Kristin Bernhard headshot

Kristin Bernhard

Chief Policy & Research Officer

Kristin Bernhard, J.D., leads the advocacy, policy, and research strategy at Start Early, driving the organization’s efforts to strengthen prenatal-age five systems at the federal, state, and community levels.

Prior to joining Start Early, Kristin spent a decade in state government in Georgia, most recently as the Deputy Commissioner for System Reform at the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning, where she led the implementation of initiatives to strengthen the quality and accessibility of the state’s early learning system.  Before that, she served as the P-20 Education Policy Advisor to Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and in the policy office of Governor Sonny Perdue.

Kristin holds bachelor’s degrees from the University of Georgia and a juris doctorate from Georgia State University’s College of Law. She was selected as a 2018 Aspen Institute Ascend Fellow and is a graduate of the Governor Zell Miller Foundation Leadership Institute. She lives with her husband and son in Chicago, where she is an active member of the Junior League.