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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Denise Bredfeldt, executive director of the Mayor’s Commission for Children, has announced her resignation effective in late October. “I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Denise for her 12 years of service as executive director of the Mayor’s Commission for Children,” said Mayor Bob Stephens. “Springfield's early childhood community continues to receive state and national recognition because of our innovative collaboration and leveraging of limited resources. I am very proud that we have such outstanding local early childhood ambassadors representing our city.” The 20-member commission acts as a catalyst to mobilize and educate the community about the importance of early childhood education. Its overarching goal is to make sure every child starts school ready to learn with the appropriate skills and knowledge, reads on grade level by the third grade and has the social/emotional skills to succeed. Board members serve three-year terms and are appointed by Mayor Bob Stephens. The commission meets at 8 a.m. on the second Tuesday of each month at the Midtown Carnegie Library. Bredfeldt has served as the commission’s executive director its inception in 2004. “Ensuring kids get a quality education is their best chance for success. This education starts with a window of unprecedented opportunity at a very early age (0-5 years) when pathways for critical skill sets are under development,” Bredfeldt says. “Socio-economic status is a leading determinant for school readiness. With every Springfield public elementary school now participating in the free/reduced lunch program, the challenges are great. But if kids get a good start, stay healthy, and graduate, research says they can positively contribute an additional +$287,000 in net lifetime earnings vs. a negative $5,000 expense as a high school dropout. When up to 50% of the gap in achievement scores in school is attributed to gaps already evident at the time of kindergarten, closing this gap early makes a difference in so many ways.” Bredfeldt said that over the past 12 years, more than 80 citizens have given freely of their time, energy, knowledge, and talent to serve as board members on this commission. Their ideas, suggestions and actions are all over the early childhood footprint in Springfield, she added. “I am humbled by their (board members’) unbridled passion to do the right thing for kids and consider it a privilege to know them,” Bredfeldt said. The position will be posted on the City’s Web site at springfieldmo.gov/jobs this fall. ### For more information, contact: Cora Scott, Director of Public Information & Civic Engagement, 417-864-1009 (office) | 417-380-3352 (cell), [email protected]