D200 Board members chosen for fellowship on early childhood development

The Erikson Institute has selected Oak Park and River Forest High School District 200 Board members Gina Harris and Sara Dixon Spivy as members of the 2019 McCormick Foundation Executive Fellow (MFEF) program. The pair will become the second and third D200 Board members to participate in the program over the course of its three-year history; newly-elected Ralph Martire was a member of the inaugural MFEF cohort in 2017.

“Having three Board members who have participated in the fellowship for early childhood development underscores our District’s commitment to closing the opportunity gap,” Sara Dixon Spivy said. “The gap is largest in high school but it originates in early childhood. I am looking forward to learning what more we can do to support our community’s youngest learners.”

Funded entirely by the Erikson Institute and the McCormick Foundation, the MFEF program will bring together Illinois leaders spanning the fields of education, law enforcement, government, and more, for six intensive days of learning on Aug. 7-9 and Sept. 25-27. Participants will gain hands-on experience working as early childhood professionals at home- and center-based early care and educational programs in Chicago, and attend expert-led seminars on topics such as the science of brain development, the connection between adverse childhood experiences and toxic stress, and the implications of recruiting and retaining a qualified and diverse early childhood workforce.

The ultimate goal of the MFEF program is to provide a greater understanding of the long-term benefits of investing in early child development, specifically by influencing policy, advocating for public resources, and shaping the educational experience of children.

To learn more about the Erikson Institute, the McCormick Foundation, and to view the complete list of participants in the 2019 cohort, click here.