Paula Jorde Bloom Scholarship 2022


Application Deadline January 6, 2022


About the Scholarship

The Paula Jorde Bloom Scholarship Fund, first awarded in 2019, is intended to support emerging early childhood leaders who are dedicated to providing the highest quality care and education for children and families. The scholarship was established by Paula’s family after her passing in 2018 and highlights her legendary devotion to improving early childhood professional standards.

Paula understood the important and complex role of program leaders–the “gatekeepers to quality,” as she was known to call them. She realized that children and families depend on program leaders and passionately advocated for a spotlight on them. Paula dedicated her life to bringing national attention to the critical role program leaders play in ensuring high-quality early childhood education for children. She worked to bring credibility to their roles and to support the ongoing professional development of their core competencies.

While Paula was able to found and build the McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership (MCECL) into a thriving, nationally recognized early childhood leadership organization from an initial grant of just $600, she recognized that best-in-class professional learning requires financial support. This scholarship is one means of such support. For more information, please visit The McCormick Center’s Founding Story and History.

In 2022, two scholarships providing registration fees for the McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership’s 2022 Leadership Connections National Conference will be awarded. This is the premier national conference for decision-makers and leaders in early childhood education; it brings together key stakeholders interested in early childhood leadership. Recipients of the scholarships will receive complimentary, full-conference registration to Leadership Connections 2022, valued at $455.00.


Application Information:

To apply for the scholarship, interested individuals must submit this online scholarship application, including contact information and responses to the following open-ended application questions.

  • How would you best describe your current work as an emerging leader in Early Childhood Education?
  • How do you currently advocate for young children and their families?
  • The Leadership Connections tracks are based on the Whole Leadership Framework. Which domain (leadership essentials, administrative leadership, or pedagogical leadership) do you identify as the one where you have the most potential for growth?
  • How do you expect that attending Leadership Connections will help you grow and strengthen your leadership skills in the field of Early Childhood Education?
  • Describe a time when you learned something new and how it impacted your work with young children and their families.

Applicants are encouraged to include a letter of support from someone familiar with their work in early childhood education with their application. Letters may be submitted to Wendy Connell at or uploaded into the application by January 6. FAQs and Tips for Success

Submit your online application and written responses by 11:59 PM (CDT) Thursday, January 6, 2022. Applications that are completed and submitted before the deadline will receive a confirmation email. Incomplete or late applications will not be considered. Speakers, presenters, vendors, National Louis University employees, and McCormick Center Advisory Council members are not eligible to apply for the scholarship.

Donna Jacobson, Executive Director of the McCormick Center, will telephone the winning recipients. All applicants will be notified via email by February 4, 2022 regarding the status of their applications.

Scholarship recipients will be reimbursed if they have already registered for Leadership Connections.



Awardee Expectations:

  • While conference workshops and events are expected to be recorded, recipients of the Paula Jorde Bloom Scholarship agree to participate in the 2022 Leadership Connections National Conference as it initially occurs, including attendance at any specific events for award recipients.
  • Awardees will also be expected to complete or participate in a reflection activity about their experiences attending Leadership Connections, which may be used by the McCormick Center and the Paula Jorde Bloom Scholarship Fund in promotional, marketing, or education materials without further compensation.
  • By applying, applicants also understand and agree that their images in photos, videos, or screenshots from the conference may be used by the McCormick Center and the Paula Jorde Bloom Scholarship Fund in promotional, marketing, or educational materials without further compensation.


For More Information:

Click Here to read FAQs and Tips for Success.

Please contact Wendy Connell at or (630) 874-4011 if you have any questions or need further information.