Smart Start of Mecklenburg County Welcomes New CEO

June 2020

PMA is excited to welcome Jake House as the new CEO of Smart Start of Mecklenburg County.  Jake has been in Charlotte since 2013 and developed a passion for education - and inequity in education - early in his career through his experience with the Harlem Children's Zone. Jake holds an undergraduate degree in marketing, an MBA from the University of Michigan, and completed a prestigious 2-yr Broad Fellowship in Educational Leadership which takes outstanding managers across the country and trains them to lead in urban school districts. 

Jake began in the position on June 15, and noted that he is "honored and humbled to lead the Smart Start organization. The need for our community to focus on our youngest citizens and their families was great prior to the pandemic we are living through. That need will only become magnified in the months and years ahead. I stand willing and motivated to help Smart Start and all of our partner agencies tackle the obstacles in front of us."

PMA's Mike Blackwelder served as the Interim Executive Director over the past 6 months and was able to work closely with the board and staff. According to board chair Dr. Cheryl Richards,  "Mike did a fantastic job, and was instrumental to maintaining operations, including safely navigating our response to COVID-19."  Jake and Mike will work closely over the next several weeks to ensure a smooth transition.