AUGUST 17, 2023

Contact: Sophie Grimes, Communications Coordinator
Organization: Collaboration for Early Childhood
Phone: 708-613-6122


Shannon Ellison has been selected for Erikson Institute’s 2023-2024 Barbara Bowman Leadership Fellows Program. The fellowship is designed for leaders in the field of early childhood to hone their skills, and elevate advocacy on early childhood issues. 

Oak Park, Illinois, August 17, 2023 The Collaboration for Early Childhood is thrilled to announce that Shannon Ellison, Director of Programs and Contracts, will spend 10 months as a Barbara Bowman Leadership Fellow in the 2023-24 cohort

The Barbara Bowman Leadership Fellows Program is designed to enrich the perspective and enhance the capacity of diverse child advocates who are committed to advancing racial equity through early childhood policy. The intensive and prestigious program will bring together early childhood leaders to hear from experts in the field, receive coaching from policy experts, connect and network with the Barbara Bowman cohort-members, and gain tools and perspectives to create and strengthen systems and policies using a racial equity lens. The program will culminate with fellows examining current issues and developing solutions-based policy recommendations. These “policy pitches” will be presented to a broad network of policy-makers, and leaders in the field of early childhood.

“Shannon’s deep knowledge, and fierce advocacy for parents, health professionals, and early learning programs has built a strong network of trust here in the community which will translate well into broader thinking about how to make early childhood systems and policy that works for everyone, not just some. Shannon is a fantastic human being and a talented professional, and I’m delighted about the rich professional connections she’ll build and nurture, as well as the impact I know she’ll continue to have, as a Barbara Bowman Fellow” says Mary Reynolds, Executive Director of the Collaboration for Early Childhood. 

As Director of Programs and Contracts, Shannon currently oversees the Family Engagement, Health and Development, and Early Learning content areas of the Collaboration’s program work. She also serves as a centralized point-person for the agency’s contracts, managing the agency’s many RFPs, LOAs and contracts as well as monitoring compliance on grants that support the Collaboration’s work. Shannon has a wealth of institutional knowledge about the Collaboration for Early Childhood and the complex relationships and systems of this local collective impact organization. 

“I’m very excited that Shannon has been selected to be a part of this elite group of early childhood leaders. Regardless of whether she ends up focusing on encompassing social determinants of health as part of early childhood screenings, strengthening maternal/child health, or reducing barriers to access that she has already worked on with the Collaboration or discovers a new topic through her work as a Barbara Bowman Fellow, I can’t wait to read the policy memo she develops,” says Bob Spatz, Erikson Executive Fellow Alumnus (‘17) and Early Childhood Care & Education Advocate.  

Shannon joined the Collaboration for Early Childhood in 2014 as the Developmental Screening Coordinator, where she grew the Collaboration’s Developmental Screening Project in partnership with the Health and Development Committee. Thanks to this program, between 1,600 and 1,700 kids receive developmental screening each year, and with the help of a CATCH grant from the American Academy of Pediatrics this model is being used to roll out a social determinants of health screening for children and families in participating early learning programs. 

Most recently, Shannon applied for, and received, an Early Childhood Education and Care grant from Illinois Action for Children which allowed the Collaboration for Early Childhood to conduct outreach in eleven West Cook County communities that focused on connecting families to early childhood care and education programs, as well as resources and supports offered by the State of Illinois.

About the Collaboration for Early Childhood 

The Collaboration for Early Childhood is a community-driven organization that cultivates the development of the whole child, birth to age five, by engaging families, local organizations, early childhood educators, caregivers, and health providers to create equitable, nurturing, and interconnected systems of support. We envision communities where every young child has the care, relationships, and resources needed to thrive and to begin school safe, healthy, and empowered to succeed.

Share This