The Early Childhood Collaborative of Southington (ECCS) has named long-time Southington resident Joanne Kelleher as its new director. The opening followed the recent resignation of former director Dr. Mary Yuskis, who is moving with her family to Florida.
Kelleher, who started on July 1 and comes to ECCS with an extensive background in business operations and administration, project management, marketing, grant writing and community engagement. She and her family, including two sons who are products of the Southington school system, have resided in Southington since 1992.
“In hiring Joanne, the Collaborative believes that we have found the ideal successor to Mary Yuskis,” ECCS Chair Michelle Slimak said in the organization’s press release. “Joanne’s knowledge of and commitment to the Southington community, and her outstanding experience in administration, management, marketing and grant writing will help ECCS position itself in the future for further growth and even greater success serving Southington’s children and families.”
ECCS is a group of committed educators, community leaders, parents, healthcare providers, childcare providers and members of the community who are deeply invested in the growth, development and academic success of young children in Southington. Their mission is that “all Southington children will enter school ready to learn.”
“As a long-time Southington resident and someone who has raised her children in this community, I’m excited about this opportunity and looking forward to continuing on with the foundation that Dr. Yuskis has established,” Kelleher said in the release. “The Early Childhood Collaborative represents an opportunity for Southington families to become involved in this wonderful community through their children’s education, and it is a privilege for me to be part of it.”
“Mary has played an instrumental role in raising the profile of ECCS here in Southington, working with stakeholders and seeing through to completion our exhaustive Community Plan for Southington’s Young Children,” Slimak said in the release. “We will miss her terribly and wish her nothing but the best in her new pursuits.”
Kelleher most recently served as Vice President of Operations at SecureRF Corporation, focusing on operations and administration including recruiting, grant writing/administration and logistics. She was formally the company’s Director of Marketing. She previously served as Director of Marketing at Imaging Solutions, Inc. and as Director of Marketing and Human Resources at Pinnacle Decision Systems, Inc. She also has experience as a project manager, systems trainer and user systems analyst at a Travelers Insurance Company.
Kelleher has been active in the Southington community and is currently the Moderator of the First Congregational Church of Southington. She is an Assistant Scoutmaster at Boy Scout Troop 32 and was formerly Cubmaster of Pack 8 at Derynoski Elementary School and Communications Chair for the Sleeping Giant District of Boy Scouts of America. She recently completed two three-year terms on the Executive Board of the Southington Band Backers as Publicity Chair and then Vice President of Student Administration; she now serves as a team captain. Through her work with Literacy Volunteers of America, New Britain/Bristol (now Literacy Volunteers of Central Connecticut) as a tutor and Board member, she has experience working with adult students who did not learn to read, write or speak English in their youth.
Kelleher earned her Master’s in Business Administration in Finance, and her Bachelor of Science in Management Information Systems from The University of Connecticut.