Public Preschool Becomes a Reality in West Marin

May 5, 2021

A collaboration of community organizations successfully worked with Shoreline Unified School District (SUSD) to develop a three-year plan to offer preschool for all children throughout the District. Guided by Maria Niggle, Marin Promise Partnership’s Director of Early Childhood Education, the collaboration worked together for 18 months to present the plan to the School Board. The first phase of  the plan was approved at the April 15th SUSD Board meeting and will be launched next school year at Bodega Bay and Tomales Elementary schools. The plan for the following year is to expand to the Inverness campus.


“Embedding preschool in the public school system will increase access and improve program quality. By partnering with the District and creating an Early Childhood Education Program Director position that reports directly to the Superintendent, the preschool will integrate, rather than duplicate, existing school services such as transportation, food, counseling, special education and family advocate support,” said Bob Raines, Superintendent Shoreline Unified School District. “There is just so much more we can do for all the kids when we work together.”


“Employment through the school district will be a game changer. Stable livable income, health insurance, and professional development will attract and retain high quality teachers who can better support our most vulnerable kids,” said Daphne Cummings, Director Shoreline Acres Preschool. “We look forward to seeing the plan implemented at Inverness School in the 2022-23 school year. I’m committed to seeing this happen. It’s just the right thing to do,” said Dee Lyn Armstrong, 1st Grade Teacher at Inverness School and Board Treasurer of Papermill Creek Children’s Corner.


Partners central to the vision of the plan include Marin Promise Partnership’s West Marin Kindergarten Readiness Action Team, the Preschool Directors Group, and Shoreline Unified School District. President of the County of Marin Board of Supervisors, Dennis Rodoni, also endorsed the project. 


Collaborative funding was an important part of the plan’s success. Marin Community Foundation, a long term school district partner, is contributing PK3 funding to the initiative. West Marin Fund was instrumental in the development of the plan. “We are honored to be part of the public-private funding for this amazing effort.” said Sarah Hobson, Executive Director of the West Marin Fund, a primary contributor to the cost of the contract with Prenatal-to-5 Fiscal Strategies, a nationally recognized expert on fiscal planning for prenatal to five programs. “Our approach, to create a comprehensive, cross-agency, cross-service P5 system, was a perfect match for the West Marin Kindergarten Readiness Team and the Shoreline School District.” said Jeanna Capito, Principle of the consulting firm. “Our work centers the needs of children, families, providers, and the workforce and fundamentally re-thinks the current system in order to better tackle issues of equity of funding and access.” Click HERE to learn more about The West Marin Fund and it’s innovative approach to mitigating stakeholder and policy maker financial risk concerns.


“The evidence from scores of studies is overwhelming—there is no better educational investment than quality pre-school,” said David Kirp, Professor, Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California-Berkeley and member, National Academy of Education. “It substantially increases the likelihood that children will be ready for kindergarten. Moreover, long-term studies find that this positive effect continues through school, with higher high school and college-going rates, and well into adulthood. While all children benefit from good early education, the biggest beneficiaries are children from families of poverty. I was pleased to learn that Shoreline was considering this proposal.”

Click on the image to the right to download a pdf Press Release version of the above article.

Click on the links below to read more Press Coverage about this exciting effort:


05/03/2021 West Marin preschools to join Shoreline district, Marin IJ

05/01/2021 Shoreline will take over Tomales preschool, but wait on Papermill Creek, Point Reyes Light