After 22 years as President and CEO of the Children’s Forum, Dr. Phyllis Kalifeh has announced her plans to retire on August 1, 2022.

Dr. Kalifeh has worked tirelessly to advocate for the early learning workforce, expand professional development opportunities, and bring awareness to the poor compensation for those working with our youngest citizens. She has made it her life’s mission to make sure young children have quality early learning experiences to prepare them for success in school and in life.

“As the Forum’s leader, Dr. Kalifeh has faithfully served and led the Children’s Forum through a changing policy environment from a statewide vantage point,” said Board Chair Robert Buesing. “We are grateful for her leadership, dedication, and commitment to young children and those who work with them in Florida.”

Dr. Kalifeh decided to retire so she could spend more time with her family, enjoy her 11 grandchildren, and travel with her husband. It was a very difficult decision for her to make. Early care and education has been her passion for 43 years.

“It is bittersweet because I have truly been blessed to do what I love with people I love, but it’s time for someone else to step in and take the helm,” she explained. “Upon retirement, I plan to pursue opportunities to serve the early learning community perhaps on a contract or volunteer basis.”

Significant progress has been made in creating a system where all children have an opportunity to thrive, but Kalifeh feels there is still much work to be done. She hopes the future President and CEO of the Children’s Forum is an early childhood professional or advocate, a leader with “fire in the belly” who is ready to change the landscape of early learning and afterschool programs, and a system-thinker with policy expertise.

“Early care and education is a team sport,” she explained. “To our Board, staff, members, funders, and partners, thank you for playing on my team and for your unwavering support and belief in the work that we do. I am confident that we will find the right individual to write the next chapter in the Forum’s story.”

The Forum Board is accepting applications from those who wish to be considered for President and CEO. Learn more and apply online at: https://www.flchild.com/job/president-ceo/. The deadline to apply for this position is March 31, 2022.