Carla Thompson Payton

Board of Directors

Carla is Vice President for program strategy at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in Battle Creek, Michigan where she supports efforts to promote thriving children, working families, and equitable communities.

Carla provides leadership and management for the creative and strategic direction of programming from design through implementation, evaluation, and dissemination. As a member of the executive team, she is also responsible for the overall direction and leadership of the foundation.

In 2012, Carla was deputy director of the Office of Child Care at the Administration for Children and Families in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, D.C. There, she was responsible for developing national early childhood education policy, managing the $5 billion annual budget of the Child Care Development Fund and providing oversight to 10 regional offices serving states, tribes, and territories. Previously, she was assistant superintendent for early childhood education for the District of Columbia, where she initiated the first publicly funded pre-kindergarten program. She has held former positions with the Department of Education and Department of Public Welfare for the state of Pennsylvania, United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and the U.S. Department of Education.

Carla has been honored for her leadership in early childhood education by the Administration for Children and Families, the Children’s Defense Fund, and the Temple University Institute on Disabilities. She also has served on boards and committees for nonprofit associations and professional organizations. In addition, she is the author of three publications related to school readiness and advocacy. The Huffington Post features Carla as a regular blogger, and she has been cited in numerous news media for her expertise.

Carla received her B.A. from Syracuse University in New York. She holds an M.A. in social work and a Ph.D. in educational leadership from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.