Imagine Early hires first executive director

Imagine Early, the early childhood education coalition of Adams and Wells counties, has hired its first executive director. Ashleigh King started in the position on Monday, Feb. 5.

Ashleigh comes to Imagine Early with 5 years of experience in nonprofit work in Wells County. In her position as executive director, she will work to promote Imagine Early’s mission of increasing capacity and quality of early childhood care and education in Adams and Wells counties.

“I’m a proud mom navigating the beautiful chaos of parenthood with a kindergartener keeping me on my toes. I’ve experienced firsthand the invaluable role that quality childcare plays in supporting families and nurturing young minds,” Ashleigh says.

“My mission is simple — to amplify the voices of parents, caregivers and employers, advocating for policies and initiatives that prioritize affordable, inclusive, and accessible childcare options,” she adds. “Every child deserves a safe and nurturing environment to learn, grow, and explore their potential, and I’m dedicated to making that vision a reality.”

“We are thrilled to have Ashleigh join Imagine Early,” said Colton Bickel, Adams County Economic Development Executive Director who serves as the Imagine Early board president. “The experience she brings will be utilized to drive transformation and change in our Early Learning environment. We can’t wait to see the benefits this will bring to Adams and Wells counties.”

Ashleigh will spend time making connections with local childcare providers, researching and facilitating funding opportunities to expand access to early childhood education, and represent the two counties at the regional and state levels as public officials continue to work to address early childhood needs across the Hoosier state.

“Ashleigh’s work will play a pivotal role in Adams and Wells counties by enhancing the capacity and quality of early childcare and education,” said Chad Kline, Wells County Economic Development Executive Director who serves as the Imagine Early vice president. “Through Ashleigh’s work, the coalition will ensure that children in the region will receive a strong foundation for their future development and success. By prioritizing early learning initiatives, we are investing in the future of our community and increasing our workforce opportunities.”

Imagine Early’s initiatives so far have been graciously funded by various sources, including but not limited to the Wells County Commissioners, Adams County Commissioners, Wells County Foundation, Adams County Community Foundation, and Ambassador Enterprises.

“We are beyond excited to welcome another county leader to the Adams and Wells Initiative, Imagine Early! With Imagine Early’s new leader, we are one step closer to ensuring that every child in our region has access to high-quality early childhood education. Together, we can make a real difference in the lives of our youngest learners,” says Allie Sutherland, the Northeast Indiana Regional Early Childhood Coalition representative.

Additional board officers include Adams County’s Teri Hogg of Purdue-Fort Wayne, Treasurer; and Wells County’s Julie Meitzler of Bluffton-Harrison MSD, Secretary. Board members include Kyle Sprunger of Sprunger & Sprunger, Candy Campbell of Kings Kingdom, Kalie Neal of Annies Publishing, and Jessica Bricker of Bluffton-Harrison MSD.

Ashleigh can be contacted at

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