Great progress has been made in identifying transcriptional programs that establish stem cell identity. In contrast, we have limited insight into how these programs are down-graded in a timely manner to halt proliferation and allow for cellular differentiation. Drosophila embryonic neuroblasts undergo such a temporal progression, initially dividing to bud off daughters that divide once (type I), then switching to generating non-dividing daughters (type 0), and finally exiting the cell cycle. We identify six early transcription factors that drive neuroblast and type I daughter proliferation. Early factors are gradually replaced by three late factors, acting to trigger the type I→0 daughter proliferation switch and eventually to stop neuroblasts. Early and late factors regulate each other and four key cell-cycle genes, providing a logical genetic pathway for these transitions. The identification of this extensive driver-stopper temporal program controlling neuroblast lineage progression may have implications for studies in many other systems.