2017 Cohort Selected for the Barbara Bowman Leadership Fellows Program

Erikson Institute is proud to introduce the 2017 class for the Barbara Bowman Leadership Fellows Program, now in its second year. Fifteen professionals working in the early childhood sector providing direct service, advocacy and funding support were selected for a 10-month leadership program designed to enhance their knowledge-base, provide skill application, and connect them to a larger network for influencing early childhood policy and systems change. The program begins on June 16, 2017.

The fellows program was named in honor of Barbara Taylor Bowman, who co-founded Erikson alongside Maria Piers and Lorraine Wallach. Barbara’s legacy as an education activist, policy adviser, and early childhood practitioner matches the characteristics of individuals this program aims to attract. It is one of three leadership programs offered through Erikson’s Early Childhood Leadership Academy (ECLA), a signature initiative that provides knowledgeable leaders with dynamic, cohort learning experiences to enhance their capacity to influence early childhood policy.

“Erikson’s intention is to provide professionals in the field with the knowledge and tools to extend the impact of their work by influencing policy change that can transform early childhood on a larger scale,” says Geoffrey A. Nagle, President and Chief Executive Officer of Erikson Institute.

ECLA’s three leadership programs reach a broad range of leaders within the field of early childhood as well as those working outside the field, which include elected officials, judges, heads of state agencies, law enforcement, board members, and community leaders. As Erikson enters its 51st year in 2017, 51 individuals will have successfully completed academy programs that are not only designed to provide content knowledge, but also to establish and grow a network of early childhood advocates who can identify opportunities to leverage resources, improve services and programs, and influence real change in their communities.

“Irving Harris Foundation is committed to contributing to the development and sustainability of a robust pipeline of early childhood policy leaders representing diversity in race and ethnicity. The Barbara Bowman Leadership Fellows builds on our history of cultivating leadership in the field,” says Phyllis Glink, Executive Director of Irving Harris Foundation.

The Barbara Bowman Leadership Fellows Program provides evidence-based information and the analytical framework to apply a racial equity lens to early childhood policy. Monthly seminars covering subjects such as public policy life cycle, federal and state policy, advocacy vs. lobbying and other related topics provide fellows with a solid foundation to champion important early childhood issues. Each fellow will translate learning into action by developing a policy memo based on pressing topics in the field and presenting to a group of expert stakeholders. To assist with the thought process, fellows will have access to a cadre of coaches who represent respected and experienced leaders in the field to help guide them as well as introduce them to a network of professionals who can provide additional insight.

As child advocates working within various organizations, the overarching goal is to enhance their role and expand their influence to frame policy issues and recommendations guided by their organization’s mission and the diversity of the populations they serve, which will ultimately improve services and programs, leading to positive outcomes for young children and their families.

The 2017 Barbara Bowman Leadership Fellows are:

Jennifer Alexander, Program Director of Early Learning Programs, Metropolitan Family Services

Sonja Anthony, M.A., Vice President of Performance and Quality Improvement, ChildServ

Missy Carpenter, Senior Manager, Education, United Way of Metro Chicago

Tiffany DeRocco, Executive Director, United Way of Kankakee & Iroquois Counties

Rosalinda Espinosa-Nava, Child Development Center Site Director, Gads Hill Center

Fakelia Guyton, Program Director, DuPage Federation on Human Services Reform

Carisa Hurley, Director of Programs, One Hope United

Safiyah Jackson, Education Program Officer, Robert R. McCormick Foundation

Andrew Krugly, Vice President of Education and Program Operations, Chicago Commons

Cindy La, Early Head Start Program Director, Salvation Army

Carolyn Newberry Schwartz, Executive Director, Collaboration for Early Childhood

Karen Ross-Williams, Director of Early Childhood and Youth Development, Christopher House

Felicia Starks Turner, Ed.D., Senior Director of  Administrative Services, Oak Park Elementary School District 97

Marcela G. Sweeney, School Director, Educare West DuPage

Natalie Vesga, Senior Associate Education Programs, Latino Policy Forum