KinderCare Names Dr. Marquita Davis as New Chief Academic Officer

Dr. Davis joins KinderCare from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, bringing over 20 years of early childhood education and advocacy

LAKE OSWEGO, Ore.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Today, KinderCare Learning Companies®, a leading provider of early childhood and school-age education and child care, announced Dr. Marquita Furness Davis as the company’s new Chief Academic Officer.

Dr. Davis brings more than 20 years of experience in early childhood education, non-profit leadership, government and philanthropy, including nearly six years as deputy director of Early Learning at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where she led the foundation’s multi-state early learning strategy which aims to ensure all young children have access to high-quality, effective and affordable preschool.

Prior to her work at the foundation, Davis was the executive director of a large non-profit agency. At this same agency, she previously served as deputy director of child development services overseeing several early childhood federal programs, including Head Start, Early Head and Child Care Partnerships. Appointed by two governors, Davis also served as the director of finance for the State of Alabama, commissioner for the Alabama Department of Children’s Affairs, and Pre-K director for the state of Alabama.

“All children deserve quality educational experiences and I am excited to be a part of a mission driven organization that aligns with this belief,” said Dr. Marquita Davis, Chief Academic Officer of KinderCare. ”Across the continuum of care and education, KinderCare Learning Companies is leading the nation in demonstrating a commitment to quality education and positive outcomes for children and families; and I get to be a part of this work.”

In her role as KinderCare’s Chief Academic Officer, Davis will oversee development of KinderCare’s high-quality educational programs, educator professional development, quality and accreditation initiatives, research and evaluation, inclusion services, and public policy.

“We’re thrilled to have Dr. Davis join KinderCare as Chief Academic Officer. She brings a wealth of experience and expertise, and I’m confident that her results-oriented focus and passion for serving others will be a strong addition to our organization,” said Tom Wyatt, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of KinderCare. “As an advocate for children and families with a true passion for education, Dr. Davis has shown a keen understanding of the critical importance of high-quality early childhood education and care to this nation’s future.”

Davis earned her bachelor’s degree from Northern Illinois University, a master’s degree from Alabama A&M University and a Ph.D. in Early Childhood Education and Development from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

She fills the role of Dr. Elanna Yalow, who will continue to serve as Vice Chair and Senior Advisor at KinderCare Learning Companies.

About KinderCare Learning Companies®

A leading provider early childhood and school-age education and care, KinderCare builds confidence for life in children and families from all backgrounds. KinderCare supports hardworking families in 40 states and the District of Columbia with differentiated flexible child care solutions to meet today’s dynamic work environment:

  • In neighborhoods, with KinderCare® Learning Centers that offer high-quality early learning programs for children six weeks to 12 years old and with Crème de la Crème®, which offers a premium early education model using a variety of themed classrooms;
  • At work, through KinderCare Education at Work™, providing customized family benefits for employers across the country, including employer-supported child care benefits, on-site and near-site early learning centers and back-up care for last-minute child care, and
  • In local schools, with Champions® before and after-school programs.

KinderCare programs meet the highest standards, validated by independent, third-party evaluation including:

  • Gallup, measuring workforce engagement,
  • National Association for the Education of Young Children, ensuring individual early learning center quality,
  • Cognia, accreditation for before- and after-school programs,
  • BRIGANCE® and TerraNova® assessments of children’s academic progress and achievement, and
  • WELL Health-Safety Rating™, validating health and safety practices in our facilities.

Headquartered in Lake Oswego, Oregon, KinderCare operates more than 2,000 early learning centers and sites. In 2022, KinderCare earned its sixth Gallup Exceptional Workplace Award – one of only four organizations worldwide to achieve this milestone for six consecutive years. To learn more, visit


Ryan James

KinderCare Learning Companies®

503-872-1300, option 3

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