About Us

The mission of the Chowan/Perquimans Smart Start Partnership is to bring people and organizations together to enhance early childhood development and school readiness through advocacy, family, and child care provider support programs.

The Chowan/Perquimans Smart Start Partnership was founded July 7, 1998.

Through our Child Care and Family Support Programs, we strive to make a positive difference in the lives of children and families. Our goal is to bring people and organizations together to work for and with children and their families, while educating families about available services, so their children will have the best possible start in life.

As the implementing agency for North Carolina’s Smart Start program in Chowan and Perquimans Counties, our primary mandate is to enhance child care services delivered to children birth to age five, so that they may enter school healthy and ready to learn. In addition to working for the delivery of accessible, affordable, high quality child care, we also provide services to children birth through age five who are not in formal child care settings and their families.

The Partnership currently works in collaboration with various agencies in order to deliver quality service, including, but not limited to, the Departments of Social Services in both counties, the Public Libraries in both counties, Albemarle Regional Health Services, the Safe Kids Coalition, and the Local Interagency Coordinating Council.

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Susan Nixon
Executive Director

MeShawn Hall
Early Childhood Learning Director

Likesia Hall
Family Support & School Readiness Coach

Sarah Williams
Program Coordinator

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Chowan/Perquimans Smart Start Partnership 2021-2022
Regional Board of Directors

Board Officers

Dr. Jay Fortenbery, Chair
Dee Spruce, Vice-Chair
Carole Laughton Sykes, Treasurer
Michele Lawrence, Secretary


Courtney Baker
Alexandria Diamond
Melissa Fields
Dr. Kanika Griffin
Kay Hall
Kevin Howard
Cynthia Jones
Michelle Newsome
Janette Palumbo
Dr. Allan Smith
James Spaugh
Barbara White
Howard Williams
Arlene Yates

Board Meeting Schedule 2021-2022 »»

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Grants Received and Community Support

North Carolina Partnership for Children: $8,000 - Resources for Resilience Project Grant

Chowan County: $5,000 - COVID Relief – Technology Grant

North Carolina Partnership for Children: $60,000 – Child Care Health Consultant Grant

Vidant Chowan Hospital Foundation: $2,000 – Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby Program

North Carolina Partnership for Children: $24,002 – Dolly Pardon Imagination Library

Albemarle Community Trust: $2,500 – Reach Out and Read books

Albemarle Area United Way: $11,000 – Kindergarten JumpStart

Apex Clean Energy Timbermill Wind Project: $2,750 – Reach Out and Read books

Chowan Community Foundation: $1,730 – Reach Out and Read books

NC State University, Institute of Emerging Issues: $6,200 - KidsReadyNC Grant