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Colorado Department of Early Childhood (CDEC) Appoints Dawn Odean to lead the Colorado Universal Preschool Program

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Tova Cohen 
Director of Marketing and Communications

Colorado Department of Early Childhood (CDEC) Appoints Dawn Odean to lead the Colorado Universal Preschool Program

Dawn Odean will begin her role as CDEC’s Universal Preschool Program Director on August 15, 2022

Denver (August 5, 2022) - The Colorado Department of Early Childhood has announced Dawn Odean as the Universal Preschool Program Director, effective August 15, 2022. Under the leadership of CDEC Executive Director Dr. Lisa Roy and Deputy Executive Director for Program Delivery Mary Alice Cohen, Ms. Odean will be responsible for the successful implementation and coordination of Universal Preschool (UPK). 

Dawn Odean has worked for Jeffco Public Schools since 2001, most recently serving as the district’s Executive Director of Early Learning. Over the course of her 20-year career in public education, Ms. Odean has also served as a director of early learning, an elementary principal, an instructional coach, and a classroom teacher. Ms. Odean is thrilled to serve in this role, stating, “UPK will have an exponential impact for our youngest Coloradans, leading to expanded outcomes and opportunities to thrive. We know from decades of research that quality early childhood experiences lead to gains throughout students’ academic careers and beyond, and it is an honor to be a leader in these efforts for Colorado.”

The voter-approved Colorado Universal Preschool Program, as outlined in HB22-1295, provides at least 10 hours of voluntary preschool to every Colorado child in the year before they are eligible to enter kindergarten starting in the 2023-24 school year. It is a mixed delivery program, allowing parents to select the licensed school-based, community-based, or home-based preschool program of their choice. Additional state-funded hours of care will be available to children who meet qualifying factors.


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

Learn more about the Colorado Department of Early Childhood at