Placed Leaders

Susan Gale Perry

Chief Executive Officer

Child Care Aware of America

We partnered with Child Care Aware of America on the search for a CEO. Child Care Aware of America (CCAoA) works with a national network of more than 400 child care resource and referral agencies and other partners to ensure that all families have access to quality, affordable child care.

Our work resulted in the recruitment of Susan Gale Perry to the role.

Perry is a nationally recognized early childhood and human services leader skilled at cocreating vision and strategy with partners, building strong and connected teams, advancing diversity, equity and inclusion, increasing stakeholder collaboration, securing greater public and policymaker support, and raising new funds to support improved outcomes for children and families.

As Chief Deputy Secretary of Opportunity and Wellbeing for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), Perry directly led 15 Divisions and Offices with 3,900 staff, and a $6 Billion annual budget, including Early Care and Education, Child and Family WellBeing, Aging and Adult Services, Economic Services, Public Policy, Communications, Government Affairs and Data Strategy. Perry also served as Acting Secretary for the Department’s 17,000 staff and $26 Billion budget when the Secretary is absent.

There, Perry led the creation of a Governor-directed Early Childhood Action Plan , galvanizing support across the state for making measurable progress in early childhood health, learning and well-being; spearheaded cross-system aligned action to address the urgent crisis of children with complex behavioral health needs in the child welfare system; launched a new Division of Child and Family Well-being, bringing together programs and staff currently operating across multiple department divisions to address whole child and family health and well-being; and took a leadership role in managing multiple aspects of the state’s COVID response – including quickly developing strategy and operational capacity to successfully retain the state’s child care infrastructure and workforce so nurses, doctors, and others could provide essential services, and making sure children had food on the table when schools were closed by overseeing the launch of one of the first Pandemic-EBT programs in the country – providing more than $2 billion in critical food assistance benefits to nearly 1.5 million children across the state.

Most of her career has been in the early childhood public and nonprofit sector, where she held leadership roles including: Executive Director for the state of Delaware Office of Early Learning, founding Executive Director of the North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation, Senior Director for Policy and Programs at The North Carolina Partnership for Children, and Deputy Executive Director at Child Care Aware of America.

Perry holds a Bachelor of Arts in Women’s Studies from Hamilton College.  She earned her Master of Arts in Early Childhood Education from Concordia University in St. Paul.