children and adults post for a photo at a family child care in Chicago

Heather, standing, third from right, at a recent visit to a garden at a family child care center.


I am writing today to share some big news from the Collaboration for Early Childhood.

At the end of July 2021, our Director of Early Learning, Heather Duncan, will be transitioning out of her role with the Collaboration. We feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with Heather. Since joining the Collaboration in 2019, Heather has been an energetic member of the team and partner to our community’s family child care providers, educators, and early childhood program directors.

As the COVID-19 pandemic shifted all of our work online, Heather pivoted the Collaboration’s professional development opportunities to virtual platforms, and she took it one step further by learning how to design and offer these workshops asynchronously. In partnership with the Professional Development committee and Collaboration staff, she launched our eighteenth annual Early Childhood Symposium completely virtually.

Heather has also been instrumental in focusing the Collaboration for Early Childhood’s equity work. Working with Lisa Peloquin at the New Teacher Center, she designed the Collaboration’s Racial Equity Framework and coordinated our first Equity Summit in an interactive virtual format which we held this May, 2021.

While we will miss Heather here at the Collaboration, we are grateful for the time that she has shared in service to our teachers, children, and families and we are excited for the next chapter that she is embarking on in her career. Heather has accepted a wonderful opportunity with the University of Chicago Lab School as their inaugural Dean of Teaching and Learning for Early Childhood. So, though we will be losing her as a member of our staff, we are gaining a friend and ally out in the community. Most importantly, she will still be doing work to improve the lives of children.

Please join me in wishing Heather every success in her new position!

John Borrero
Executive Director, Collaboration for Early Childhood

P.S. Heather is leaving big shoes to fill, but the Collaboration has officially begun its search for our new Director of Programs (yes, we changed the job title). If you, or someone you know would be a good match for the Collaboration and our work, we’d like to hear about it. You can see and share the position description here. Interested applicants are requested to include a cover letter and writing sample along with their resume to

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