Our Team

Deborah Kong, President
P: (510) 271-0075 ext. 314 E: dkong@earlyedgecalifornia.org

As Early Edge California’s president, Deborah leads the organization’s day-to-day work and collaborates closely with senior staff on strategy. She has worked for more than seven years as a key member of Early Edge California’s leadership team as it has successfully advanced an early learning agenda. The mother of a 4 year old, she has a real-time appreciation for the current sense of urgency and opportunity for dramatically expanded and improved early childhood education. After 15 years as a journalist, including a position as a national writer for the Associated Press, and as a reporter for the San Jose Mercury News and Philadelphia Inquirer, Deborah pursued a Masters of Public Policy degree at UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy so that she could take a more active role in effecting change. She also received her bachelor’s degree in English with a specialization in Asian American Studies from UCLA. The granddaughter of a Chinese immigrant who came to America in the 1920s without any knowledge of its language and culture, and who ended up graduating from UC Berkeley, Deborah carries a special value for the critical role education can play in helping families achieve the American Dream.

Diana Chun, Communications Director
P: (510) 271-0075 ext. 303 E: dchun@earlyedgecalifornia.org

Diana executes Early Edge's communications and digital media advocacy strategies, calling for statewide effort focused on ensuring children have high-quality early learning opportunities from birth to 3rd grade. Prior to joining Early Edge California, Diana attended the University of California, Davis, where she studied communications. She served as the marketing events intern for United Way California Capital Region, and has a background in nonprofit volunteering and working directly with children. Diana appreciates that she's able to continue to support young children on a statewide level at Early Edge.

Katy Wise, Administrative Manager
P: (510) 271-0075 ext. 302 E: kwise@earlyedgecalifornia.org

Katy Wise, administrative manager, comes to Early Edge California with a background in working with state and federally funded community health programs with the Florida Department of Health. She found her passion in working in youth development after assisting several adolescent pregnancy prevention programs that targeted at-risk youth in the community she grew up in. She is a graduate of the University of South Florida, where she earned a bachelor's degree in business management. While attending USF, she was a member of the Entrepreneurship Club and is still a member of Phi Sigma Theta National Honor Society. She has a personal appeal to Early Edge California’s mission because she is a devoted aunt to a 3 ½ year old niece and 3 month old nephew, whom she moved to California to be closer to.

Patti Herrera, Consultant on State Budget and Legislation
E: Pattih@sscal.com

Patti leads Early Edge’s budget and legislative work, and provides strategic advice on proposed or enacted early education policies. She brings with her 15 years of experience in public education policy and finance and is also the current director of legislative services at School Services of California, Inc. Patti's background includes leading the Governmental Relations Division as the Chief Governmental Relations Officer for the Riverside County Superintendent of Schools, representing the Riverside County Office of Education and the 23 school district superintendents of Riverside County. Her work included legislative and administrative advocacy efforts on the full spectrum of K-12 public education policy.

Susanna Cooper, Consultant
P: (916) 730-2053 E: Susanna@SusannaCooper.com

Susanna provides strategic counsel to Early Edge California on early education policy, politica context, and communications. For eight years, Susanna was senior education policy advisor to Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg, shaping and shepherding the legislative agenda of one of the most productive, education-focused legislative leaders in recent memory. Her work at the intersection of policy, politics and pragmatism produced major public policy change impacting public education. In addition to her role in the state Senate, Susanna has served as visiting journalism fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California and as director of communications for Preschool California, the first iteration of Early Edge California. She also was a writer, editor and editorial board member at the Sacramento Bee, where she was responsible for the newspaper’s editorial positions on public schools and children’s issues. She lives in Sacramento with her husband and two children.

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