Mark Lackey of CCS Early Learning Receives Bert Hall Award for Commitment to Community Health

Pictured, from left, are Lebron McPhail, chair, MSHF Board of Directors; Bert Hall; Mark Lackey, executive director, CCS Early Learning; and Elizabeth Ripley, president and CEO, MSHF.

Wasilla, Alaska – Mark Lackey, executive director of CCS Early Learning, has been recognized with the 2023 Mat-Su Health Foundation (MSHF) Bert Hall Award for Commitment to the Health of the Community during the Foundation’s Annual Membership Meeting on June 12, 2023. The “Bertie” is an annual recognition presented to an individual or organization that consistently exemplifies commitment to working at the systems level to improve the health and wellness of Mat-Su residents. Listen to Mark’s moving speech on the never-ending commitment to make a difference in the lives of children and families.

Since 2005, Mark has been the executive director of CCS, providing Head Start, Early Head Start, and home visiting services to the Matanuska-Susitna Borough. He has played a pivotal role in developing a team of highly skilled and trauma-informed staff, expanding services, and advocating for sustainable funding. Mark’s leadership has been acknowledged by receiving titles such as Alaska Journal of Commerce Top Forty Under 40 recipient in 2012 and Alaska Head Start Association Head Start Director of the Year recipient in 2017.

“Mark is an educator, a relationship builder, and a passionate advocate for children, and infuses these perspectives into every exchange for the betterment of Mat-Su’s children and families,” said Mat-Su Health Foundation President and CEO Elizabeth Ripley. “Mark invests in the intentionality required to transform systems and his innovative, collaborative, and relational approach is often a critical facet to achieving success.”

In 2009, he helped establish the Early Childhood Partnership of Mat-Su and served as its founding chair. He also founded and chairs the R.O.C.K. Mat-Su (Raising Our Children with Kindness) collective, which was established in 2014. Additionally, Mark is a valuable member of several committees, including the Alaska Department of Education & Early Development’s Early Childhood Advisory Committee and the National Head Start Board of Directors, where he provides leadership to enhance the early childhood experience both statewide and nationwide.

Mark is committed to transforming systems and understands the importance of intentional efforts to achieve success. His collaborative and relational approach has been instrumental in many of his leadership roles, as he partners with organizations and collaboratives to improve the family contact experience for children in out-of-home placements and generate cross-sector funding requests. Additionally, he was one of the coordinators for Mat-Su’s first community baby shower, which has since been replicated in other communities throughout Alaska.

“Mark relentlessly amplifies his voice as an advocate to better the lives of children and families in the Mat-Su,” said Ripley. “He testified successfully to restore $6.8 million vetoed by the governor in the FY20 Alaska state budget. These dollars comprised the 20% match required for the federal match (the majority of funding for Head Start). This year, he, along with others, successfully advocated to get an additional $5 million for Head Start in the State operating budget. This new funding will serve Head Start programs across the state.”

Previous Bert Hall Award recipients include John Weaver (2022), the Mat-Su Borough School District Health Advisory Team (2021), Kimberly Schlosser (2020), Lt. Tom Dunn (2019), Rachel Greenberg (2018), Bill Hogan (2017), Herman Thompson (2016), Margaret Volz (2015), Craig Thorn (2014) and Bert Hall himself (2013).


About Mat-Su Health Foundation: Mat-Su Health Foundation (MSHF) is the official business name of Valley Hospital Association, Inc., which shares ownership in Mat-Su Regional Medical Center. In this capacity, MSHF board members and representatives actively participate in the governance of Mat-Su’s community hospital to protect the community’s interest in this important healthcare institution. The MSHF mission is to improve the health and wellness of Alaskans living in the Mat-Su and the tools it uses include grantmaking, convening of local partners, and policy change. The foundation’s work has resulted in significant improvements in systems that support the health of Mat-Su residents in areas such as behavioral health, child welfare, crisis response, community connections, workforce development, transportation, housing, and senior services. More information is available at