Founded in December 1994 as the Forsyth Early Education Partnership, Inc., Smart Start of Forsyth County (SSFC) provides the tools, training, resources, and leadership to help families help our children thrive.  As Forsyth County’s champion for children and families, SSFC mobilizes resources, forges partnerships, and shapes public opinion in rallying the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County community to build and sustain an affordable, comprehensive, high quality system of early childhood development and learning. As a partnering organization with the North Carolina Partnership for Children, Inc. (NCPC) in Raleigh, North Carolina, SSFC is the only organization in Forsyth County, charged by statute, to care about the quality and progress of the community’s early-learning system.

A passionate team of education and community advocates, led by Dean Clifford, Ph.D., set SSFC on its path of mobilizing resources and shaping public opinion to improve early childhood care, development, and education. Since its founding, succeeding cohorts of volunteer leaders and professional staff have continued Forsyth County’s local early education partnership to provide parents, educators, and policy makers with tools for raising healthy, successful children, and ensuring that children have access to preventative health, dental, and vision care.

During calendar year 2015, our local partnership will celebrate its 20th anniversary—an important milestone for any endeavor!

Through the use of public and private resources, our volunteers and professional staff devote our corporate efforts to building our community’s early learning infrastructure through investments in people, practices, and organizations, serving children, families, educators, and allied professionals through direct services in the field, and leading the agenda for change through our civic and community partnerships.


Front Row (left to right):

Elizabeth Dampier, MPA, Chairman, Board of Directors – Smart Start of Forsyth County, Inc.
Larry Vellani, Executive Director – Smart Start of Forsyth County, Inc.
Brent Waddell, Market President – BB&T and Chairman – Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce
Jackie Lofton, Director, Advancement & Professional Outreach – Smart Start of Forsyth County, Inc.

Second Row (left to right):

Gayle Anderson, President & CEO – Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce
Rodessa Mitchell, Vice President, Education & Workforce Development – Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce
Mari Jo Turner, Board of Directors – Smart Start of Forsyth County, Inc.

Third Row (left to right):

Vicki Powers, Event Planner – Twin City Quarter
Jill Atherton, Vice President, Economic & Community Development – Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce
Debra Shaw, Event Planner – Twin City Quarter
Dan Joyner, President – Image360