May 2018 Member Spotlight


Meet Jan Deissler

Quote: A hundred years from now it won’t matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in or the kind of car I drove . . . but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.

Who are you and what do you do? Jan Deissler. Retired after more than 40 years of teaching, advocacy and managing a CCR&R. Retired I am on the Board of the League of Women Voters of Greater Peoria, distribute books to K-4 students 6 times a year at an inner city school, assist with an after school tutoring program, co-chair the local Delta Kappa Gamma chapter – an honorary for women teachers, chair the Outreach Committee for our church and whatever else needs to be done.

How long have you been in the field? Since 1970 when I went to Illinois Central College to teach in the Child Development Program and developed the college’s child development center.

Why did you join ILAEYC? A Board Member at the college was attending the Midwest AEYC (I think – don’t think it was NAEYC) Conference in St. Louis and she thought I should go. Well – the rest is history. I was a conference ‘junkie’.

How long have you been a member? 46 years

What are some professional accomplishments you are proud of?

  • Charter member/founder of Heart of IL AEYC.
  • My work with the IL AEYC – secretary, Central Region VP, President twice and affiliate (now chapter) delegate to the Board
  • Chaired 2 Illinois AEYC Conferences
  • Chaired Midwest AEYC Conference twice
  • Developing the Child Care Connection CCR&R in Peoria region.
  • Chairing the first ever Outreach Committee at our church – encouraging us to minister to the families around the church as well as reach out to potential new members from all over the area.
  • Campaigning at the NAEYC Leadership Conference for Lana Hostetler to become President of NAEYC – and again when Lori Longueville became secretary.

What is your favorite ILAEYC Memory? There are so many don’t know if I can name just one. Board Meetings when Deb Cassidy was the President, having Agnes Kovacs compliment on my sharing a children’s book to open the Board Meeting – making wonderful life-long friends. Sharing wine with my friend Shirley Dean near the end of her life – we had a wonderful evening.

What NAEYC benefit do you most value? I used to value the conferences, but once retired not feasible to take part in expensive events. Young Children – but again, meeting and working with nationally known early childhood professionals.

May 2018 Member Spotlight

Meet Leslie Layman

I love this quote by George Carlin:

"Don’t just teach your kids to read, teach them to question what they read. Teach them to question everything."

Who are you and what do you do?

I am Leslie Layman and I am the Coordinator for the Child Development Program at Harry S Truman College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago. I write and teach our INCCRRA approved ECE professional development, manage our Child Development lab spaces, support with curriculum and credentialing, and also serve as adjunct faculty for Child Development courses.

How long have you been in the field? 

I took my first job as an in-home therapist for young children with Autism Spectrum Disorders in 2005. I have worked either in service to children and families or in social work since that time. I have been in my current position since 2015.

 Why did you join ILAEYC? 

Truman College was one of the first community colleges to seek and receive NAEYC Higher Ed accreditation. I became interested in ILAEYC as I began working on our curriculum and accreditation. I appreciated the idea of there being a unified voice that spoke to best practice and supported ECE professionals. I became more involved in our local organizing and now proud to be the Secretary of the Chicago Chapter of AEYC!

How long have you been a member?

Since 2016.

What are some professional accomplishments you are proud of?

I am very proud of the accessible professional development offerings that we have built out Truman College for ECE professionals. We are currently, thanks to a grant from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, partnering with Western Illinois University to provide Math Based professional development to ECE professionals. I am also quite proud to have been involved in the create of the ECE Tinker lab at Truman College. As far as we know, it is the only one of its kind in the state!

What NAEYC benefit do you most value? 

I appreciate hearing the voices of other practitioners through the website and the periodicals.

What is your favorite Children’s book and why? 

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak (I even have it in more than one language!) I love that this book shows a child being naughty and getting into some trouble and makes it a normal part of his relationship with his mother. I also love the alliterative langue, the repetition, and the exciting illustrations.

Family, Hobbies, etc.

I love to spend time with outside with my partner and I love to exercise, especially boxing. Much of our family lives far away, so we have built a small Chicago Family and we love to spend time cooking and travelling with them.

April 2018 Member Spotlight

Meet Moushumi Kundu

“Being with children is a passion for me. When kids come running up to me to give me hugs, that makes my day.”

Moushumi Kundu joined NAEYC just 4 months ago and has become active within the state affiliate, Illinois AEYC, as the newest board member representing Region 5. Moushumi taught elementary and middle school in India prior to coming to the United States in 1997 with her husband and her older daughter. With a degree in secondary education, she has been working at the Rock Island County Regional Office of Education, as an Instructional Coach and Family Support Specialist, in the Early Childhood Department since 2015. Before then, she has worked as a supervisor of Headstart centers at Community Action of Eastern Iowa, and had also been a substitute teacher at all grade levels in the Rock Island county. Moushumi became involved with Illinois AEYC while working on the preschool expansion program and realized the two organizations work in tandem towards the same goals. We interviewed Moushumi, read more about her below!

What Accomplishments are you most proud of?

One of the recent accomplishments, that I am proud of, was when we were awarded the “Award of Excellence”at the Leadership Conference in Wheeler, and I had the opportunity to accept the award on behalf of our team. I am also proud of having received the highest level on the Quality Rating Scale for one of my Headstart classrooms at Community Action of Eastern Iowa.
I am also proud of my husband and our two daughters. Our older daughter has finished her PhD in Neuroscience from UIUC, and has accepted a post doctoral position in Portland, and our younger daughter is a freshman in college.

What is your favorite Children’s book and why?

My favorite children’s book is The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle because there is so much built into the story. It’s visually beautiful, has a sensory component, mathematical concepts, and concept building.

What are your hobbies and how do you spend your free time?

I am a voracious reader and like to read a traditional book instead of an e-reader. I also enjoy arts and craft, music and cooking, among other things. Now that our children are all grown up, I enjoy the ‘me’ time that I am able to have for myself.