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Child Educational Center Names Tashon McKeithan Ed.D. as New Executive Director

McKeithan assumes the position from long-time Executive Director and Co-founder Elyssa Nelson, who retires after 41 years at the helm of Caltech/JPL nonprofit affiliate

Published on Tuesday, July 21, 2020 | 5:43 pm
Tashon McKeithan, Ed.D. Photo courtesy Child Educational Center

The Child Educational Center (CEC)’s Board of Trustees has announced that Tashon McKeithan, Ed.D. has been named to succeed Elyssa Nelson as the Executive Director of the CEC, effective August 3, 2020.

Tashon assumes the Executive Director role from long-time Executive Director and CEC Co-founder Elyssa Nelson, who along with her husband Eric Nelson, started the CEC in September 1979 at the behest of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). Since then, the CEC, nationally accredited by NAEYC, has served thousands of families in a progressive, nature- and play-based program for children aged two months to 12 years.

Tashon has served in many roles during her more than two decades in education, including an elementary lead teacher, a Head Start director, an assistant principal and principal, primary school director, director of early childhood programs, and the director of a private preschool. She holds a Doctorate in Education (Ed.D.) and Education Leadership from California State University, Fullerton, a Master of Science in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Bank Street College of Education, and she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and Sociology from Williams College.

Tashon recently served as the Director of Early Childhood Programs at the Center for Early Education in West Hollywood. During her tenure there, she successfully expanded the toddler program to better meet the needs of the community, helped to implement an anti-bias curriculum, improved the outdoor classroom experience, and expanded the curricular offerings.

According to Board of Trustees President Katie Kenyon, “Tashon is passionate about creating a joyful and supportive learning environment that supports children in feeling valued, finding their voice, and recognizing their unique potential. We are thrilled that Tashon will be our next leader and look forward to continuing to work together as a community to advance our mission and build upon the incredible legacy of Eric and Elyssa Nelson.”

“To say that I have big shoes to fill is an understatement,” stated Tashon. “My goal is to continue the legacy of Eric and Elyssa and strengthen the organization as we head into our next four decades of continued success. I am excited to embark on this journey and am honored that I will be a part of such a special place.”

Beginning in January 2020, the CEC’s Executive Director Search Committee, with the support of the executive search firm Berkhemer Clayton, Inc., began an extensive search to recruit the highest caliber candidates from across the country. The Search Committee was unanimous in its recommendation of Tashon, and the Board of Trustees adopted the Committee’s recommendation with excitement and enthusiasm.

Tashon will assume her new position on August 3, with Elyssa remaining with the CEC in a mentorship role until August 31, 2020.

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