Maria Navarro - Lopez

Early Childhood Education and Care Project Recruitment Supervisor

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My name is Maria Navarro Lopez. I currently have a bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education from CEAAMER University with a focus on Pedagogy, which refers to the method and practices of a teacher. I also have training in family social service, and experience as an independent education consultant.

I have over thirty years of experience in the field of education, design, and implementation of professional development training for childcare providers committed to providing high quality care  including providing early childhood policy consulting since 2010, when I was the Training Coordinator for Good Shepherd Center’s Community Partner program which provides training and support for childcare Providers in Cook County.

I have served on various state/national advisory groups and boards, including the National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC). I am also a member of Providers in Action, which is a group of childcare professionals that advocates for policy changes that improve the quality and access to childcare services.

I have a commitment to equality, linguistic justice, and a strong belief in the power of family childcare settings.

Jerika Wilkins

Early Childhood Education and Care Project Recruitment Coordinator

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I am Jerika Wilkins, the early childhood education and care coordinator for the ECEC Team at Good Shepherd Center. I Graduated with my Bachelor of Arts Degree from St. Xavier University and currently pursuing my master’s degree in Business. I have been working with children and families for over 10 years. I believe that every child should have the experience of having a great teacher, someone whom they admire and remember as being a great influence in their lives, that encourages them to be great and excel beyond measure.

“A favorite teacher becomes a permanent inspiration and admiration in a student’s heart for a lifetime.” -Ty Howard

Michael Gillott

Early Childhood Project Specialist

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I am a graduate of the Chicago State University (CSU) Master of Education program. I started my journey of service as a Constituent Service Coordinator for a Chicago Alderman, where I helped to keep Grant Park building free and open to the public for future generations. It was also at this time that I formed a passion to assist the public.  After attending CSU, I went to work as a Teacher in Chicago’s Woodlawn neighborhood teaching 3rd through 8th grades. Here I developed an enthusiasm to help students living in underserved areas succeed.

While teaching, I was simultaneously pursuing an entrepreneurial side venture in LED lighting. Through that endeavor my partners and I helped to usher in a lighting revolution that can be seen shining nightly in Chicago’s iconic skyline. I believe I am uniquely skilled at implementing my past experiences in government policy, education and business with the current needs of Early Childhood Education. I along with the rest of the Good Shepherd Center Early Childhood Education & Care Team are looking forward to discovering how we might best serve the families and childcare Providers our region.


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