History of Illinois AEYC

The Illinois Association for the Education of Young Children began in 1969 by the Chicago Association for the Education of Young Children for the purpose of increasing the impact of professionals in the field of early childhood. The organization has grown from a loose network of highly motivated individuals gathering from all over the state to discuss issues effecting children to a professional organization with bylaws, a constitution and a strategic plan. When the history of the organization is reviewed, a vision of an organization steadily pushing towards greater professionalism, increased networking and collaboration, and a strengthened voice for children in the state of Illinois is revealed.

Following 48 years of growth and development, Illinois AEYC has become a vital force uniting educators of young children and advocating for political and professional leadership. The association is committed to the improvement of education and well-being of young children along with their families and the professionals who work with them. Illinois AEYC sponsors a biennial state conference bringing together providers of service across the state as well as leaders from dozens of partner organizations.

Illinois AEYC is a nonprofit corporation under 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code governed by a statewide Board of Directors, which derives its authority from the Illinois AEYC Bylaws.

Past Presidents

Term President
1969 – 1970 Catherine McClelland, Honorary Past President
1970 – 1971 Lilian Katz
1971 – 1975 Mary Weir
1975 – 1976 Joan Braun
1976 – 1978 Jane Morpurgo
1978 – 1982 Lana Hostetler
1982-1986 Dorothy Deany
1986 – 1990 Deborah Cassidy
1990 – 1994 Jan Deissler
1994 – 1996 Chalmer Moore, Jr.
1996 – 1998 Judy Helm
1998 – 2000 Pat Steinhaus
2000 – 2002 Jan Deissler
2002– 2004 Rosalind Frye
2004 – 2008 Lori Longueville
2008 – 2010 Cindy Mahr
2010 – 2014 Laurie Rhodes
2014 – 2018 Carol Weisheit
2019 – 2023 Stephanie Herling
2023 – Present  Amber Knight