Print Friendly and PDF

Bob Harbison

Board Member, Smart Start Oklahoma

Bob_HarbisonBob Harbison is a retired corporate executive and a full-time early childhood advocate. When he retired in 1991, the Tulsa Chamber of Commerce concluded the real gap was early childhood education and Harbison worked with the chamber to implement strategies to help ready children for school success. He was instrumental in forming a new nonprofit, the Tulsa Children’s Coalition, and was executive director of that organization for seven years. Harbison was heavily involved in the 1998 legislation that created Oklahoma’s universal pre-K for 4 year olds and child care legislation creating the first differential quality reimbursement system for subsidized children.

Oklahoma legislation in 2003 created Smart Start Oklahoma, a statewide coalition that coordinates existing early childhood education programs to increase their effectiveness and cost-efficiency, to help raise awareness of the importance of positive early childhood development. In addition, Harbison serves on Smart Start Oklahoma’s foundation board and the local boards of Lawton and Oklahoma City.

Harbison also serves on the board of OKC Educare, a network of 18 centers across the country that provide state of the art early care and education for children birth to five. For the past six years, he has been a consultant for the Inasmuch Foundation in Oklahoma City on their early childhood philanthropy.