towards fulfilling our social contract: to invest in the promise and potential of every child. We congratulate Mayor Wu for exercising visionary leadership in launching this office.”

Prior to joining the Boston Opportunity Agenda, McSwain served as the Chief of Program Operations for the Corporation for National and Community Service, an independent federal agency. As Chief of Program Operations, she oversaw the day-to-day operations of the Corporation’s programs, including Senior Corps, Learn and Serve America, AmeriCorps NCCC, AmeriCorps VISTA, and AmeriCorps State and National. McSwain was appointed the Director of AmeriCorps State and National, the largest of the Corporation’s programs, in August of 2006 and named Chief of Program Operations in October of 2008.

After graduating from The College of William and Mary, she enrolled as a corps member with Teach for America, serving as a fifth-grade teacher in St. Mary Parish, Louisiana. McSwain continued to promote quality education through Teach for America and Citizen Schools as a staff member for the next six years. In 1997, she joined the staff of the Massachusetts Service Alliance, initially directing the Learn and Serve and AmeriCorps programs. In 2003, after attending Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, she was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Alliance. 

McSwain is a strong advocate for education and national service and an active participant in many volunteer and charitable organizations. She has served on the boards of Boston Cares, Friends of the Children Boston, and Voices for National Service. She currently serves on the GreenLight Fund Advisory Board, the United Way Community Impact Council, Boston’s Universal Pre-Kindergarten Advisory Committee, Friends of the Kilmer, 1647, and Encore Boston Network. 

McSwain lives in Roslindale with her wife and three children.

Learn more about the Office of Early Childhood 

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