Learning specialist Brendza rejoins The Youth Foundation | VailDaily.com

Learning specialist Brendza rejoins The Youth Foundation

Daily staff report
Vail, CO Colorado
Kathy Brendza is the new executive director of the Vail Valley Foundation's Youth Foundation.

VAIL, Colorado – Just 15 short years ago, Kathy Brendza helped launch The Youth Foundation, now a project operating under the leadership of the Vail Valley Foundation.

This week, she returned to the organization as the early-childhood learning specialist.

“I am so excited to be working with The Youth Foundation again, especially on such an important project as early-childhood education,” Brendza said.

Brendza was the executive director of The Youth Foundation from 1998 to 2005. The organization helps provide educational opportunities for the valley’s low-income youth.

This time around, Brendza will spearhead the organization’s efforts to improve pre-kindergarten and early-childhood learning for children and their families.

“We owe this to our children, and we can’t afford to wait,” Brendza said. “Achievement gains are significant if children can get a head start.”

The Vail Valley Foundation’s Youth Foundation early-childhood programs include the Great Start Pre-Kindergarten Readiness Program, the Magic Bus and Success at Six, which provides funding for Eagle County kindergarten-aged children to attend a full-day kindergarten program.

“Leading research consistently shows a direct link between success in school and the preparation that young children receive from the time they are born until they enter kindergarten, and this is an extremely important component in our overarching educational mission,” said Susie Davis, vice president of education for the Vail Valley Foundation.

Brendza was the co-creator and administrator of “The Center” in Leadville, a comprehensive family facility, offering school-age child care.

Under her leadership, The Center was selected by the Yale Bush Center as one of the first Schools of the 21st Century, while also receiving commendations from Harvard and Rhode Island University, as well as being highlighted on the “Brokaw Report” and National Public Radio.

Following her Youth Foundation tenure, Brendza was selected by Congressman Jared Polis to open the New America High School in Eagle County, serving second language students pursuing their high school diplomas and learning English.

A graduate of Regis University with a master’s degree in nonprofit management, Brendza also owns an administration certificate from the University of Denver and a master’s degree in elementary educationally handicapped. In addition, she holds a principals license, as well as a special education directors license. An associate of Yale University, she has taught numerous summer sessions at the Schools of the 21st Century National Academy since 1989.

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