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Margaret Ganyo Named Executive Director of Children First

The Children First Executive Committee is pleased to announce that Margaret Ganyo will serve as Executive Director of Children First. For the past 16 years, Ganyo has served as Executive Director/CEO/Director of Strategic Partnerships at United Way of Southeastern Idaho.

“It is a pleasure to welcome Margaret as the new Executive Director of Children First. Her experience with effectively leading communities towards a common mission and her passion for youth development is unequivocal, and I am confident in her abilities to create a bright pathway for Children First and our St. Louis Park youth,” said Larissa Lekang, Executive Committee Chair, Children First.

Ganyo has spent the past six years leading an effort to launch what has become a nationally-recognized cradle to career community and schools education partnership. She also spent five years leading a high-performing, equity-focused early learning partnership aimed at increasing school readiness. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Spanish from Central College in Pella, Iowa, and her Juris Doctor from Santa Clara University.

“I am thrilled to have been entrusted with the next chapter of such a special community initiative,” said Ganyo. “I can’t wait to begin connecting with partners, Champions, and the community, envisioning a bold future together.”

Children First is a community-wide initiative with a mission to engage adults in the promotion of the 40 developmental assets. The initiative envisions a future where all children and teens in St. Louis Park have adult support to help them thrive.

Ganyo will be charged with serving as the community catalyst, in partnership with founding partners, the City of St. Louis Park, Park Nicollet Foundation, and St. Louis Park Public Schools, to activate adults to build assets in St. Louis Park’s youth.

“We were fortunate to have a number of high quality candidates for the position, which speaks to the reputation of Children First and the St. Louis Park community,” said City Manager Tom Harmening. “With Margaret’s leadership, we feel reenergized about the future of Children First and our ability to make a difference in the lives of all St. Louis Park children.”

St. Louis Park Public Schools Superintendent said, “I am excited about the experience and expertise Margaret brings to this role. I am looking forward to her leadership and the positive contribution she will make to Children First!”   

Ganyo will officially start her new position on February 10, 2020 and will office at the St. Louis Park Public Schools District Office, 6311 Wayzata Blvd. She will be introduced publicly at the Children First Champions Breakfast on March 5, 2020.

Ganyo replaces Karen Atkinson, who served as the first Executive Director of Children First from its inception in 1994 until 2019.