Barbara Bowman Leadership Fellows graduate as ‘influencers’ in early childhood education field

In keeping with Erikson Institute’s strategic goal to influence leadership and policy, the 2017 class of Barbara Bowman Leadership Fellows graduated on April 6, equipped with a new arsenal of tools to help them positively influence policy for children, families, and communities.

The Barbara Bowman Leadership Fellows program is designed to enrich the perspective and enhance the capacity of diverse child advocates who are committed to racial equity and want to influence early childhood policy. The program equips these leaders with content knowledge, tools for assessing public policy levers, and hands-on practice to make a positive difference in early childhood policy.

The 14 graduates, including directors at early childhood education centers, school district administrators, and social services professionals, took part in a 10-month program featuring seminars, speakers, professional coaching, and applied learning. Networking with former fellows, executive staff of partner organizations, seminar presenters, Erikson faculty and staff, and program funders also is an essential part of the program.

“Aligned with Erikson’s signature approach, the Barbara Bowman Leadership Fellows program fosters learning in the context of relationships,” says Cristina Pacione-Zayas, PhD, director of policy at Erikson. “We dig deep within ourselves and each other to better understand the systems and structures that should enhance the lives of young children and families but, unfortunately, at times undermine progress. We want to aid our fellows in tapping into their inherent ability to not only inform policy from the ground up but also to be influencers.”

“I can confidently say now I have the skills necessary to pave the way for all children and families,” says Cindy La, director of education at Asian Human Services.

Meet all of the Early Childhood Leadership Academy‘s Barbara Bowman Leadership Fellows here. Nominations for the next class of fellows will be accepted beginning in May 2018.

Learn more about the Barbara Bowman Leadership Fellows program here.

The program is made possible by a gift from the Irving Harris Foundation.

Watch the Barbara Bowman Leadership Fellows graduates talk about their experience below.

‘It’s going to make me a better leader in this field’
Carisa Hurley, director of programs at One Hope United

‘It challenges you to think outside the box’
Rosalinda Espinosa-Nava, Child Development Center site director at Gads Hill Center

‘The network that’s created is probably the best part of this whole thing’
Andrew Krugly, vice president of Education and Program Operations at Chicago Commons

‘I learned so much here, it’s unbelievable’
Cindy La, director of education at Asian Human Services