Two of our early childhood services staff recently attended an 11-day intensive leadership and management development training course at the UCLA Anderson School of Management. More than 200 individuals from around the country applied to the prestigious program, with only 80 receiving the honor of attending. Stacy Mirro serves our agency as the Director of Child and Family Services for the Chicago Metro region and Tiffanny Powell is our Program Director of Family Support Services in central Illinois. Together, they attended the June session to explore strategies for strengthening their services and increasing their reach within the communities they serve. 

“We were encouraged to think about the bigger picture when leading our programs,” explains Tiffanny. “It helped us to plan and set goals that are achievable, measurable, and most importantly, sustainable.” 

“We looked at techniques for improving our impact—topics like effective change management, marketing, program evaluation, and creative problem-solving,” Stacy recounts. “It’s hard to describe just how valuable that time and space was in terms of figuring out the best approach for engaging and supporting families.” 

Fellows developed a Management Improvement Plan (MIP) and participated in smaller learning cohorts during their time together. Stacy and Tiffanny were selected from their cohort of six Fellows to share the MIP they created during a larger conversation with all Fellows. 

Stacy and Tiffanny are eager to put their MIP into action. As a part of the UCLA Fellowship, Stacy and Tiffanny will receive quarterly check-ins on the progress of their MIP through next spring when the data will be examined to inform future MIPs.  

“I was fortunate to share this opportunity with Tiffanny,” Stacy reflects. “Our perspectives and personalities complement each other. I’m excited to apply what we learned in California to the work we do with families here.” 

“I’m thankful for the relationships I built through this process. Everybody had something to learn from each other,” says Tiffanny. “I have a stronger network of professional support because of this experience.” 

Giving a Head Start to Education Leaders  

Our Vice President of our Early Childhood Services, Dawnielle Jeffrey, is also former Fellow of the UCLA program. This year, she was asked to serve as a mentor for the 2022 New Directors Mentor Program sponsored by the National Center on Program Management and Fiscal Operations (PMFO) and the UCLA Anderson School of Management. As a mentor, Dawnielle will coach new Head Start Directors selected from across the country and support them in expanding their knowledge and engaging deeply in understanding and applying Head Start practices. Learn more about the work Dawnielle has spearheaded in our early childhood services. 

Children’s Home & Aid provides Head Start and Early Head Start, home- and center-based programs to more than 500 children  across Illinois each year. Learn more about services we offer and how to enroll.