Children’s Home + Aid Director of Programs Dawnielle Jeffrey was recently chosen as one of 40 early childhood education professionals in the country as a UCLA Head Start Management Fellow. As part of the fellowship, she attended a 12-day intensive leadership and management seminar at the University of California, Los Angeles.

The prestigious UCLA Head Start Management Fellows Program is designed from a strategic planning perspective. The program provides a unique opportunity for Head Start executives to participate in a 12-day, intensive leadership and management development training session at UCLA Anderson School of Management. Furthermore, the fellowship has a competency-based curriculum, which focuses on the leadership and management skills, knowledge and abilities most relevant to Head Start/Early Head Start programs.

One project component of the fellowship called “The Management Improvement Project (MIP)” is the practical application or experiential component of the program, allowing participants to immediately translate the UCLA program curriculum to improve performance at their own organizations. It provides an opportunity to identify and address organizational weaknesses or external opportunities through the development of a strategic plan for tackling internal or external issues. Jan Stepto-Millett, Children’s Home + Aid Vice President of Early Childhood Services, joined Dawnielle during the last 2 ½ days of the fellowship to collaborate with Dawnielle in the participation and formulation of the MIP.

The fellowship not only helped Dawnielle to develop an entrepreneurial mindset and competencies to strengthen management and leadership skills, but also provided valuable networking opportunities to learn from other professionals.The fellowship has increased Dawnielle’s ability to plan, lead and control the effective delivery of Head Start and early childhood services. In her work at Children’s Home + Aid, Dawnielle will implement the MIP practice to improve program performance by identifying critical issues and/or key problems, and formulate future goals, objectives and strategic options. Dawnielle is now also looking at opportunities to strengthen father engagement awareness and the impact of father engagement in early childhood programs.

As Director of Programs, Dawnielle supports oversight of the day-to-day operations of early childhood programs in Children’s Home + Aid’s Metro region. Dawnielle ensures programs are in compliance with the national Head Start Program Performance Standards, State Child Care Licensing, program policies and procedures, and other state and local regulations. Furthermore, she is responsible for the development and maintenance of a comprehensive management system that assures quality programming through the development, implementation and assessment of required program services.

Dawnielle holds a B.S. in Special Education and M.S. in Teaching, Learning and Leadership. Dawnielle, a native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, has lived in Chicago since 2012 and has worked in the field of early childhood since 2002. For the past 10 years, Dawnielle has worked in program administration in the head start/early childhood community.