Best Starts for Kids Leadership Transition: A Message from Sheila

With a renewed levy, comes new and exciting changes! Best Starts for Kids Co-Lead Sheila Ater Capestany announces her transition and welcomes our new Interim Co-Lead Jamalia Jones.  Sheila shares her message below.


Sheila Ater Capestany, Best Starts Co-Lead, standing under an umbrella with colorful paper raindrops and smiling at the camera.
Sheila Ater Capestany (Photo taken by Roman de la Santos.)

To Our Community,  

It has been seven years since I joined the County as Strategic Advisor for Children and Youth and lead for Best Starts for Kids. Three years ago, I also became the inaugural Director of the newly created Children, Youth and Young Adult Division. What a journey my time at the County has been!  

I am proud of Best Starts – where we are and what we have accomplished, both in helping shift and change the way the County does its work, and in the way that we learn from and are led by you, our communities. So many folks working together to make things better for our young people – I am humbled by the big L love.  

And now, with a renewed Levy it is time for new leadership for Best Starts.  

I am transitioning out of my role as Best Starts Lead, allowing me to focus my full attention on my Director role for Children, Youth and Young Adult Division (CYYAD) as the work of CYYAD continues to unfold and deepen. Marcy Miller will transition out of her Best Starts Co-Lead role early next year (2023), allowing her to focus her full attention on her role as Maternal and Child Health Policy Manager in Public Health. Best Starts will remain a part of both of our portfolios and we will provide very high level guidance to the initiative.  

Image description: Jamalia Jones, Best Starts new interim Co-Lead, smiling at the camera.
Jamalia Jones, Best Starts new interim Co-Lead.

We are taking a phased approach to this transition over the next year. We have hired Jamalia Jones as an interim Co-Lead until mid-year next year. Jamalia has spent the past six years with CYYAD leading YouthSource’s education and employment programs for youth and young adults. Jamalia has also spent time the last two years in Covid response running both the Kent Isolation and Quarantine site and leading part of King County’s Eviction Prevention and Rent Assistance Program’s roll out work (Covid emergency rent support program). Jamalia will work with Marcy to continue to guide the RFP processes we are currently undertaking and to engage with our community partners.  

In the beginning of next year, we will begin an open process to hire two permanent Co-Leads who will take Best Starts from its “start-up” phase to its sustainability phase. 

I am filled with gratitude for the work, for our communities and for all of you. And, I am excited for this opportunity for new leadership to help steward Best Starts into this next phase. 

Best Regards, 

Sheila Ater Capestany 

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