BlackECE officially has full-time staff!

Keisha Nzewi, Woman in Charge

October 6, 2023

BlackECE is celebrating 3 months of full-time staff! Since July, co-founder and Woman in Charge, Keisha Nzewi, stopped doing double duty, and is living her dream leading this Black centered organization. Since August, co-founder and Woman That Makes Things Happen, Samantha Thompson, has literally been making things happen. The depth and breadth of her ECE skills and knowledge, and penchant for strategy and organization, is the perfect compliment to Keisha’s depth and breadth of experience, and penchant for dreaming big. Congratulations Sam and Keisha!

Keisha (kay-isha) Nzewi (en-zay-we) is one of our co-founders and Woman in Charge of BlackECE! Keisha was born and raised in the central valley but has spent her adult life in the bay area (except for one year of VISTA service in Sacramento), graduating from UC Berkeley and San Francisco State University. She’s worked on policy issues most of her career, including tobacco control, anti-hunger policies, and child care. She is a board member of Mt. Diablo Unified School District, currently serving as President. She’s been married to a geologist (she didn’t know people did that for a living either) for almost 18 years, and has been mother to a budding broadway star and toxicologist for 15 years. 

When BlackECEs cofounders started gathering in 2021, we never would have imagined we would have an actual organization up and running such a short time later. I certainly didn’t imagine I’d be leading it. But here I am, living the dream! Getting to show up in my work everyday as my authentic self, standing up for our youngest Black children and the adults who love and care for them-are you sure the writers are on strike? Because I couldn’t have written this story any better.” – Woman in Charge

Samantha C. Thompson, MBA is one of our co-founders and BlackECE’s Woman That Makes Things Happen! Raised to value education, hard work, self-discipline, honesty, integrity, and ambition, Sam’s personal values and professional experience are what make her a perfect fit to help lead BlackECE. She holds an Associate of Arts degree in Paralegal Studies from Merced College, a Bachelors of Science degree in Human Services and Masters of Business Administration, both from University of Phoenix. As a bi-racial Black woman, Samantha was prepared by her parents for the obstacles she was sure to encounter, witnessing first hand the differing experiences of her white mother compared to her Black father. However, as a child raised in a multicultural, military community, she knows the cultural affirmation every Black child deserves can be achieved. 

She and Herschel, her husband of 26 years, have two adult children: Alexis who is a school counselor and Desmond, who is pursuing a degree in Sports Communication. 

I’m so elated to be an inaugural leader of BlackECE! My entire career in the ECE field has been dedicated to ensuring systems and programs are rooted in equitable, diverse, and inclusive practices, especially for Black children, Indigenous children, and children of color. Now, getting to unapologetically focus on Black children, their families, and early educators, I’m living my best life! On top of that, I get to annoy Keisha as a die hard Dallas Cowboys fan? Chef’s kiss!” – Woman That Makes Things Happen

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