About Us

Jefferson Ready Start Network is a coalition of individuals committed to creating and implementing a bold local vision for early childhood. We are driven by our community’s need to improve opportunities and inspire change for children birth to age 5 in our parish.

Jefferson Ready Start Network brings together partners to continuously improve the quality of and access to early childhood opportunities in our community. We are driven by local data and context to develop intentional plans, secure and weave together resources and implement creative solutions.

The Jefferson Parish School District is the lead agency for Jefferson Ready Start Network. JRSN’s work is directed by a coalition of Thought Partners (community leaders from multiple sectors) and supported by a Core Leadership Team (early childhood stakeholders).

Core Leadership

  • Sarintha Stricklin, Ph.D.
    Executive Director
  • Paula M. Belanger
    Director of Equity and Access for Early Childhood
  • Janai Garrison
    Director of Network Services
  • Julie Paley, M.S., CCC-SLP, BCBA
    Director of Professional Development & Learning
  • Jessica Rouquette
    Director of Network Partnerships

Thought Partners

Dr. Allison Trigg, Ms. Allison Sharai, Mr. Ajit Pethe, Mr. Chad Nugent, Ms. Charmaine Caccioppi – Chair, Ms. Chloe Wiley, Ms. Donna Austin, Ms. Erin Thompson, Dr. Gina Easterly, Ms. Ileana Ledet – Vice-Chair, Dr. James Gray, Mr. Jerry Bologna, Mr. Jim Garvey, Mr. John Fitzpatrick, Ms. Kate Wendel, Dr. Keith Leiderman, Dr. Libbie Sonnier, Ms. Lisa Barback, Ms. Ruth Lawson, Mr. Scott Walker, Mr. Todd Murphy, Dr. Shondra Williams 

Adjunct Members

Ms. Caroline Starlight, Ms. Monique Rouege, Ms. Paula Polito 

Early Childhood Education is:

The research is clear... 90% of brain development occurs before age 5
an education issue: In Louisiana, 54% of children are not kindergarten rady
a workforce development issue: 2 out of 3 Louisiana families have both parents working.


In the short term, employers incur a direct loss of $816 million a year due to lost workforce productivity (absenteeism and turnover)*


In the long-term, for every $1 invested in quality early childhood, the state yields a $7.30 return on investment, which makes it an effective use of state dollars. Early childhood education is short and long-term economic development for the state because it supports the workforce of today and the workforce of tomorrow.

Jefferson Ready Start Network supports quality early childhood education. This means that ALL CHILDREN, wherever they receive care, are in a SAFE, CARING, NURTURING environment with qualified professionals that help children successfully engage the world around them.

Jefferson Parish Early Childhood Education Snapshot


  • 28,000 children birth to age 5
  • 15,000 – 21,000 children birth to age 5 are economically disadvantaged (100-200% FPL)
  • Approximately 4,500 children birth to 5 are served in publicly funded seats
  • Less than 10% of the eligible infants and toddlers are in care


  • More than 600 early learning educators
  • More than 122 early childhood sites
  • 44% of teachers hold Louisiana Certifications
  • 36% of early childhood teachers don’t have a degree

Where children are served in Jefferson Parish

Where children are served in Jefferson Parish graph

Blueprint for the Future

Jefferson Ready Start Network is a coalition committed to creating and implementing a bold local vision for early childhood driven by the needs of our community to improve opportunities and inspire change for children birth to age 5 in Jefferson Parish.

Create and share data about early childhood supply, demand and outcomes
Diversify and increase funding for early childhood education and experiences in Jefferson Parish.
Increase and maintain quality programs and infrastructure.
Increase the number of infants and toddlers under 200% of the federal poverty level served in high quality settings by 25%

Anticipated Outcomes

  • The ability to systematically gather, analyze and share early childhood education information to make resource decisions
  • Increased number of children birth to age three in high-quality early childhood education settings
  • Improved quality in early childhood education
  • Decreased waiting lists for families to access child care
  • New and sustained funding for early childhood education