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Gerrit Westervelt

Gerrit Westervelt provides leadership to WestEd’s Center for Child & Family Studies (CCFS) to expand its impact on early childhood policy and practice, nationally and regionally.  

As Director of Early Childhood Policy and Resource Development for CCFS, Westervelt leads new business development and marketing, including securing new avenues for funding, developing new products, and creating strategic partnerships with private foundations, state agencies, and corporate entities.  

Westervelt serves as liaison with national and state early childhood organizations, monitors trends in early childhood policy and systems development that impact CCFS’ work, and initiates strategic responses that enhance CCFS’ influence and visibility within the field.

Westervelt served for many years as Executive Director of the BUILD Initiative, a project of the Early Childhood Funders Collaborative that supports states in creating comprehensive, high-quality early childhood systems. While at BUILD, Westervelt led the creation of the QRIS National Learning Network, a peer learning and support network to refine and scale up early childhood quality rating and improvement systems.  He expanded the reach and impact of BUILD through both issue-based and placed-based growth strategies, and raised more than $15 million from private foundations.

He has worked extensively with state early childhood and K-12 leaders, including nine years at the Education Commission of the States, and has given numerous presentations on early childhood and K-12 education policy to diverse audiences and media outlets.  

Westervelt received a BA in communications from Ithaca College, an MS in political science from the University at Albany, and a PhD in educational leadership from the University of Colorado.