ECA News

Early Childhood Alliance welcomes new staff

Jenna Rudolph has joined ECA’s Downtown Learning Center, 516 E Wayne St, as the new Learning Center Manager. The Downtown location of Early Childhood Alliance has 122 children enrolled, infants through school age, with nearly 40 staff.


The Downtown Center also recently welcomed Ashley Booker as a new teacher for the infant classroom along with substitutes Nia Hinton and Ashlyn Fadley.


New to the substitute staff at ECA’s Beacon Learning Center, 2125 Beacon St, is Marianne Cochensparger.

Nia Hinton

Substitute Teacher

Ashlyn Fadley

Substitute Teacher

Jenna Rudolph

Learning Center Manager

Ashley Booker

Infant Teacher

Early Childhood Alliance Staff in New Roles

Maricela Madden has been named Resource Manager for Early Childhood Alliance (ECA). She is responsible for ECA’s new subscription program, SparKitsTM (, which provides quality learning materials each month to spark interactive, early learning experiences and encourage family engagement. She was previously ECA’s Child Care Resource & Referral Coordinator.


Myla Rogers is now the CDA Coach for ECA. In this position she is responsible for providing alternative options for higher education in the early childhood education field for both ECA staff and across the community. She was previously a Paths to QUALITYTM Coach.

Maricela Madden
Myla Rogers

Support staff added at ECA Learning Centers

Early Childhood Alliance is providing enhanced family and teacher support at its two Learning Centers in Fort Wayne.


Recognizing a gap across the region for early childhood services for birth to three, ECA created the position of Manager of Birth to Three Services, beginning at its own Centers. In this position Jill Davidson works closely with ECA’s birth to three teachers to increase quality of care and teacher knowledge of best practices in those classrooms through onsite coaching support and professional development, with plans to offer support for similar enhancements in area early childhood programs.


Kacey Deverell, Director of Early Learning Services, is responsible for implementing on-site support for the two nationally accredited Learning Centers, creating and developing ongoing professional development plans for Center managers and educators of birth through school age groups.


Nan Malloy, Family Advocate, builds partnerships with families and staff to improve outcomes for children. She also connects families with resources within the community, based on their needs.

Jill Davidson

Kacey Deverell

Nan Malloy

ECA Development Officer, Center Administrator Named

Tricia Willard

Tricia Willard has been named Chief Development Officer for Early Childhood Alliance (ECA). She is responsible for grant writing and administration, annual fundraising events, and development of partner/sponsor relationships. Willard moves into the position with several years of experience within the organization, including Learning Center Administrator and Director of Family Engagement Services.


Shannon Gage, Chief Program Officer, has expanded responsibilities as Learning Center Administrator. She now oversees an expanded management and support team at ECA’s two nationally accredited Learning Centers in Fort Wayne in addition to oversight of ECA’s family support services and food program. Gage has served in several positions with ECA, including Child Care Resource & Referral Program Director and Center Director.


Tricia Willard
Tricia Willard
Shannon Gage

ECA Welcomes New Staff

ECA’s Downtown Learning Center, 516 E Wayne St, recently welcomed Tiffany Blevins as the new teacher for before/after school care classroom; and Tammy Spillers in the infant classrooms.

New to ECA’s Beacon Learning Center, 2125 Beacon St, are Makayla Hickle and Dionne Starks, in preschool classrooms; Shelly Meredith, Nicole Waters and Jayma Muston in toddler classrooms; and Ashley Olson in an infant classroom. Sheryl Deyer also joined Beacon as food service staff.

Tiffany Blevins
Tammy Spillers
Makayla Hickle
Dionne Starks
Shelly Meredith
Nicole Waters
Jayma Muston
Sheryl Deyer

Food Program Coordinator Recognized with State Award

Lisa Bradley, Coordinator of the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) for Early Childhood Alliance, was honored with the Farm to Early Care and Education Champion Award (Farm to ECE) during the Department of Education’s annual CACFP training in Indianapolis.

Farm to early care and education connects childcare providers to locally grown, healthy foods. The result is children having increased nutritional awareness while parents are engaged in issues related to child nutrition.

Board of Directors Welcomes Intern

Early Childhood Alliance (ECA) Board of Directors welcomes William Ennist, Canterbury School, to serve as a Board Intern from Leadership Fort Wayne.

ECA also welcomes Gwyn Eastom, BKD CPAs and Advisors, to its Development Committee.

Young Grads Celebrate

Caps, gowns, tassels…yes, it was a graduation ceremony, but the grads are only five years old. Early Childhood Alliance celebrated preschool graduation with more than 40 preschoolers on July 31 (Downtown Learning Center) and August 1 (Beacon Learning Center). Some of the grads have attended ECA Centers since they were six weeks old and are now getting ready to leave the familiar hallways of ECA to make the move to kindergarten.

Walking into the gymnasium to traditional graduation music, the little ones shared smiles and waves to the audience. Families and friends snapped pictures of their special grads during a ceremony of songs and recognition. Also recognized were the teachers and Center managers for their hard work in preparing the children for success in school.

Both ECA Centers are now enrolling. Contact Leesha Culp at, or 260-758-0080.

Children are inspiration for Spark a Future

Warm welcomes by a banker, doctor, veterinarian, chef, astronaut, and fire fighter helped raise more than $120,000 at the annual fundraiser for Early Childhood Alliance (ECA). These “professionals” were actually children in costumes, reflective of possible future careers, serving as inspiration for ECA’s event, Spark a Future: Invest in our Workforce. Among the 200 guests were many more professionals learning and having fun during an evening designed to help build better futures for young children, ECA’s mission.

Funds raised from the annual event support projects at ECA’s two Learning Centers in Fort Wayne along with a wide range of programs serving families across northern Indiana, which directly impact employers as well. ECA programs and services impact 40,000 children and their families annually.

While learning about the importance of early childhood education, guests also had some fun with a lively auction and games for vacation get-aways, jewelry and dining experiences. Top level sponsors were The James Foundation and Parkview Health.