Kara Waddell

President & CEO

Kara Waddell, President/CEO, came to CCA and Fort Worth in 2014 bringing a rich and diverse experience in nonprofit and public management. Previously in Oregon, Ms. Waddell managed the large and complex programs supported by the $130m Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) from the Administration of Children and Families. She served as the state’s child care administrator overseeing the state’s system of licensing, launched the state’s Quality Rating and Improvement System, reinvigorated the state’s Resource and Referral system, and directed the state’s $120m child care subsidy system. She spearheaded the writing of a Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Grant securing over $35m for the state.


Ms. Waddell served at the pleasure of the Governor on Oregon’s Early Learning Council. Proficient in Mandarin Chinese, Ms. Waddell previously lived in China for 12 years where she served families in extreme poverty as the Country Director for a large, U.S. NGO focused on outcomes for children. Ms. Waddell holds a Master in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government where she also was a Fellow in Philanthropy at Harvard’s Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organization. She graduated cum laude with a BA in Developmental Psychology from Duke University and was certified as an elementary instructor.

kara.waddell@childcareassociates.org 817-838-0055


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