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Natalie Vanderbilt (she/her/hers)

Board Member

My Story

Born to a family of eight children, a black father and a white mother, Natalie grew up in Detroit, MI. From a young age she began to build an understanding of intersectionality and the power that comes from diversity and belonging. Despite Detroit being a primarily black city, Natalie’s parents made sure she was exposed to a variety of people, places, and experiences.

Natalie attended the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor, studied abroad in Spain and earned a dual bachelor’s degree in Spanish and Linguistics. After graduating she moved to Washington, DC and became a teacher at a bilingual immersion school. While teaching, Natalie worked tirelessly to support her student’s academic success and went above and beyond to provide extracurricular experiences. She taught her students to swim, grew a garden with them, led a cooking club, and coached a step team. After year three of teaching, Natalie began to pursue her Master’s Degree in Public Health at The George Washington University, studying Health Education and Promotion. Her observations as an educator led Natalie to believe that a child’s ability to experience success in life is predicated on both high-quality education and access to health. She witnessed firsthand how student’s physical and emotional health impacted their educational experience and wanted to influence those systems. Her initial mission to use education as a tool for social justice has now expanded to include health.

In 2013 Natalie moved to Los Angeles, California where she began working with the 0-5 population, leading a Maternal and Child Health home visiting initiative. After building the program from start up to full implementation, she joined Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services as the Director of Early Care and Education. Helming operations of Early Head Start and state funded early childhood education programs, she worked with a culturally and linguistically diverse team and families. Natalie managed a $4.3 million budget, braiding both federal and state funding to bring high quality services to families and equitable pay for staff.

Now back in Washington, Natalie is continuing to create equity for children and their families through health and education. She mentors early care and education professionals and serves as adjunct faculty at University of District of Columbia. When time allows, she takes on the occasional client for early care and education consulting.

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