On behalf of the Board of the Collaboration for Early Childhood, I have some news to share with our partners, stakeholders, donors and volunteers. After nine years in her post as the Collaboration’s Executive Director, Carolyn Newberry Schwartz will be stepping down in August of 2018. Our sadness is tempered by excitement for Carolyn as she moves on to new things, and we’re grateful that she will be assisting us in the transition process. The Board of the Collaboration is energized and excited as we anticipate furthering the remarkable progress we have made under Carolyn’s leadership.
Since its inception in 2002, the Collaboration–an innovative public/private partnership–has grown tremendously. With the support of our dedicated staff and the staff of more than 70 partner organizations, as well as many volunteers, the Collaboration is now a nationally recognized leader in coordinating and integrating efforts to ensure that all children have access to high quality early childhood services. The Collaboration’s ongoing work includes:
- A comprehensive developmental screening program that reached more than 1,800 preschoolers last year through physicians’ offices, preschools, or daycare providers and tracks follow-up via a sophisticated and innovative data system.
- Professional development opportunities for more than 140 early childhood professionals from 31 preschools and 24 childcare homes, plus an annual Symposium attended by 400 participants, 80% of whom work in Oak Park or River Forest. Under the Collaboration’s leadership, the number of preschools and daycare centers participating in the state’s quality rating system has doubled–good news for families making choices for their children.
- Programs to ensure that families have access to the range of resources and services they need to support children’s development, including innovative training for families to advocate for their needs.
- Sophisticated data collection and analysis to foster continuous improvement in services and outcomes, which supports the community’s goal of more equitable educational attainment.
We are in an excellent position to build on these achievements and leverage our momentum as we move forward!
The Collaboration Board looks forward to our search for a new Executive Director who will continue to fulfill and expand our mission and vision. We anticipate a very smooth transition and are fortunate to have ample time to find just the right person to move us forward in our next chapter. We are beginning the search process now with the help of fellow Oak Park resident Megan Lewis of Kittleman and Associates, a national executive search firm that specializes in the recruitment of chief executives for nonprofit organizations. Look for additional details to come.
We hope that you will join us in celebrating Carolyn’s leadership in the coming months, and of course, we look forward to continuing to work together with you and our next Executive Director in serving the children and families of Oak Park and River Forest.
Chair, Board of Directors