A Message From Our CEO - Collaborative for Children : Collaborative for Children
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A Message From Our CEO

As the mother of two sons, both grown young men now, I could not be prouder of them. But it was not always easy. I know that it takes a village, especially in this ever-evolving digital world. Collaborative for Children is laser-focused on providing relevant early educational opportunities for all Houston children. Since I joined the organization, we have been streamlining business units and building upon lessons learned from our research, because early learning truly is the building block of every future leader.

We will continue to:

  1. drive stronger school-readiness outcomes for all children;
  2. expand access to affordable high-quality early education; and
  3. measure our progress with machine learning.



We present to our community the launch of our mobile classroom on wheels, the Collab-Lab; expanding our Centers of Excellence with their 21st Century Learning Curriculum; and unveiling a new business accelerator program to support child care business owners. At the center of everything we do is the child—ensuring that all children will be kindergarten-ready.

We know that adversity is a great teacher. As I reflect on the past years, we had our fair share of adverse events, from hurricanes to pandemics to an unprecedented winter storm. Needless to say, the resiliency and drive of Texans shined through. At Collaborative for Children, we solidified our calling to be a resource and a pillar of strength, responsibility, and innovation to our community. We continued operations even when our staff was personally affected because we honestly believe children come first.

Collaborative for Children responded to these unprecedented challenges by ensuring that the children enrolled in our Centers of Excellence program continued to have access to their resources, and by supporting the teachers and directors of the centers as they responded to the needs of the children and families. During the pandemic, with the support of Houston Endowment and the project management of Bridgespan, Collaborative for Children and Workforce Solutions, in partnership with the City of Houston and Harris County, launched a dedicated portal to help over 9,000 essential workers find quality child care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We’re here to walk this journey with parents, educators, and the community-at-large every step of the way, identifying needs and resources and stepping in to fill them or partner with someone who can. When we look back on our many decades of service, we will be able to say we made a difference in the lives of so many families. As an educator and a mother, nothing will make me prouder.


Melanie Johnson, Ed.D.

Dr. Melanie Johnson joined Collaborative for Children in 2018 and her visionary STEM leadership has transformed communities through child care Centers of Excellence (COEs), bringing vital education resources where needed most. She leads the region in strategic digital transformation and systems building to improve outcomes for children not enrolled in Pre-K. For over 36 years, Collaborative has championed early childhood education, ensuring every child has access to quality learning. Today’s children face a workforce that does not yet exist, and Collaborative for Children ensures they are prepared for school and 21st-century outcomes and skills. Prior to joining Collaborative for Children, Dr. Johnson was President and CEO of The Health Museum, where she led the Museum to Smithsonian Affiliation. She was the NASA visitor center’s Director of Education. She serves on the Texas Animal Health Commission, as appointed by the Governor. She is on the Advisory Council for the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.