HCN News & Notes

Educare Springfield Hires Bernitta Burnett as Executive Director

SPRINGFIELD — The nation’s 24th Educare early-education center will be led by Springfield native Bernitta “Nikki” Burnett, who has been hired as Educare Springfield’s first executive director.

Burnett was raised in the nearby Mason Square neighborhood, attended neighborhood public schools, and earned her undergraduate degree in leadership and organizational science from Bay Path University. She will be completing her master’s degree in leadership and negotiation from Bay Path in 2020.

Most recently, Burnett served as regional vice president of Multicultural Initiatives for the American Heart Assoc., where she worked throughout the New England region to build capacity and support revenue generation around community health and education initiatives. She has more than a decade of leadership experience and, prior to her position with the American Heart Assoc., worked at Baystate Health as education coordinator of Cardiopulmonary Services. At Baystate, she managed three cardiology fellowship programs.

Burnett also has been actively involved in community organizations in Springfield and in the region, having served on the board of the Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts, the Baystate Health community benefits advisory board, and Live Well Springfield, an organization that promotes a culture of health in Springfield.

Her duties as executive director of Educare Springfield will include oversight of strategic leadership, operational execution, and ensuring the effective implementation of the Educare model to the highest standards of excellence. Burnett will also be responsible for community engagement, fundraising, and resource development.

The school is scheduled to open in late fall. Students to be enrolled will come from the population of children and families served by Holyoke-Chicopee-Springfield Head Start, which will manage the center. Educare offers a full-day, full-year program and will serve 141 children from birth to age 5.