About Us

The Mission of the Chowan/Perquimans Smart Start Partnership, as a regional, community-based organization, is to facilitate collaboration and coordination of comprehensive family support services for all children to maximize school preparedness and to ultimately develop future productive citizens.

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

Through our Childcare 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

Dennet Thomason
Finance and Human Resources Officer

MeShawn Hall
Early Childhood Learning Director

Sherlton Broadnax
Family Support and School Readiness Coach

Sarah Williams
Program Coordinator

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Chowan/Perquimans Smart Start Partnership 2019-2021
Regional Board of Directors

Board Officers

Dr. Jay Fortenbery, Chair
Lora Aples, Vice-Chair
Carole Laughton Sykes, Treasurer
Alexandria Diamond, Secretary


Christine Dowdell
Sid Eley
Melissa Fields
Jennifer Finlay
Kanika Griffin
Perry Gurganus
Kay Hall
Cynthia Jones
Gary Ray
Dr. Allan Smith
Wanda Stallings
Melanie Young
Joan White
Arlene Yates

Board Meeting Schedule for 2020-2021

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Grants Received and Community Support

Chowan Community Foundation, $1,765 for the Reach Out and Read Program

Albemarle Area United Way, $10,000 for the Early Literacy Jump Start Program

North Carolina Partnership for Children, $8,000 for Dolly Parton Imagination Library

North Carolina Partnership for Children, $8,000, for COVID CARES ACT