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MDC Staff Profile: Khari Garvin

MDC Staff Profile: Khari Garvin

Last month, we welcomed Khari Garvin to the MDC team. Khari is based in Forsyth County and will lead MDC’s systems change and community engagement work for Great Expectations, a major early childhood initiative supported by the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, as the Program Director.

Most recently, Khari has served as director of the N.C. Head Start-State Collaboration Office, where he led the state office of the N.C. Head Start system — a network of 55 agencies serving over 27,000 low-income children birth to age five, and their families, across the state. In this capacity, Khari successfully led a number of innovative collaborative initiatives, linking Head Start with multiple external partners at the community and state levels. These include an initiative to attract and recruit well-credentialed, bilingual professionals to work in the NC Head Start system; and leading the effort to augment Head Start’s capacity to participate in North Carolina’s Early Childhood Integrated Data System, which will inform policy and planning.

Fueled by a deep commitment to family engagement, Khari also conceived and coordinated North Carolina’s Race to the Top Early Challenge Grant Head Start Family Engagement Project.  

Prior to working for the state Head Start office, Khari served as assistant Head Start/EHS program director for Guilford Child Development, where he provided management oversight of daily operations for those programs. Earlier experiences include serving as a program coordinator with Southern Illinois University Head Start and as a TANF student advocate at St. Louis Community College, working to increase low-income students’ persistence and retention there. In 1999, he was competitively selected as a National Head Start Fellow.

Khari is a native of Miami, Fla., and he and his wife have lived in the Triad since 2005.

We sat down with Khari to learn a bit more about him and his background. Here's what we've learned about Khari!

What attracted you to MDC and Great Expectations?

The prospect of being part of an initiative that is intent on creating systems change to better support disadvantaged families with children birth to age six, with real resources to support the effort, are hands-down the factors that attracted me to MDC and Great Expectations.

What are you excited about?

I am most excited about the prospect of effecting real change in Forsyth County. Too often there are situations when there is public will to create change without resources to support that will, or the opposite condition.  Here, there is the unusual circumstance of both being present and a real opportunity to develop something that is meaningful.

Why is working on early childhood important?

One might think that the notion that a living being is perpetually in a state of learning might have always been intuitive, but we are only just coming around to this view. Cognitive development actually begins prenatally. There are real opportunities to nurture that development very early on. As babies grow into adults and members of local communities and larger societies, it is critical that we support the healthy development of all children so that their potential will be maximized, leading to stronger communities and societies. There are many families that have access to important resources that will support a healthy trajectory of development for their children. But there are other families who have difficulty accessing those resources, whose children are also important and who will go on to contribute to communities. Investing in early childhood development ultimately helps to create a stronger society for all.

Do you have any secret talents or passions? What are they?

I am a percussionist, although I no longer play regularly.  I love independent films!

Do you have a favorite quote, poem, or passage?

I have several favorite passages of scripture in the Bible.  One of them is Titus 3:3-7.

At one time we, too, were foolish, disobedient, deceived, and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. 

What's your all-time favorite television show?

The West Wing!