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The original item was published from 9/30/2022 4:38:19 PM to 10/1/2023 12:00:04 AM.

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Posted on: September 30, 2022

[ARCHIVED] Monaghan, Nichols Named Co-Managers for City of Aspen’s Kids First


Monaghan, Nichols Named Co-Managers for City of Aspen’s Kids First

Aspen, Colo. – Friday, Sept. 30, 2022 The City of Aspen announced that Megan Monaghan and Nancy Nichols have been named as the city’s new co-managers of Kids First, a department that serves as an early childhood resource center supporting quality, affordable childcare choices in Aspen and Pitkin County. Monaghan and Nichols will be transitioning into the leadership roles as the current Kids First Director, Shirley Ritter, retires on November 18, 2022, after serving with the City of Aspen for 25 years. Monaghan and Nichols will step into their new roles on October 19, 2022.

“With over 27 years of combined experience in Kids First, Megan and Nancy shifting into a shared leadership role of Kids First is an exciting choice,” said Assistant City Manager Diane Foster. “The City has the opportunity to promote two leaders who already understand the challenges facing our early childhood community and are well positioned to move forward on Kids First’s existing programs and develop new ones to help address this Council Goal.”

Megan Monaghan has worked for Kids First since 2015, serving in the roles of early childhood teacher, coach and most recently, Senior Quality Improvement Coach. At the heart of Monaghan’s work is training and mentoring the Kids First Early childhood substitute teachers and educators in Pitkin County. She also recently launched an internship program designed to find and train qualified teachers for childcare programs in Pitkin County.

“I’m excited to continue my work with Kids First to ensure that all children using licensed childcare in Pitkin County have access to excellent teachers,” shared Monaghan. “An essential part of my role is to use research-based tools for observation and coaching and reflective supervision processes to support early childhood teachers in their learning. 

Monaghan was born in Aspen and grew up here until moving away in eighth grade. She moved back to the valley in 2009 with her husband and three children. She received her bachelor’s degree in literature from the University of Denver, a master’s degree in education from the University of Phoenix, and an infant family associate endorsement through the Colorado Association for Infant Mental Health. In addition to her seven years with Kids First, Monaghan has worked in the classroom as an early childhood teacher for 11 years. She also teaches a respected statewide course, “Expanding Quality for Infants and Toddlers,” to support infant and toddler caregivers in their learning. Some immediate goals in her new role are to listen to the needs of our community and build and strengthen relationships. She is also focused on opening the new infant room at Colorado Mountain College and increasing teacher and parent education opportunities. 

Nancy Nichols has worked for Kids First for over 20 years, starting in 2002. During her tenure, Nichols has served as an early childhood teacher, coach, program coordinator, and most recently as the Kids First Building and Office Manager. Her years of experience provide the expertise required for understanding all the operational coordination and programming that Kids First provides to the community, from event logistics to building functions to budget management.

“Advocating for young children and the people who educate and care for them is part of who I am,” said Nichols, “I enjoy finding ways to better organize and communicate our work so that the community knows how we support them, and how to access our services.”

Nichols was born and raised in Aspen. Her family has a history of caring for and supporting the community; she hopes to continue this tradition. Nichols holds a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education from the University of Colorado – Boulder. Her background includes owning and operating a property management company for ten years, owning and operating her own childcare business for three years, and spending four years as an early childhood teacher. As she steps into the new management role, Nichols hopes to advocate for quality childcare in the community by identifying and supporting the needs of families, programs and teachers. She looks forward to understanding the new childcare landscape. 

Kids First began in 1990 with funding provided by a dedicated sales tax in the City of Aspen. Kids First has been recognized locally, regionally and nationally for its unique position as a government entity and for the services it provides. Kids First funds an average of 40 families at a time with financial aid because of this program. 

For information about Kids First services, programs and facilities, please visit For information about the City of Aspen, please visit


Contacts:         Diane Foster, Assistant City Manager, or 970-309-2927
                         Denise White, Communications Director, or 970-920-5293

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