About hero

About First Steps Kent

Our community vision is that every young child in Kent County will enter kindergarten healthy and ready to succeed in school and life. First Steps Kent is working with our community partners to make that vision a reality.

First Steps Kent is an independent nonprofit organization founded more than ten years ago.

Learn more about the history of First Steps Kent and the Early Childhood System in Kent County.

Our Team

The First Steps Kent team is committed to ensuring every young child in Kent County will enter kindergarten healthy and ready to succeed in school and life.

  • Jennifer Headley-Nordman


  • Heather Boswell

    Vice President

  • Cati Cortes

    Financial Accountant

  • Shelby Glover

    Office Operations Manager

  • Kyle Johnson

    Funding Administrator

  • Kristen Sobolewski

    Project Director

  • Megan Streng

    Communications Director

  • Christine Timbol Larson

    Senior Funding Administrator

  • Daniel VanderMolen

    Project Manager


First Steps Kent Commission

The First Steps Kent Commission is committed to making Kent County a community in which all young children and their families can thrive. The Commission serves as our Board of Directors.

  • Kate Pew Wolters
    Co-Chair, Kate and Richard Wolters Foundation
  • Lew Chamberlin
    Co-Chair, West Michigan Whitecaps
  • Josh Sayles
    Secretary-Treasurer, Ernst & Young
  • Amanda Barbour
    Children’s Healing Center
  • Rev. Howard C. Earle, Jr.
    New Hope Baptist Church
  • Lynne Ferrell
    Frey Foundation
  • Claire Guisfredi
    North Kent Connect
  • Hanna C. Jaworski, MD
    Spectrum Health
  • Melinda Johnson, MD
    Community Representative
  • Ron Koehler
    Kent Intermediate School District
  • Dr. Juan Olivarez
    Community Representative
  • Kelsey Perdue
    Michigan League for Public Policy
  • Anthony Queen
    Parent Leader
  • Milt Rohwer
    Community Representative
  • Randy Thelen
    The Right Place
  • Beca Velázquez-Publes
    Urban Core Collective
  • Michelle Van Dyke
    Heart of West Michigan United Way
  • Carl Ver Beek
    Community Representative
  • Joslyn Ward
    Parent Leader
  • Sean Welsh
    PNC Bank
  • Doug DeVos, Emeritus
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We want to thank our generous funders for their support of First Steps Kent and their commitment to young children in our community.

Financial Reports

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  • Meetings
  • Minutes