About Us

CDEC Executive Leadership Team

Dr. Lisa Roy, Executive Director
Dr. Lisa Roy was appointed by Governor Jared Polis as the Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Early Childhood in May 2022. The Department manages Universal Preschool (UPK) Colorado, which provides half-day preschool for all Colorado children in the year before kindergarten. The Department also manages comprehensive programs and services for young children, families and early childhood professionals.

Dr. Roy previously served as the director of program development for the Buffett Early Childhood Institute and as the executive director of early childhood education for Denver Public Schools. She has volunteered and worked in non-profit and government roles supporting families with young children for over 30 years.

Dr. Roy completed a doctorate in Leadership for Educational Equity with an emphasis on Executive Leadership from the University of Colorado at Denver. She also has a master’s in Counseling Psychology and Counselor Education with a focus on school counseling, also from CU Denver.

Dr. Roy has served on many boards including the Emily Griffith Foundation, Denver Early Childhood Council, Afterschool Alliance, KIPP Colorado, Mental Health Center of Denver, Tony Grampsas Youth Crime Prevention and Intervention, and Denver Welfare Reform. 

Dr. Roy is a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the Colorado Women's Forum and the Golden Key Society. She was recently honored with the Harmon Award for Early Childhood Mental Health from the Colorado Association for Infant Mental Health.

Mary Alice Cohen, Deputy Executive Director
Mary Alice Cohen is the Deputy Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Early Childhood and oversees the Office of Program Delivery. In her role, Cohen leads collaborative work that focuses on a whole-child, whole-family approach, ensuring all children are healthy, valued, and thriving, inclusive of zip code, income, race, and abilities. 

Cohen has more than 25 years of experience supporting young children and their families across multiple organizations, including the Department of Human Services, family resource centers, children’s museums, and community colleges. 

Cohen earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California at Santa Barbara and a master’s degree in education from the University of San Francisco.

Tom Massey, Chief Administrative Officer
Tom Massey is the Chief Administrative Officer, overseeing the Office of Administrative Solutions. He spent the past 10 years as the Deputy Executive Director and Policy Communications and Administration Office Director at the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing, where he was responsible for the management of government relations, internal and external communications, legal division, human resources, workforce development and facility operations. 

Prior to his time at HCPF, Tom served as a state legislator representing Colorado House District 60 (Poncha Springs, Salida) for eight years. He was a member of the Health and Environment Committee and chaired the House Education Committee. He received numerous legislative honors, including awards from the Colorado Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Leadership for Healthy Communities, Colorado Substance Abuse Peer Services, and the Colorado Home Health Care Network. 

Massey served as co-chair of the Early Childhood Leadership Commission for three years and has been a member of the Colorado Child Welfare Commission, served on the boards of the Health Information Exchange Board and the Health Information Technology Advisory, and has been a Colorado Health Foundation Fellow. He also served on the Board of Directors for the Children’s Health Foundation. 

Massey earned a bachelor's degree from the University of North Texas.

Colleen Lynn, Office of Business, Innovation, Technology & Security Management Director

CDEC Overview
The Colorado Department of Early Childhood (CDEC) delivers a broad range of programs and services to Colorado's youngest children, their families, and the professionals who serve them. This includes the voter-approved Universal Preschool (UPK) Colorado Program, which will launch in the 2023-24 school year. The Department was established in July 2022 under the leadership of Executive Director Dr. Lisa Roy, the Governor's cabinet appointment for Early Childhood. CDEC unifies Colorado's early childhood system and elevates it to cabinet-level importance, implementing the vision of Governor Polis and a dedicated stakeholder community that contributed to the launch of the Department of Early Childhood.

There are two stakeholder-driven reports, unanimously approved by the ECLC, which detail the vision for early childhood in Colorado.

Click here to read the Department of Early Childhood Transition Plan, or the Executive Summary available in English, Spanish and Arabic.

Click here to read the Colorado Universal Preschool Recommendations, or the Executive Summary available in English, Spanish and Arabic

CDEC Vision

All Colorado children, families, and early childhood professionals are valued, healthy and thriving.

CDEC Mission

The Colorado Department of Early Childhood ensures the delivery of an inclusive, community-centered, data-driven, high quality, and equitable early childhood system that supports the care, education, and well-being of all Colorado’s young children, their caregivers, and early childhood professionals in all settings.

Newsletters and Announcements
Sign up for Department of Early Childhood notifications.

Job Opportunities
View State of Colorado job openings.