Leadership Connections™

Focusing Our Vision
April 29 – May 1, 2020

Westin Chicago North Shore
(45 minutes Northwest of Downtown Chicago)
601 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Wheeling, Illinois 60090  USA

Register now to lock in the early-bird rate and join us in Focusing Our Vision with leaders from across the country.

The vision of the McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership to empower leaders and advance the field to promote excellence in early childhood education is embedded in Leadership Connections. We strive to be an important catalyst for change as we implement initiatives that strengthen the leadership capacity of early childhood educators. The conference will provide you with opportunities to attend workshop sessions relevant to your complex role, network with professionals who relate to your trials and triumphs, and be inspired by powerful specialists in our field.


Alex Kotlowitz

A national bestseller, There Are No Children Here was selected by the New York Public Library as one of the 150 most important books of the 20th century. It has received many awards, including the Helen B. Bernstein Award for Excellence in Journalism, the Carl Sandburg Award, and a Christopher Award. In 1993, it was made into a television movie starring Oprah Winfrey. It continues to be taught at high schools, colleges, and universities across the nation.

In his latest, An American Summer: Love and Death in Chicago, which Wes Moore calls “revelatory and brilliant,” Kotlowitz returns a generation later to some of Chicago’s most turbulent neighborhoods to offer a spellbinding collection of intimate profiles of people and communities touched by gun violence. Kotlowitz previously examined the stubborn persistence of urban violence in his Emmy Award-winning documentary The Interrupters—a collaboration with Hoop Dreams director Steve James. It was praised by The New York Times’ A.O. Scott for its ability to “open up” the topic of urban violence and not limit the story to “the comforting clarity of easy conclusions.”

Kotlowitz’s work has regularly appeared in The New Yorker and The New York Times Magazine and on This American Life

(notably, the Peabody Award-winning “Harper High School” double episode). His articles have appeared in The New Yorker, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, Rolling Stone, The Atlantic, and Granta.

For more information on Alex Kotlowitz, please visit alexkotlowitz.com.

Sponsor Leadership Connections 2020

Many wonderful conferences exist, but Leadership Connections is the only national conference with a singular focus on the needs of early childhood administrators. If your target audience is decision-makers and leaders in early childhood education, this is the conference they attend. Contact Marleen Barrett to see how we can partner in 2020.

Exhibit or advertise in 2020

Showcase your product or service at Leadership Connections, the national conference for leaders in early childhood education. Booths, tables, and digital ads are all available for the 2020 conference. Connect one-on-one with decision-makers in the Marketplace (exhibit hall). Or, reach attendees digitally through ads in the conference app or digital program book. Contact Marleen Barrett to get started.

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Visionary Leadership Awardees

Learn from visionaries in our field. Each year, an exceptional pioneer in the early childhood education field receives the Visionary Leadership Award at Leadership Connections National Conference. Past awardees include:

  • Wanda Newell
  • Roger and Bonnie Neugebauer
  • Anne Mitchell
  • Gwen Morgan
  • Ed Greene
  • Sharon Lynn Kagan
  • Lilian Katz
  • Louis Derman-Sparks
  • Ronald Lally
  • Sue Bredekamp
  • Joan Lombardi
  • Marcy Whitebook
  • Linda Smith
  • Barbara Bowman
  • Libby Doggett

College Credit Available

College credit through National Louis University (NLU) is available for Leadership Connections National Conference at an additional cost. Scholarships and financial aid may be available to help you cover the cost.

Contact Us to Learn More