Sally K. Shepherd

Sally Shepherd pic
Early Childhood Technical Assistance Specialist, SRI Education

Sally K. Shepherd specializes in early childhood learning and development on a variety of topics, including state systems, special education, school readiness, transitions, family engagement, and Head Start. Shepherd is a technical assistance (TA) specialist for the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP)-funded national Center for IDEA Early Childhood Data Systems (DaSy) and a former TA specialist providing services to Regions III and VI for the Preschool Development Grant Birth through 5 (PDG B-5) Technical Assistance Center.

Shepherd has more than 20 years of experience in early childhood education. Before joining SRI, Shepherd served as the deputy executive director for the Kentucky Governor’s Office of Early Childhood (KYGOEC) as well as the director of the Kentucky Head Start Collaboration Office. Shepherd’s work at the GOEC included efforts to improve and unify Kentucky’s early childhood system which involved overseeing subcommittee work to review and revise Kentucky’s Early Childhood Standards, using implementation science to review and identify opportunities and priorities for improvement to processes related to KY All STARS, Kentucky’s Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement System, and the review and revision of Kentucky’s professional development framework. Shepherd also served as the lead for the subcommittee that continually reviews data to develop and maintain Kentucky’s Early Childhood Profiles and assisted in the development of Kentucky’s unique child identifier. As the director of the Kentucky Head Start Collaboration Office, Shepherd facilitated partnerships between Head Start agencies and other state and local entities that provide services to benefit children and their families at or below the federal poverty level.

 Shepherd also worked at the Kentucky Department of (KDE) as an early childhood consultant, 619 coordinator, and manager of the School Readiness Branch. While at the KDE, Shepherd oversaw the branch that provides services and supports, and monitoring of primary programs, preschool, and special education services, to children ages 3–5 in local education agencies. Also, Shepherd led work to develop and implement KY All STARS for Kentucky’s state-funded preschool programs and those programs blended with Head Start, served as the lead on the development and implementation of the Early Learning portion of the KDE’s overall strategic plan, directed Kentucky’s 5 Early Childhood Regional Training Centers, managed work related to the efforts of programs to transition children receiving services from Part C to Part B 619, assisted with the development and implementation of Kentucky’s kindergarten readiness screening process, and collaborated with all state early childhood partners.

Shepherd began her career in early childhood working in the Anderson County Early Childhood Center (ECC) which served all preschool and kindergarten students in the school district. Shepherd started as a preschool teaching assistant before becoming a kindergarten special education teacher and then a preschool classroom teacher and Pre-K Demonstration Project Liaison. Shepherd credits her love of early childhood and vision for high-quality services for all children and families to her 11-year-plus tenure at the ECC.

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