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  • Giovanna Stark Biography

    Giovanna Stark is Executive Director of Government Action and Communication Institute, working with the Administration and the Legislature on education and health for children, youth and families. 

    She has designed and directed research and analysis on early childhood education, family support, preventive health services and child welfare.  She has facilitated over 200 workshops, seminars and briefings for legislators and staff, state and community programs. Ms. Stark puts an emphasis on establishing links between practice and policy – between the experience of the program practitioners, the findings of the researchers, and the adoption of new laws by elected officials.

     Ms. Stark brought speakers to the state capitol to discuss research into children’s early brain development – the first such seminars in the state in which researchers, providers of service, and elected officials discussed the research and its implications; the approach of Italy’s Reggio Emilia preschool model; and, special projects from geographical areas as diverse as North Carolina’s universal preschool program, and Oregon’s benchmarks project.

     Prior to her current work with Government Action and Communication Institute, Ms. Stark was with the California Assembly Select Committee on Adolescents.  With the chairperson, Susan A. Davis, who is now a member of the U.S. Congress, she held a series of statewide public hearings and prepared the Assembly’s policy recommendations for youth.  Ms. Stark made sure that each of these public hearings took place in a community facility that highlighted the theme of the hearing – for example, homeless youth, health services for youth, and alternative education – with witnesses who included the young people themselves, service providers, and other community members, who could express to elected officials and to state agency representatives exactly what services provided the most assistance.  

     Ms. Stark has conducted public hearings on issues around federal and state child care initiatives and convened roundtables and task forces on early brain development, after school programs, prenatal substance abuse, health care for children and youth and the needs of adolescents.  Her experience covers both programmatic and functional areas --providing a broad range of prevention-focused program and policy areas and is often called on by state and local policy makers for solutions on effective interventions for healthy growth and development.   Through her work with the committees as well as her previous experience in health and economic community development, she has provided testimony internationally on behalf of children and youth.

     Over the past nine years, she helped communities throughout California build early readiness programs from the ground up, leveraging the resources within that community and build necessary partnerships to ensure the projects are sustained in the future.

    Copyright Government Action & Communication Institute 2009