About the Grants

In 2021, The Collaborative awarded seven grants in support of partnerships between institutions of higher education (IHEs) and states/territories/tribal nations to transform their preparation programs for early educators. The grants, totaling $11.3 million, strengthen programs that prepare early care and education (ECE) teachers through a competency-based bachelor’s degree. Learn more about the award recipients and their work.

All grantees participated in a learning community designed to create space for peer learning and collective problem-solving and coaching. Each grantee partnership formed a small, multi-sector team of 3–6 participants consisting of individuals from across the IHE(s), state/territory/Tribal Nation(s), and other partners to participate in the learning community.


Overview of the Learning Community

The learning space is designed to:

  • Create space for peer learning, relationships, and a supportive network amongst grantees
  • Identify commonalities across projects, and engage in collective problem solving and coaching
  • Increase grantee knowledge and use of Racial Equity Impact Assessment (REIA) to support grant goals and policy transformation
  • Provide access to content and experts on policies and practices that support higher education, broader policy and systems change efforts, and technical approaches to ensure success in implementation of projects, sustainability, and knowledge dissemination

Participant offerings include:

  • Virtual peer learning sessions (with pre- and post-work)
  • Asynchronous expert lectures/presentations
  • Technical assistance calls with the group facilitator team
  • Expert office hours with guest lecturers
  • Opportunities for feedback via surveys and listening sessions
  • Optional opportunities for virtual networking


Learning Community Structure

School Readiness Consulting (SRC) serves as The Collaborative’s learning community partner and group facilitator. In this role, SRC provides a grounding framework and an interconnected series of human-centered learning opportunities that serve to create community, center racial equity, advance learning and reflection, and focus on sustainability through knowledge generation and management with grantees.

SRC’s mission is to integrate strategic thinking, best practice, and evaluation to transform learning and affirm the right of all children to thrive. Learn more about SRC here.



Grantee: California State University Sacramento

    • Pia Wong, Associate Dean
    • JaNay Brown-Wood, Assistant Professor
    • Ana Garcia-Nevaraz, Professor


Grantee: University of Colorado at Denver

    • Kristie Kauerz, Associate Professor
    • Diana Schaack, Assistant Professor


    • Sondra Ranum, Director of ECE Workforce Policy, Colorado Department of Higher Education
    • Kristine Greer, Associate Provost for Academic Affairs & Professor of Teacher Education, Fort Lewis College


Grantee: Georgia State University

    • Tonia Durden, Clinical Associate Professor
    • Stacey Yvonne French-Lee, Clinical Assistant Professor, Child Development Program & Executive Director, Department of Early Childhood and Elementary Education


    • Daphne Babrow, Project Specialist/Leader, Black Child Development Institute Atlanta
    • Ellyn Cochran, Senior Director of Early Learning Development, United Way of Greater Atlanta
    • Nathalie Dames, Ph.D., Curriculum Program Specialist, Office of Technical Education, Technical College System of Georgia (State Systems Partner)
    • Sam Dennis, Instructional Support Specialist for Atlanta Public Schools
    • Tatiyana Elmore, Director of Quality & Professional Development, YMCA


Grantee: University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

    • Terry Lock, Ed.D., Director of Hawaii ECE3
    • Dr. Leah Muccio, Associate Professor/Curriculum Developer


    • Dr. Caroline Soga, Early Childhood Education Program Coordinator, Honolulu Community College
    • Coleen Momohara, Interim Director and Educational Specialist, Executive Office on Early Learning


Grantee: Salish Kootenai College

    • Amy Burland, Director, Early Childhood Partnership Projects
    • Manda Davis, Enhancing the Curriculum, Montessori Techniques, Department Chair
    • Tammy Elser, Faculty and Literacy Specialist
    • Rosie Matt, Native Language Teacher Education (NLTE) Department Chair
    • Leigh Ann Courville, Faculty/Co-Chair of Early Childhood Education


    • Carey Spotted Bear, State and Tribal Coordinator, Zero to Five


Grantee: University of Nebraska-Lincoln

    • Dr. Julia Torquati, Professor


    • Debora B. Wisneski, Ph.D., John T. Langan Community Chair of Early Childhood Education, University of Nebraska Omaha
    • Susan L. Sarver, Director of Workforce Planning and Development, Buffett Early Childhood Institute
    • Dawn Mollenkopf, Ph.D., Professor, Early Childhood Inclusive Endorsement, University of Nebraska at Kearney

New Jersey


    • Amy Ginsberg, Ph.D., Dean, College of Education, William Patterson University

New York


    • Emily Sharrock, Associate Vice President, Bank Street
    • Annie Schaeffing, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Bank Street
    • Courtney Parkerson, Consultant



    • Julie K. Kidd, Ed.D., Professor; Division Director, Division of Child, Family, & Community Engagement; and Academic Program Coordinator, Early Childhood Education, George Mason University


Grantee: North Seattle College

    • Samantha Dolan, Associate Director of ECE Initiatives
    • Cynthia Davis-Vanloo, Faculty and Research Lead


    • Angela Abrams, Professional Development Administrator, Department of Children, Youth and Families
    • William Belden, Policy Associate, Workforce Education, Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges
    • Anna Nikolaeva, Policy Associate, Workforce Education, Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges
    • Meka Riggins, Director of Scholarships, Child Care Aware of Washington
    • Katie Renschler, Educational Consultant, Bainum Family Foundation


Grantee: College of Menominee Nation

    • Kelli Chelberg, Associate Professor & Chair of the Education Department
    • Lauren Waukau Villagomez (Dr. Candy), Faculty/Elder


    • Shannon Chapman, Menominee Indian Tribe of WI Education Director
    • Nar Doumbya, TEACH Co-Director, Wisconsin Early Childhood Association
    • Susy Willard Cury, TEACH Co-Director, Wisconsin Early Childhood Association
    • Carmen Rivers M. ED., Senior Lecturer, ECCE Program Coordinator and ECE Program Coordinator, University of Wisconsin Whitewater
    • Lucinda Heimer, Professor, Early Childhood Education, & Department Chair, Curriculum and Instruction School of Education and Professional Studies, University of Wisconsin Whitewater

Session Details

Session 1: Grounding

November 12, 2021


    • Continue to build relationships across teams and introduce the racial equity impact analysis framework.

Grantee Spotlight Discussions:

    • North Seattle College
    • Georgia State University
    • College of Menominee Nation

Guest Lecturer:

    • Iheoma U. Iruka, Research Professor in the Department of Public Policy, a Fellow at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute (FPG), and the Founding Director of the Equity Research Action Coalition at FPG (the Coalition) at UNC Chapel Hill





Session 2: Supporting Higher Education

January 14, 2022


    • Peer learning focused on supporting students, degree and career pathways, and curriculum and field practice.

Grantee Spotlight Discussions:

    • University of California at Sacramento
    • University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

Guest Lecturers:

    • Stephanie Bernoteit, Executive Deputy Director, Illinois Board of Higher Education
    • Christi Chadwick, Project Director, Early Childhood Consortium, Illinois Board of Higher Education






Session 3: Policy & Systems Change

March 11, 2022


    • Peer learning focused on statewide strategies and state administration.

Grantee Spotlight Discussions:

    • University of Colorado at Denver
    • Salish Kootenai College

Guest Lecturer:

    • Miriam Calderón, Chief Policy Officer at Zero to Three





Session 4: Collective Impact & Sustainability

May 13, 2022


    • Peer learning focused on project implementation and viability

Guest Lecturer:

    • Paul Schmitz, Senior Advisor at the Collective Impact Forum and CEO of Leading Inside Out