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Grove joins NMF as new early childhood program specialist

BEMIDJI -- The Northwest Minnesota Foundation has hired Vicky Grove of Thief River Falls as the new NMF early childhood program specialist.

Grove began her duties last Wednesday. Lin Backstrom, who held the position since 2003, resigned.

Grove will work to serve the NMF region by providing support and direction to the 12 early childhood coalitions. Her biggest role will be working with coalition coordinators and the Thrive Initiative. The early childhood coalitions work within their local communities and the region to help all young children reach healthy development and enter kindergarten ready to learn and succeed. The Thrive Initiative's focus is strengthening early childhood mental health services for young children and families in Bemidji, Blackduck and Kelliher.

"We are excited to have Vicky on board with us because of her extensive background in education," NMF President Nancy Vyskocil said. "She has been immersed in the culture of education in Northwest Minnesota and has an awareness of what the needs are in our region."

"I am very excited to join the staff of NMF and I am looking forward to serving the region's youngest citizens and their needs to help them prosper in their communities," said Grove.

Grove is a 31-year veteran of special education, serving as a special education teacher and a regional facilitator for early childhood initiatives. She holds a master of education in special education, with an emphasis in early childhood, from the University of North Dakota. Grove continues to serve part time as a regional professional development co-facilitator for Regions 1 and 2 through the Minnesota Centers of Excellence for Young Children with Disabilities, a program affiliated with the Bemidji Regional Interdistrict Council and the Minnesota Department of Education. Most recently, she was a special education teacher for Red Lake Falls Schools.

Grove was born and raised in Grand Forks.

The Northwest Minnesota Foundation is a public, charitable foundation serving 12 counties of Northwest Minnesota by investing resources, creating opportunities and promoting philanthropy.