Recent News

July 29, 2014

Success By 6 accelerates efforts to get more kids ready.


(l-r) Stephanie Byrd,  executive director, Success By 6;  Valarie L. Sheppard, chair of the new Success By 6 Regional Leadership Council; John S. Dubis, vice-chair; Karen Bankston, vice-chair.

United Way Success By 6® has driven the vision of kindergarten readiness throughout the Greater Cincinnati region for the past 10+ years. Staff and volunteers have built partnerships, launched strategies and secured the investments necessary to begin the work of getting every child ready for kindergarten.

This summer, Success By 6 is launching a new ‘center of excellence’ operating model designed to accelerate progress, scale proven strategies, and more effectively champion investments and system changes needed to reach the region’s Bold Goal of 85% of children ready by 2020. Specifically, Success By 6 will drive community change by:

  • Guiding vision and strategy
  • Supporting aligned strategies to achieve the Bold Goals
  • Establishing shared data and practices
  • Building community will and public support
  • Advancing public policy
  • Mobilizing funding and resources

“Our initial structure and roles made sense 10 years ago – we now have the experience to implement an approach that builds on regional strengths and expands our capacity to accelerate progress. It’s both exciting and challenging, and we’re confident we’ll be strengthening the early childhood system in ways that help more parents get their children off to a strong start,” says Stephanie Byrd, executive director, Success By 6.

Valarie L. Sheppard, senior vice president, comptroller & treasurer, P&G, has been named chair of the new Success By 6 Regional Leadership Council. “Now is the time to bring this new model forward to ensure we’re capable of championing the changes needed in our region to prepare more kids. These changes will help us innovate new solutions, expand our data and research capacity and champion needed investments and policy changes,” Sheppard says.


Two vice-chairs join Sheppard in guiding the effort. They are Karen Bankston, associate dean for clinical practice, partnership and community engagement, College of Nursing, University of Cincinnati and John S. Dubis, president and CEO, St. Elizabeth Healthcare.

“Important to our success is our strength in building and sustaining regional partnerships and having an increased focus on improving policies to support early learning. We are well positioned with this leadership team to accomplish our goals,” says Byrd.

The first big task the new council and structure will tackle is development this fall of the Bold Plan in support of the Kindergarten Readiness Bold Goal. Byrd is confident Success By 6’s collective impact approach and continual focus on the one shared objective of kindergarten readiness will serve the process well. “We’re using this change to a new operating model as an opportunity to reinforce for ourselves and our many partners why and how we do this work. To that end, we’ve developed what we’re calling our Success By 6 ‘credo’:

We Believe in:

THE WHOLE CHILD That kindergarten readiness should look at all domains: language and literacy, cognition and general knowledge, social and emotional, physical and motor development, and approaches to learning.

THE PARENT AS FIRST TEACHER That every parent wants to, can, and should be their child’s best teacher.

QUALITY That highly effective early learning experiences are critically important to ensuring all children are on a path to success.

EFFECTIVE TRANSITIONS AND READY COMMUNITIES That a community and its institutions must support children across all domains and through effective transitions.

EARLY INTERVENTION VS. REMEDIATION That supporting very young children is morally and financially superior to remediating problems later.

PUBLIC SECTOR RESPONSIBILITY That the public sector has an important role in supporting and sustaining effective early learning experiences.

COLLABORATION AND INCLUSION That our community’s efforts to increase support for young children should be collaborative and inclusive.

PHILANTHROPY That philanthropy can play a unique role in building capacity within the system, strengthening quality and spurring innovation.

CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT That we must use data to make critical decisions and be tireless in our efforts to improve.

For more information, and to learn how you can get involved, visit