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My Children Won’t Let Me Work: The Economic Impact of Childcare on Dallas


Even if you don't care about the costs of our prison system, the quality of our future workforce or the staggering poverty statistics in Dallas, what happens with our babies and toddlers and preschoolers - at all economic levels - has a significant economic impact on our region. Join Regen Horchow Fearon, Chair of Early Matter Dallas, and Derek Little, Assistant Superintendent, DISD, to understand how our city has identified an education issue which starts before children ever enter a school and which has a compounding impact on the success of our adults and children to be tax paying contributors to our local economy.

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Speakers & Bios:

Regen Horchow Fearon (Yale BA),

Chair, Early Matters Dallas

Regen has spent most of her life focused upon the lives of young children starting as a student teacher during high school (Foster Elementary, DISD). She has served as a teacher, school counselor, head of school, mother and, for the last 30 years, as a civic leader for a variety of organizations serving young children and their families.

In the Dallas community, Regen’s service includes current and previous leadership positions at the Child Care Group, Commit Partnership, Dallas Assembly, Dallas Foundation, Junior League of Dallas, Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center, Dallas County Community College Foundation Board, Dallas for Children, Educational First Steps, Girls’ Adventure Trails, The Hockaday School, Planned Parenthood and the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas.

Regen served as the Chairman of the Zero to Five Funders Collaborative, an initiative of over 40 area foundations working together to make measurable progress toward school readiness for one of Dallas’ most needy neighborhoods. Under her leadership, the Bachman Lake Together Family Center was launched and a facility built to serve families of young children in the Bachman area.

As Chairman for Early Matters Dallas, Regen advocates for policy change, increased funding, better coordination and measurement of quality early learning experiences for all children so that Dallas County will increase the number of children reading on grade level at 3rd grade from 40% to 60% by 2025.

A Dallas native, Regen is a graduate of The Hockaday School, Yale University and holds a M.Ed from the University of North Texas, Regen is married to craniofacial surgeon, Jeff Fearon, and has three daughters.


Derek Little

Assistant Superintendent, Early Childhood, Dallas ISD

Derek Little serves as the assistant superintendent for early learning with the Dallas Independent School District. In that role Derek leads the district's efforts from birth to 2nd grade, working to ensure every kindergartner is prepared and every 2nd grader is reading on grade level. Prior to this, Derek served as the deputy director of early childhood at the Louisiana Department of Education, where he led policy planning for funding, accountability, enrollment, workforce and governance of early childhood programs. Previously, Derek was the director of finance and operations for the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts, where he was able to increase funding for the school despite budget cuts to education statewide. Derek started his career teaching high school math. He earned a bachelor's degree in molecular biology and a master's degree in finance from Tulane University. He has also earned master's degrees in educational leadership from Northwestern State University and the Broad Center for Urban Education.