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An Important Announcement from Board Chair Jim Chappell​

June 25, 2024

 

As President of the Board of Directors, I am writing to inform you of an important change at Wu Yee Children’s Services. After twelve years as CEO, Monica Walters has decided to retire at the end of December, 2024. The entire Wu Yee Board of Directors conveys our deepest gratitude to Monica for her outstanding leadership and service. She will be deeply missed.

 

Monica believes that everyone deserves the best start possible. To that end, she has worked tirelessly for San Francisco’s children and families who are most at need, guiding Wu Yee and many in San Francisco’s early education community through a period of transformation. Monica fulfilled the promise to move Wu Yee toward a comprehensive multilingual, multiracial service model, reaching into San Francisco’s Black, Latinx, and Pacific Islander neighborhoods, while broadening support for the Asian communities Wu Yee has historically served. A highly respected community advocate, she worked tirelessly to advance San Francisco’s “Baby Prop C” as well as State and Federal programs. These efforts have elevated awareness of the social benefit of investments in programs like Wu Yee, and resulted in increased government support. Wu Yee now delivers a wider menu of services to more children and families throughout the city.

 

In Monica’s tenure, Wu Yee has become a trusted community anchor for thousands of families, a place for caring and responsive support and services. She led a major expansion of our Child Development programs, increasing Head Start/Early Head Start centers from five to twelve, and growing outreach to children, pregnant women, and families through our Home Visitors services. Two new Wu Yee Early Education Centers are under construction – in the Visitation Valley and Transbay neighborhoods – positioning Wu Yee to offer vital services to more children and families.

 

Family and Community Services also expanded thanks to Monica and her team’s exceptional responsiveness to community needs. Annually, Wu Yee’s ’s Resource and Referral program and our Early Learning scholarships provide thousands of families with networking and financial assistance. Monica was instrumental in launching Wu Yee’s Early Learning Hub in the Bayview, and moving our Joy Lok Family Resource Center to a spacious new setting in San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department’s Woh Hei Yuen Clubhouse.  

 

Monica’s team also expanded Family Care and Education programs, including programs that coach and train family child care providers, and programs that feed children, while opening up hundreds of new child care spots. Exciting plans are in process at Wu Yee to partner with San Francisco educational institutions to launch a comprehensive, professionally recognized apprenticeship program for Early Childhood teachers.

 

Wu Yee now has an annual budget of more than $100 million a year, with a strong balance sheet. The organization is well-managed and positioned for continued success. In the past year, the Board adopted a Strategic Plan, focused on fostering workforce equity in the early education field, building new capabilities in philanthropy, and reinforcing data management systems to better document the successes of Early Childhood Education. Monica has built a strong staff and a strong Board of Directors that will keep Wu Yee’s programs vital and growing during and beyond the transition.

 

The Board of Directors is entrusted to hire our next CEO, and with that, help set the path for our future. We are committed to actively working with the internal team and external stakeholders to inform the profile and search for the next leader. We have appointed a seasoned Search Committee and retained Carlson Beck, an executive search firm, to conduct a broad search for the new CEO. Monica will continue to lead Wu Yee through December 2024 to ensure a smooth transition, and stay on as a special advisor supporting the transition.  

 

Looking forward, we will create opportunities to celebrate Monica’s leadership and her long and effective support of San Francisco’s children and families. Please join me and the entire Board to express appreciation for her remarkable contributions in growing and deepening Early Childhood Education and family support services across San Francisco.

 

Sincerely,

Jim Chappell
President, Board of Directors