Emmy O’Dwyer is the proud daughter of first generation immigrants from Honduras. She has worked with children from birth to adulthood for over 20 years as a teacher, school administrator, and nonprofit founding director. Emmy opened the first new childcare center in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina wiped out 80% of those programs. Post-disaster recovery work shifted her personal mission to a two-pronged focus on the power of interactions with children, as well as the need for adequate funding and supports to fully realize the opportunities of early education. In her current role at the Louisiana Department of Education, Emmy leads the strategy for continuous quality improvement in early learning centers, through programs that strengthen the workforce, build efficiencies in the system, and increase families’ access to quality early care. Emmy’s work has resulted in national recognition as a 2014 W.K. Kellogg Foundation fellow, a commendation from the mayor of New Orleans, and most importantly, the admiration of her three children and husband, Kevin.