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About Us 

The Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development (OECD) leads the state’s initiatives to create an integrated system of quality, early learning and development programs to help give all Illinois children a strong educational foundation before they begin kindergarten.

Research shows that children with a solid educational foundation in their first five years are significantly more likely to be successful in school, college, career and life. Governor Quinn created the Office of Early Childhood Development in 2009 to focus the state’s efforts and maximize its investment in early learning programs. Quality, early childhood education is a cost-effective strategy to promote growth. Every dollar invested in early education saves $7 in special education, public assistance, corrections and lost taxes.

OECD activities:

Staff

Theresa Hawley - Executive Director
theresa.hawley@illinois.gov

Teresa Kelly - Project Director, Strong Foundations Partnership (MIECHVP)
teresa.m.kelly@illinois.gov

Kim Collins - Project Manager
kim.collins@illinois.gov

Amber Kirchhoff - Policy Analyst, Education & Early Childhood
amber.kirchhoff@illinois.gov

Audrey Moy - Manager of Compliance
audrey.moy@illinois.gov

Gail Nelson - QRIS Policy Director
gail.nelson@illinois.gov

Lesley Schwartz - Manager of Program Evaluation
lesley.schwartz@illinois.gov

Joanna Su - Community Systems and Capacity Building Manager
joanna.su@illinois.gov

Christi Chadwick - Workforce Development Policy Director
christi.chadwick@illinois.gov

Anna Colaner - Data and Outcomes Manager
anna.colaner@illinois.gov

Kate Ritter - Licensing and QRIS Integration Director
kate.ritter@illinois.gov

Cynthia Sandoval - Dunn Policy Fellow, Education & Early Childhood
cynthia.sandoval@illinois.gov

Ebony Hoskin - Office Coordinator
ebony.hoskin@illinois.gov