FSSA names new leadership in the Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration announced Friday that Courtney Penn has been named director of the Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning. She is currently OECOSL’s director of child care licensing.

Director of the Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning, Courtney Penn

“We are excited to have an individual with Courtney’s passion for and deep expertise in early childhood education as our next OECOSL leader,” said Dan Rusyniak, M.D., FSSA Secretary. “Courtney’s focus in using her team’s expertise to meet early learning goals will bring a high level of support to the OECOSL team to improve the access to and quality of the child care and early education system in Indiana.”

Dan Rusyniak, M.D., FSSA Secretary

Penn brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in the early childhood education field. She has an undergraduate degree in child development and family life from Indiana State University and a master’s degree from Eastern Illinois University in human development, which spans all age groups from infancy on. She has worked in direct child care services as a Head Start teacher and center director. Courtney has also done statewide and national-level work at the Indiana Association for Child Care Resource and Referral, Early Learning Indiana, SPARK Learning Lab, and Child Care Aware of America.

FSSA also announced that Courtney Hott will serve as director of the Early Learning Advisory Council.

Courtney Hott, Director of the Early Learning Advisory Council

Hott will work directly with OECOSL and the Indiana Department of Education to administer all activities of ELAC, which was restructured and expanded as part of legislation championed by Governor Eric J. Holcomb and passed in 2022 to elevate and support early learning in Indiana.

Hott is a licensed school counselor and administrator who found her niche in creating and advocating for education policy changes. She earned her undergraduate degree in psychology at Indiana University, Bloomington, and her master’s degree in education and school counseling at Indiana University Purdue University at Indianapolis. Courtney comes to her new role from the Indiana Department of Education and previously worked for the Indiana Commission for Higher Education.

“Courtney has demonstrated that she is dedicated to education and shares our understanding that quality education over the entire lifespan for all Hoosiers is the key to success and economic development in Indiana,” Dr. Rusyniak said. “This makes her the perfect individual to connect the early learning community to OECOSL and IDOE in this important role.”