Krista Scott, a child health expert working at the forefront of policy, advocacy, and equity, joined the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) in 2019. Her wide-ranging expertise in public health and education encompasses early childhood health, mental health, special education, and program development and support. Throughout her career she has used practice and research to inform and strengthen policy, and at RWJF she continues to promote policies and programs that give all children a healthy start to life and advance the Foundation’s work in creating a national Culture of Health. She praises RWJF’s “continued commitment to health equity, and its capacity for learning and adapting as it opens new opportunities to health and well-being nationwide.”
Previously, Scott served as senior director for Child Care Health Policy at Child Care Aware of America (CCAoA) in Arlington, Va. In that role, she oversaw policy initiatives to make child care settings healthier communities for children and providers. She led a multidisciplinary team that focused on using data to build equitable access to child care; increased staffing and expanded CCAoA’s portfolio funding by 250%; and created a respected monthly newsletter for child care staff, trainers, and advocates.
Scott’s earlier experience included serving as supervisory coordinator for the Washington, D.C. Office of the State Superintendent of Education. In that role, she developed a system of general supervision/quality assurance for Early Intervention Programs in the District of Columbia, which, combined with key changes in practice and policy, resulted in the program meeting federal requirements for the first time in its history. She also established and implemented child outcomes data collection process for children in preschool special education; integrated the use of monitoring data into the technical assistance system; and was a key collaborator in writing and promulgating updated regulations and guidance for the Early Intervention Program.
As director of social services for Rosemount Center, a dual language (English and Spanish) early childhood education center in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood of Washington, D.C., she provided comprehensive supports to more than 200 children and families, including disabilities services, family resources and supports, and disabilities services.
Scott earned her BA in political science from Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minn., and an MS in social work from the University of Texas at Austin.
Prior to her systems-level work, Scott worked in direct service at many nonprofits serving children and teens. She says her most rewarding moment was as a college preparation coach, working with eight low-income first-generation Hmong high school students during their junior and senior years. All eight students were accepted into college; one student, who had the biggest jump in her GPA and ACT scores, was accepted into and attended her first-choice school.
A native of Phoenix, Scott now resides in Yardley, Pa. She enjoys spending time with her family, walking outdoors, and enjoying a good book as she “reads into a nap.”