Rhian Evans Allvin – Chief Executive Officer
Rhian Evans Allvin serves as the chief executive officer of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), a position she has held since August 2013. She is responsible for guiding the organization’s strategic direction as well as overseeing daily operations. NAEYC is the largest national professional association for early childhood educators. Its mission is to promote high-quality early learning for all children, birth through age 8, by connecting practice, policy, and research. NAEYC advances a diverse and dynamic early childhood profession and supports all who care for, educate, and work on behalf of young children. During Rhian’s tenure, NAEYC has successfully completed a dramatic structural transformation to: better serve members nationally and at the state and local levels; exert strong policy and advocacy leadership; and streamline NAEYC’s early childhood program accreditation system to decisively and accessibly define early childhood program quality.
Before joining NAEYC, Evans Allvin was a guiding force in Arizona’s early childhood movement for more than 15 years. In 2006, she cowrote the citizens’ ballot initiative that created First Things First (FTF), which set aside $130 million in annual Arizona tobacco tax monies to support the health, development, and education of children birth to age 5. FTF also created a state agency to ensure that all Arizona children start kindergarten prepared to succeed in school and in life. Then-governor Janet Napolitano appointed Evans Allvin to FTF’s inaugural state board, on which she served for three years before becoming FTF’s chief executive officer. During her tenure, the organization led and participated in a variety of Arizona statewide early childhood systems-building efforts, including panels that adopted the Arizona Model Early Childhood System Framework; the development of FTF’s 10 School Readiness Indicators; the FTF National Research and Evaluation Advisory Panel; and the development and rollout of Quality First, Arizona’s quality rating and improvement system.
Earlier experiences also helped prepare Rhian for her role at NAEYC. As a founding partner in the Brecon Group, she specialized in public policy, philanthropy, and community engagement. As senior advancement officer at the Arizona Community Foundation, she used her knowledge in community organizing, communications, fundraising, and nonprofit management to help donors connect their philanthropic interests with community needs. Additionally, she served in leadership roles with Libraries for the Future, a national nonprofit promoting the important role of public libraries in American life, and Children’s Action Alliance, Arizona’s state-based child advocacy organization.
Rhian has authored a number of white papers, articles, policy briefs, and reports, and she regularly serves as a presenter for diverse international, national, state, and community conversations.
Rhian Evans Allvin holds a bachelor’s degree from Northern Arizona University and a master’s degree in business administration from Arizona State University. She has earned various honors and widespread recognition for her work on behalf of children, including being inducted into the Northern Arizona University College of Education Hall of Fame in 2016 and being given the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center’s Excellence in Early Education Award in 2015, the Southern Arizona AEYC’s Board Award in 2014, and the Junior League of Phoenix Valley’s Impact Award in 2011. Rhian is married to Paul Allvin, and they live in Falls Church, Virginia, with their three children.