Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie file photo
Sen. Beth Bye on the Senate floor speaking. Sen. Steve Cassano is next to her (Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie file photo)

HARTFORD, CT — There will be a special election in the state Senate District that includes Bloomfield, Burlington, Farmington and West Hartford. That’s because Gov.-elect Ned Lamont has nominated Sen. Beth Bye to lead the Office of Early Childhood.

Bye, who had just secured a coveted spot as chairwoman of the Education Committee, won’t take the oath of office on Jan. 9.

Instead, she will be lead the small 118 person agency she helped create in 2013 to better coordinate early childhood programs.

“Beth Bye has devoted her entire professional career to helping to build a more progressive and equitable early childhood system in which all children, regardless of their parent’s socioeconomic status, can grow, learn and develop,” Lamont said. “It’s clear that the formative early childhood years are key to providing children a solid educational base and platform, and I know Beth is the best person to take helm of this critical agency.”

Bye, who is currently the executive director of Auerfarm in Bloomfield, said she’s grateful for the opportunity.

“Connecticut’s children- all of them- represent the future of our state, and deserve to have the tools and support necessary to develop, grow and thrive,” Bye said. “I’m looking forward to working collaboratively with the early childhood community and the K-12 system to assure the readiness of both young children and the schools that serve them alike.”

Bye has a background in early childhood.

She served as the early childhood director at the Capitol Region Education Council (CREC), where she supervised the birth to three program, and also helped to open two early childhood magnet schools. Earlier in her career, Bye was the director at both the Trinity College Community Child Center and the University of St. Joseph School for Young Children, which was named a State of Connecticut model pre-school.

Bye’s salary will be $155,000 and her nomination is subject to legislative approval.

Bye will replace David Wilkinson, the current commissioner who was excited in 2017 to take a job he knew may only last 21 months.

“I am enthusiastic about passing the reigns of OEC to Senator Beth Bye,  a proven leader who has consistently been one of the state’s most effective and steadfast advocates for young children and their families,” Wilkinson said. “OEC is widely recognized as a national model, leading the nation in preschool access and honored nationally for innovations in infant care, advancing parent economic success, and listening to our dedicated providers. I am confident Beth Bye will carry this progress forward and take OEC to new heights.  My top priority is to ensure a smooth transition for Beth so she can hit the ground running in advancing OEC’s essential work.”