By TAYLOR HARTZ
On July 1, the Early Childhood Collaborative of Southington (ECCS) welcomed its new director, Joanne Kelleher. A long time Southington resident, Kelleher takes the place of two-year director Mary Yuskis, who resigned from her position to move to Florida with her family.
The ECCS is made up of a group of parents, educators, and community members who are actively involved in promoting academic success for children in Southington. The group targets children from age three to their third grade year.
Kelleher said it is a privilege to take on the role as director of a collaborative effort that offers families an opportunity to become involved in their children’s education, as well as their community. She plans to continue the ECCS partnership with the Community Foundation of Greater Hartford, and the Commun-ity Plan for Young Children.
“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,” said Kelleher.
During her time as director, which began in July 2014, Yuskis was described by the ECCS as “the driving force” for their Community Plan for Young Children. This plan outlines the demographics of students in Southington by their age, focusing on education, health, and family life.
“We will miss her terribly and wish her nothing but the best in her new pursuits,” ECCS chair Michelle Slimak said in a press release. Slimak said the organization felt they “found the ideal successor to Mary Yuskis” when hiring Kelleher.
Kelleher graduated from Bunnell High School in Stratford, and she went on to earn her bachelor’s degree in management information systems and a master’s degree in business administration and finance from the University of Connecticut.
She has most recently worked as vice president of operations, and formerly as the director of marketing, at SecureRF Corporation. Slimak listed her background in areas of, business administration, project management, grant writing and communication as tools that will help the ECCS.
Additionally, Kelleher serves in many community organizations. She is a moderator at the First Congregational Church of Southington, and is an assistant scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop 32.
Slimak said she will be a great addition to the ECCS team due to her “knowledge of and commitment to the Southington community,” and her experience “will help ECCS position itself in the future for further growth and even greater success serving Southington’s children and families.”