Community’s First Early Learning Coordinator Selected to Lead Early Learning System
An early childhood education professional with a wealth of experience in childcare and development has
been selected as the Bartholomew County community’s first full-time dedicated resource focusing on
the entire community early learning system.
Christine Waters will lead the Bartholomew County Early Learning Coalition as the Early Learning
Coordinator. This is a new position to the community, which is established as a full-time Ivy Tech
Community College employee working on loan to the Community Education Coalition.
As Early Learning Coordinator, Waters will lead the Bartholomew County Early Learning Coalition with
the mission to ensure all families have access to affordable, high-quality childcare and early learning
programs and opportunities for children ages birth to 5 to create a path to academic success and
lifetime social emotional wellness. Waters’ primary responsibility will be to facilitate, guide and connect
early learning providers, employers, and community stakeholders in Bartholomew County to raise
awareness, identify opportunities and coordinate resources to address the most pressing challenges of
early learning including:
Accessibility & affordability
Teacher education and support
Community and employer awareness of the importance of access to quality early learning.
“Access to quality, affordable early learning programs enables families to participate in the workforce,
ensures their kids are in a safe learning environment, while providing the strong start they need to be
successful academically and in life,” said Kathy Oren, Executive Director for the Community Education
Coalition. “We know that 90% of brain development happens before age 5, so there’s no topic more
important than the care and education of our littlest ones. I’m thrilled that our community is making this
investment to provide a full-time Early Learning Coordinator to support our county-wide system of early
learning. We are fortunate to have Christine stepping into this new and position. With her deep
experiences, fantastic skillset, and innovative thinking, she will be an excellent partner and resource
working with early learning providers, families, employers, and community members to help us identify
and implement long term local solutions.”
Waters brings a deep wealth of experience, knowledge, and passion to this important work. She
previously served as the Director of Child Care Resource and Referral at Mt. Hood Community College in
Portland, Oregon. In that role, Waters worked to co-design and implement a county-wide universal
preschool system, Preschool for All, while also managing early childhood coaching programs, a local
childcare subsidy program ensuring no family pays more than 8% of their income on childcare, Oregon
state’s first infant/toddler contracted slot pilot program, and a regional grant piloting early childhood
shared business services.
As an Ivy Tech employee, Waters will work within the College’s School of Arts, Sciences, and Education
and the Early Childhood Education program.
“Christine has deep experience with cross-sector community collaboration,” said Dr. Jackie Fischer, Vice
Chancellor of Academic Affairs at Ivy Tech Columbus. “Her work in designing and managing childcare
and development systems will serve our community as we move to create a stronger, more cohesive
early learning system in Bartholomew County. We are excited to have her join our Early Childhood
Education program at Ivy Tech and work in collaboration with the Community Education Coalition. She
will be a great asset to our community, supporting families and children.”
This position is made possible by 3-year grant commitments from the Heritage Fund Community
Foundation of Bartholomew County, Heritage Fund’s Women’s Giving Circle, United Way of
Bartholomew County, and the Community Education Coalition.
“I look forward to serving the Bartholomew County community and partnering with our community
organizations and early childhood providers in strengthening our early learning system,” Waters said.
“This community has a solid foundation and the drive to overcome challenges to provide the best
programming for our children and families. Through the work of the Bartholomew County Early Learning
Coalition, we will work to build upon strengths while identifying opportunities to ensure access to
quality early learning.”
About Ivy Tech Community College
Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana’s largest public postsecondary institution and the nation’s largest
singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy
Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as
the state’s engine of workforce development, offering associate degrees, short-term certificate programs,
industry certifications, and training that aligns to the needs of the community. The College provides seamless
transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a
Bachelor’s degree. Follow Ivy Tech on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn for the most up-to-date
About the Community Education Coalition
The Community Education Coalition (CEC) of Columbus, Indiana, is a nationally recognized
partnership of education, business, and community leaders focused on aligning the Columbus,
Indiana and region’s community learning system with economic growth and a high quality of life. The
CEC is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. The Community Education Coalition advances equity
in all its work, paying special attention to racial and income inequality, to ensure that each person
thrives educationally, financially, and civically. See educationcoalition.com.