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New Era Begins at HIPPY USA as Staci Croom-Raley Assumes Executive Director Position
National Home Visiting Program Poised for Expansion
LITTLE ROCK, Ark.— The Board of Trustees of Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters has named veteran nonprofit executive Staci Croom-Raley as its new executive director. HIPPY USA, an evidence-based home visiting program that helps parents in their role as their child’s first and best teacher, is based in Little Rock, Ark., and operates across the United States. Croom-Raley sees further expansion as a major goal.
“This program truly does help close the achievement gap; that’s why I’m so focused on growing HIPPY USA. My own niece, now a senior in college, experienced the HIPPY program as a child, and I saw the difference HIPPY made in her education. We want all children to have a chance to reach their full potential, starting the first day they walk into school, if not before,” says Croom-Raley.
Croom-Raley plans to use her background in workforce development to strengthen HIPPY USA’s efforts in this area. “HIPPY USA creates a comfortable and direct entrance into a career pathway for people who may have struggled to secure meaningful employment or their first professional job. Through home visits, they see possibilities for themselves to become peer educators and then move into other jobs; HIPPY programs have had many such success stories.”
Prior to joining HIPPY USA, Croom-Raley served as Vice President of Workforce Development at Goodwill Industries of Arkansas. Her efforts at Goodwill led to an impressive expansion of the nonprofit’s activities. Previously, she was Deputy Director of the Arkansas Workforce Investment Board, served as Board Chair of Center for Women in Transition, and currently serves on the Arkansas State Board of Private Career Education.
She’s held positions across the country with Girls and Boys Town, USA and worked as an Arkansas Department of Health liaison to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to address public health initiatives regarding tobacco control.
“Staci’s strengths and knowledge of best practices for sustainable program expansion will serve us well as the demand for HIPPY continues to grow. While we are helping to close the achievement gap by serving more than 15,000 families in almost 140 communities, more is needed. We are fortunate to have someone with her experience ready to lead in this important role,” says Marjorie Margolies, Chair, Board of Trustees, HIPPY USA.
“Staci is a strategic thinker with a big heart for children, education, and her home state of Arkansas; the combination of all three are a perfect fit for the HIPPY USA family. I can’t wait to see how her energy and vision come together to benefit more communities,” says Sherece West-Scantlebury, Ph.D., President, Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, which is based in Little Rock.
Croom-Raley says her passion for promoting education opportunities began when she attended Little Rock Central High School, which played a key role in our county’s civil rights history. Staci earned a juris doctorate from the William H. Bowen School of Law at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and is a member of the Arkansas Bar. She also earned a master’s degree in leadership and policy studies, and a bachelor’s degree in political science/economics from the University of Memphis.
The HIPPY program seeks to support parents who may not feel sufficiently confident to prepare their children for school, and is designed to remove barriers to participation in education. HIPPY's primary goal is to increase vulnerable children’s success in school and, ultimately, in life.
The HIPPY Curriculum, designed for children ages 3–5, contains 30 weeks of education curricula and books for three years. In addition to these basic materials, supplies such as scissors and crayons are provided for each participating family. The program employs trained coordinators and community-based home visitors who go into the home and role play the activities with parents and support each family throughout its participation in the program.