Every Child Ready Chicago


Ensuring Our Youngest Learners, From Before Birth to Age 5, Can Thrive

Every Child Ready Chicago (ECRC) is a public-private partnership led by the Mayor’s Office in partnership with Start Early (formerly known as the Ounce of Prevention Fund) working to ensure all children in Chicago enter kindergarten ready to succeed in school and life. The multi-year, collective effort will work to align the prenatal-to-five systems and supports serving Chicago children and families under a unified vision and build the early childhood systems infrastructure needed for thousands more children to enter kindergarten ready to learn.

Chicago has a strong history of investing in early learning opportunities that begin at birth and are delivered in both school and community-based settings. The initiative will build on this strong foundation to set forth — and achieve — a vision of a coherent prenatal-to-five system that provides equitable access to supports and services that ensure the highest outcomes for our city’s youngest learners.




Chicago Early Learning Children Nia

ECRC launched in fall of 2020 by bringing together leaders from early childhood programs and services, the research and advocacy communities, parents and families of young children, and city agencies to create a shared vision of success for the city’s system for its young children and their families. This Early Childhood Working Group will guide the City and inform the development and implementation of a plan to create a strong, equitable early childhood system with positive outcomes for all children



List of Working Group Members

  • Sybil Madison (Deputy Mayor for Education & Human Services, City of Chicago, Office of the Mayor)
  • Jennifer Alexander (Director of Early Learning, City of Chicago, Office of the Mayor)
  • LaTanya McDade (Chief Education Officer, Chicago Public Schools)
  • Bryan Stokes (Chief of Early Childhood Education, Chicago Public Schools)
  • Brandie Knazze (Interim Commissioner, Department of Family & Support Services)
  • Cerathel Burgess-Burnett (Deputy Commissioner, Department of Family & Support Services)
  • Diana Rauner (President, Start Early)
  • Kristin Bernhard (Senior Vice President, Advocacy & Policy, Start Early)
  • Bela Mote, Executive Director, Carole Robinson Center for Learning
  • Anne Farrell, Director of Research, Chapin Hall
  • Dara Munson, Executive Director, Chicago Childcare Society
  • Edgar Ramirez, Executive Director, Chicago Commons
  • Jennifer Seo, Medical Director, Chicago Department of Public Health
  • Mary Ellen Messner, Acting Commissioner, Chicago Public Library
  • Shontae Higginbothan, Network 5 Chief, Chicago Public Schools
  • Kalid Oluewu, Principal-Webster, Chicago Public Schools
  • Oriana Wilson, UPK Teacher, Chicago Public Schools
  • Luisiana Melendez, BOE ECE Chairperson, Chicago Public Schools
  • Anita Andrews-Hutchinson, Member, Child Care Advocates United
  • Kate Connor, Truman Vice President of Academic Affairs, City Colleges
  • Alderman Michael Scott, City Council Education Committee Chair
  • Christina Herzog, Education, Program Director, Crown Family Philanthropies
  • Tiffany Junkins, Manager of Family Support Programs, Department of Family Support Services
  • Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas
  • Maricela Garcia, Executive Director, Gads Hill
  • Jamilah Jordan, Interim Executive Director, Governor's Office of ECE
  • Mary Ottinot, Citywide Representative, Head Start Parent Policy Council
  • Dana Garner, Program Manager, Early Childhood Education, IFF
  • April Janney, Executive Director, Illinois Action for Children
  • Denise Dell Isola, Program Director, Early Childhood, Irving Harris Foundation
  • Sylvia Puente, Executive Director, Latino Policy Forum
  • Cornelia Grumman, Education Director, McCormick Foundation
  • Ricardo Estrada, President, Metropolitan Family Services
  • Diane Schanzenbach, Director of the Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University
  • Daphne Williams, Owner, Smarty Pants Daycare
  • Sara Slaughter, Executive Director, Stone Foundation
  • Kristin Bernhard, Senior Vice President, Policy and Advocacy, Start Early
  • Nikki Garrett, Citywide Parent Policy Chair, DFSS Citywide Parent Group
  • Aaron Williams, Parent Representative, Woodson Elementary School
ECRC Working Group Meeting Schedule
ECRC is made possible by founding gifts from: