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November 26, 2020
Square One President/CEO Joan Kagan Retiring after 17 Years
Joan Kagan
Joan Kagan

August 24, 2020 — Joan Kagan, president and CEO of Square One, a Springfield nonprofit that provides a range of education and support services to children and every families, last week announced that she will retire after leading the organization since 2003.

Kagan, who will step down from Square One on Dec. 31,will continue to serve as an advisor to the organization to support the leadership team during transition, according to Business West.

A search committee will conduct a search to identify Kagan's successor..

“When you think about the nonprofit community in Western Massachusetts, the name Joan Kagan immediately comes to mind,” said Peter Testori, chair of Square One’s board of directors, quoted in Business West. “For decades, Joan has been a champion for the well-being and education of our region’s children. Her passion and commitment have positively impacted the lives of thousands of children and families.”

“I have always been passionate about children and families, even when I was doing clinical work in those early years,” Kagan was quoted by “When I joined Square One, I came with the belief that in order to really achieve positive outcomes you needed to approach it with a holistic approach, which meant bringing in child welfare, mental health and family support services. My vision was to expand a single-service provider of early education and care to a holistic multiservice approach to really improve the lives and circumstances.”

During Kagan’s tenure, Square One expanded its service offerings from child care to a full range of family-support services, building on her 45-year career as a child and family social worker.

“Joan’s passion for children and families is what has made our collaboration with Square One so effective,” said Suzin Bartley, executive director of Children’s Trust in Boston, quoted in Business West..

“She understands that children do not grow up in early-childhood programs – they grow up in families, and families need support. Being a parent is the toughest job we ever embark on, and yet it is the most important role in the life of a child, and Joan understands that all parents, myself included, have at times needed access to information, skills, and support in order to grow as a parent.

Square One traces its roots to 1883, when Harriett Merriam, the daughter of Charles Merriam, of Merriam-Webster Dictionaries, founded Springfield Day Nursery in response to an unmet community need for child care among Springfield’s working families.

Today, Square One’s programs include early education and care at centers in Springfield, home-based care settings located throughout greater Springfield, and out of school time care for elementary school age children. In addition, it offers parent education, support, and training programs, home visitation and personalized case management.

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