Michele Harris is the Executive Director of the First 5 Solano Children and Families Commission. Michele’s extensive experience in local government and non-profit leadership, organizational management and long-range planning assists First 5 Solano in navigating the changing landscape of funding and advocacy for children’s issues.
Michele most currently served as Vice President for the Children’s Nurturing Project (CNP), a local non-profit focusing on early interventions in the areas of children’s mental and behavioral health issues, prenatal services and safety for children. Michele successfully helped CNP refine its vision and strategic plan and was responsible for streamlining agency operations and increasing fund development activities. Prior to her CNP experience, Michele spent 10 years at First 5 Solano as the Deputy Director. In addition to managing the agency’s multi-million dollar portfolio she developed the Commission’s Long-Term Financial Plan and established many of the policies and procedures that comprise First 5 Solano’s current healthy infrastructure. Michele also implemented many of the innovative funding strategies and programs that have fostered an environment of collaboration across service providers to maximize connecting at-risk children and families to resources they need.
These programs have contributed to healthier babies and families, children better prepared for school, and enhancing the community’s ability to work together and maximize the use of available resources.
Michele’s passion and dedication to improving the quality of services and care for young children and their families is a natural match with the mission and vision of First 5 Solano. Born and raised in Vallejo, Michele and her husband Tom are proudly raising their family in Solano County. The mother of twin boys, their antics and wonder of the world regularly remind her of how important positive interactions during the first 5 years allow children to thrive and be happy.
Michele holds a Masters of Public Administration from Golden Gate University and a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Business Administration/Economics from Sonoma State University. You may reach Ms. Harris at 707-784-1332 or [email protected]. Denise Winters
Denise Winters is the Deputy Director of the First 5 Solano Children and Families Commission.
Denise was raised in California, she lived in San Jose, Jackson, Sacramento and Fairfield, before marrying her spouse and raising their children on and around Travis Air Force Base. Denise started with First 5 as an Account Clerk II in 2009, moved to an Office Assistant III, then with encouragement of her supervisor, obtained a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education.
Denise and her family followed her military husband to Nevada, where she worked for the University of Nevada, Reno, Nevada Center for Excellence in Disabilities, where she gained a wealth of knowledge regarding individuals with disabilities and the supports offered. Denise helped manage the many grants and contracts that flowed through the NV Center for Excellence in Disabilities, and further honed her skills blending funding and accessing resources to improve outcomes for those she helped to serve.
After 10 years, Denise has returned to First 5 Solano as Deputy Director, managing the fiscal aspects of the department. Leveraging funds and working through innovative projects keeps her engaged with community partners. The First 5 Center in Vallejo is a favorite place for Denise, going over to see the children playing and engaging with their parents and staff fills her cup.
Denise has 3 children and 4 grandchildren; she enjoys visiting her adult children and loves visiting her grandchildren, the happiness these little ones bring cannot be expressed. Nothing brings her more joy than children and watching them learn and grow.You may reach Denise at (707) 784-1335 or at [email protected].
Gene Ibe joined First 5 Solano as a Program Manager in the area of Family Support/Parent Education in July 2016.
She was previously a Human Resources Manager with a local non-profit which promoted healthy parent-child relationships through support services and education. Prior to this, Gene held roles in Contracts & Grants administration and Human Resources at various non-profits and in the high-tech sector.
Gene was raised in Vallejo and graduated from UC Davis with a B.S. in Applied Behavioral Sciences. She and her husband have a high school sophmore. Together, they like to travel and are fans of Bay Area sports.
You may reach Gene at (707) 784-1334 or [email protected].
Toya Adams joined the First 5 Solano team in July 2023 as a Program Manager concentrating on Policy and Systems Change. Toya has over 20 years of experience in health and social services. She has held various advocacy positions such as a direct services provider, Social Worker for CWS, APS, IHSS, foster care, family stabilization and reunification, and as an administrator for mental health and substance misuse programs and services. She came to First 5 from Solano County’s Health and Social Services Department where she was a Senior Health Services Manager for the Medical Services Clinics.
Toya is passionate about advocacy for underserved and underrepresented communities. As a former recipient of social service supports she has a unique perspective to help bridge the gap in access and quality person specific care. As a self-proclaimed natural nurturer she is a huge proponent of DEI and seeks out opportunities to promote inclusion for all.
Toya holds a Bachelor of Science in Human Services with a concentration in Gerontology and Co-occurring Disorders. She received her Masters in Public Administration with a certification in Organizational Leadership. Toya was born in Chicago, Illinois, and grew up in Oakland, California. She is the oldest of five siblings, the proud mother of four children, one amazing granddaughter. In her leisure time, she and her husband enjoyed traveling, spending time with family and friends, and attending local art, food, and music festivals.
You may reach Toya at (707) 784-1337 or [email protected].
Kwiana Algeré joined First 5 Solano as a Health Education Specialist as the Coordinator of the Triple P Positive Parenting Program and ACEs initiative in October 2018. She was previously a Health Education Specialist with Contra Costa County Black Infant Health Program (BIH), a statewide program aiming to improve African-American infant and maternal health, as well as decrease health and social inequities for women and infants. Prior to BIH, Kwiana worked as a Health Conductor for Center for Human Development in partnership with Contra Costa Health Services in the Health Disparities department, a non-profit partnered with Contra Costa County providing services to the community through support aimed at empowering people and promoting positive growth.
Kwiana was raised in Vallejo and graduated from California State University, Fresno with a B.S. in Health Science option in Community Health and Touro University of California with a Master’s in Public Health. She has a 9-year old daughter and a 2-year old son. Kwiana loves watching Hallmark movies and theme park rides.
You may reach Kwiana at 707-784-1338 or [email protected]
Health Education Specialist
Alicia Gutierrez joined First 5 Solano team in October 2023 as a Health Education Specialist. She was previously a Health Education Specialist with Contra Costa County School-Based Health Clinics (SBHC), a program that provided health services, resources and outreach to support youth. Alicia served as a liaison between county resources and schools within Contra Costa to assist with community health needs. Prior to SBHC, Alicia worked as a Training Facilitator with the University of San Francisco, where she instructed a National CDC COVID-19 Virtual Training, developed skill-building content and materials. In addition, Alicia assisted the State of CA by leading and facilitating training programs such as School Specialist, Vaccine Communications, Cultural Humility, Outbreak Management and more. Alicia also has experience providing educational services and support to children and families with disabilities.
Alicia was born in Vallejo and grew up in the Bay Area, CA. She holds a Bachelors in Health Science with a concentration in Community Health Education from California State University, Sacramento. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading books, writing poems, and long outdoor walks with her pup named Coco.
Office Assistant III
Caitlin Brakefield came to First 5 Solano from Solano County Child Welfare Services. Prior to joining Solano County, she had also worked for the City of San Pablo as a finance clerk and the Vallejo Police Department as a police clerk. Caitlin was raised in Benicia and graduated from UC Davis with a B.A. in Psychology.
Caitlin has three boys aged 15, 12, and 9. In her spare time, Caitlin enjoys running, reading, and baking.
You may reach Caitlin at 707-784-1492 or [email protected]