Staff Report

The First 5 Commission of Santa Barbara County has promoted Interim Executive Director Wendy Sims-Moten to executive director of First 5 Santa Barbara County.

Since 1996 she has been the business manager for First 5, overseeing its fiscal systems and accountability, operations, human resources, and organizational and staff development.

“Wendy is a great asset to the county and brings exceptional leadership and management expertise to this crucial role,” said Anna Kokotovic, chairwoman of the First 5 SBC Commission. “She has the insight and passion to help move this outstanding organization forward to ensure we continue to support the health and development of local children and their families.”

First 5 Santa Barbara County, funded by Proposition 10, partners with organizations throughout the county to support the early learning and well being of children up to age 5 and their families.  Since its founding in 1999, the Santa Barbara County First 5 Commission has distributed more than $65 million to programs that support the health and cognitive, social and emotional development of local children and their families.

“I know Wendy will provide professionalism, leadership and excellent customer service in a dynamic and challenging environment to address current and future needs of our county’s children and families,” said Mona Miyasato, County Executive Officer.

Miyasato added, “I would also like to thank Ben Romo for his many contributions and innovative leadership over the past five years as Executive Director of First 5.”

Romo became the management recovery and community engagement coordinator for the County Office of Emergency Management in March 2018, a special assignment serving as a liaison between residents, nonprofits and the county for recovery efforts following the Thomas Fire and Montecito Debris Flow.

For information about First 5 Santa Barbara County, go to