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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:


Theresa Hawley - Executive Director

Teresa Kelly - Project Director, Strong Foundations Partnership (MIECHVP)

Bryan Stokes, Preschool Expansion Policy Director

Audrey Moy - Manager of Compliance

Gail Nelson - QRIS Policy Director

Lesley Schwartz - Manager of Program Evaluation

Joanna Su - Community Systems and Capacity Building Manager

Christi Chadwick - Workforce Development Policy Director

Anna Colaner - Data and Outcomes Manager

Kate Ritter - Licensing and QRIS Integration Director

Brett Czekaj - Policy Analyst

Molly Daily - Dunn Fellow, Education & Early Childhood Policy

Ebony Hoskin - Office Coordinator