About Us

CDEC Senior Executive Team


Dr. Lisa Roy
Executive Director

Lisa Roy headshot
Read Lisa's bio

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 honored by CU Denver with the 2023 School of Education & Human Development Distinguished Alumni Award. She also earned the 2022 Harmon Award for Early Childhood Mental Health from the Colorado Association for Infant Mental Health.

Stephanie Beasley
Deputy Executive Director

Stephanie Beasley headshot
Read Stephanie's bio

Stephanie Beasley is the Deputy Executive Director and oversees the day-to-day operations of the department.

Ms. Beasley has led operations in health care statewide social service agencies throughout her career. She began her career providing direct services to children and families involved in child welfare and served in many roles in child welfare in Indiana, including program and policy oversight. She served in policy, operations, program and ultimately as Deputy Director of Field Operations leading child welfare services in all 92 counties.

After leaving the Department of Child Services, Ms. Beasley served as the VP of Statewide Outreach for Indiana Youth Institute providing community development and capacity building services to youth serving organizations in Indiana. She was the Chief Operating Officer for Adult and Child Health providing mental health and addictive disease services as well as housing, foster care, and youth development services in central Indiana. Then in 2020, Ms. Beasley was appointed as the Director of Children and Family Services in Nebraska. In that role she led child support enforcement, child welfare, adult protective and economic assistance programs for the state of Nebraska. During her tenure, Ms. Beasley led the largest health and human services agency in the state during COVID 19 and made marked improvements to the child welfare and social service programs.

Most recently, she served as Vice President of Community Impact for Mile High United Way overseeing United For Families, United For Schools and Personal Investment Enterprise. Beasley earned both her bachelor's and master's degrees from Indiana University. She has a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma from Purdue University.


Mary Alice Cohen
Office of Program Delivery Director

Mary Alice Cohen headshot
Read Mary Alice's bio

Mary Alice Cohen is the Office of Program Delivery Director. 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.



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.

Read the Department of Early Childhood Transition Plan, or the Executive Summary. 

Colorado Universal Preshool Recommendations, or the Executive Summary.


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.