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Nicol Russell currently serves as the deputy associate superintendent for early childhood at the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) and the Director of the Arizona Head Start State Collaboration Office (HSSCO). In these roles, she provides oversight for Arizona’s administration of the Preschool Development Grant, implementation of IDEA Part B, Section 619 (Early Childhood Special Education), and execution of the HSSCO grant. Nicol believes the best way to support high quality early learning for children is to support the adults (families and practitioners) in children’s lives with high quality assistance. Thus, Nicol and her team have developed a mission of providing leadership and support to schools, organizations, educators, families, and communities in implementing programs that assist all children from birth through age 8 to become successful lifelong learners. Her vision is to ultimately improve the well-being of children, families, and communities.
Nicol began her career in education as a librarian’s assistant at her local Boys & Girls Club in Wai’anae, Hawai’i. Since then, she has worked as a classroom assistant, teacher (general and special education), center director of a private child care, education program specialist, and the state’s 619 coordinator. She has also served as the treasurer for the National Association of Early Childhood Specialists in State Departments of Education (NAECS-SDE), and she currently serves as the early childhood education representative on three statewide governing boards in Arizona. In addition to championing high quality early learning for all children in all settings, Nicol enjoys time with her family and considers being mom to her 3-year-old, Makena Hokule’a, as her greatest role.
Nicol holds a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education and a master’s degree in early childhood education with an emphasis in early childhood leadership from Northern Arizona University. She is also currently enrolled in a doctoral program for educational leadership.