About the Council

We’re all about our early childhood educators, children and stakeholders.

Council for Professional Recognition

For more than four decades, the Council has pivoted to respond to evolving best practices in early childhood education, advances in technology, and the growing diversity of individuals who are pursuing ECE as a career for the betterment of our profession, our educators and our children.

Our Mission

The Council for Professional Recognition promotes improved performance and recognition of professionals in the early childhood education of children ages birth to 5 years old.

Our Vision

The Council works to ensure that all professional early childhood educators and caregivers meet the developmental, emotional and educational needs of our nation’s youngest children.

The Child Development Associate® (CDA) Credential™

In keeping with our goal to meet the growing need for qualified early child care and education staff, the Council administers the Child Development Associate® (CDA) National Credentialing Program. The CDA® Program is designed to assess and credential early childhood education professionals.

The Council recognizes and credentials professionals who work in all types of early care and education programs, including Head Start, pre-k, infant-toddler, family child care and home visitor programs.

The Council sets policies and procedures for assessment and credentialing, publishes the Competency Standards and other materials used for CDA credentialing, and administers the assessment.

History of the CDA® Credential

In the early 1970s, a group of innovative early childhood educators gathered to find ways to improve the quality of early care and education. The concept for the CDA® Credential was born out of those meetings. It was initially funded by what was then called the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Administration on Children, Youth, and Families (ACYF). After several years of development, the first CDA was awarded in 1975.

A decade later, ACYF entered into a cooperative agreement with the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) to create a separate nonprofit organization to administer the CDA Credential. That organization, the Council for Professional Recognition, began administering the CDA on September 1, 1985.

Nearly 1 million CDA credentials have been issued to date.

Our Executive Team


Dr. Calvin Moore, Jr.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

Michelle Brown

Executive Vice President, Programs Division
Abena Ocran-Jackson

Abena Ocran-Jackson

Vice President of Credentialing

Beth Heeb

Vice President of Quality Assurance and Research

Christopher Barnes

Vice President of Growth and Business Development
Jonathan Nesbitt Bio picture

Jonathan A. Nesbitt

Interim Vice President, Accounting and Finance
Myra Haileselassie

Myra Haileselassie

Director, Human Resources
Usma Mohamed

Usma Mohamed

Vice President of Brand, Experience and Marketing

Our Governing Board


Linda Hassan Anderson

Linda Hassan Anderson

Retired, Vice President
Education at KinderCare
Portland, OR

Yolanda Garcia

Retired, Dean
Sonoma County College District
Brooklyn, NY

Roberto Lara

Managing Partner
Lara & Davis, LLP
Los Angeles, CA
Mel Ming

Mel Ming

Retired, CEO,
Sesame Workshop
Washington, DC

Dianna Wallace

Executive Director
Indiana Association for the Education of Young Children
Indianapolis, IN
Gerrit Westervelt

Gerrit Westervelt

WestEd Director of Early Childhood Policy and Resource Development,
Center for Child & Family Studies
San Francisco, CA
Albert Yeuk Yu Wat

Albert Yeuk Yu Wat

Senior Policy Director
Alliance for Early Success
Washington, DC

Contact Council Leadership

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