Ann Kalass has served as the Chief Executive Officer of Starfish Family Services since 2007. Ann brings a passion for children and families to her work along with a belief that all children in our community can grow, learn, and thrive. She is committed to helping children realize their full talents and potential by supporting the success of their families, helping them overcome barriers through effective programs and services, and addressing the gross inequities in our community’s educational and social systems.
As CEO, Ann is responsible for strategic planning, fund development, board development, fiscal management, and program and organizational development for the $45 million private, nonprofit agency. In this role, Ann has led a period of unprecedented strategic growth (over 300% growth in revenue), by defining and strengthening the agency’s core competencies in early childhood education and development, behavioral health services, and family support programs. Ann has expanded Starfish’s impact in Inkster, Detroit, and surrounding communities, and the agency currently impacts more than 4,000 children birth to 17 across Wayne County on an annual basis.
Working with parents, Starfish drives positive outcomes for its children with 82% of its preschoolers leaving for Kindergarten assessed as “school ready.”
The Aspen Institute named Ann as a member of the 2015 Class of Ascend Fellows, placing her in a group of 21 national leaders from a range of sectors who bring breakthrough ideas to build economic security, educational success, and health and well-being for low-income families in the United States.
In 2016, Ann was appointed by Governor Rick Snyder to the state’s 21st Century Education Commission to contribute to the development of a long-term strategy to drive necessary improvements to educational outcomes for all Michigan children and to better prepare students for a global economy. She currently serves on the State’s Office of Great Start Advisory Council.
In 2018, Starfish was named as the early childhood partner in a transformational cradle-to-career model on Detroit’s Marygrove campus. Starfish will operate a new, exemplar Early Childhood Education Center at Marygrove, providing the foundation for lifelong learning and educational success to hundreds of Detroit children and their families. Under Ann’s leadership, Starfish is partnering with the Kresge Foundation, Detroit Public Schools Community District, the University of Michigan School of Education, and the Marygrove Conservancy to bring a bold vision to life – one that puts children at the center of economic redevelopment in northwest Detroit.
Ann has more than 30 years of management and leadership experience in the profit and nonprofit sectors, including 13 years at Ford Motor Company prior to joining Starfish.
Ann volunteers in leadership capacities in causes important to her. In late 2019, she joined the Board of the Michigan League for Public Policy. Ann recently completed five years of service on the Northville School Board. She formerly served on the Oakwood Healthcare System Board and continues to serve as vice chair of the Beaumont Wayne Community Advisory Board.
Ann earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania and her MBA from the Tuck School at Dartmouth College. In 2009, she received a certificate from Harvard Business School’s Strategic Perspectives on Nonprofit Leadership program.
Ann and her husband Scott reside in Northville and are the proud parents of two daughters.