Dr Nkechy Ekere Ezeh
Some might say that Dr Nkechy Ekere Ezeh’s was born to become a true visionary leader. Her father, a village tribal chief, encouraged her to always “Remember who you are” and to not be afraid to challenge systems that directly or indirectly supported an inequitable distribution of available resources especially when it came to vulnerable families.
Her father’s voice and encouragement were with her when with her husband she left Nigeria for the United States. Once here, understanding that education is a key to many doors, she enrolled in Grand Rapids Community College to study child development. Dr Ezeh later completed her BA and M.Ed. at Grand Valley State University, and received a Doctorate Degree in Child and Youth Studies with specialization in Curriculum Development and Systemic Change from Nova Southeastern University.
She was also one of the US delegates to Reggio Emilia, Italy and a panellist on the Oxford University Early Literacy Round Table.
After earning her Associates Degree, Dr Ezeh gained practical experience as a teacher and director of an early childhood education program serving vulnerable children. This proved invaluable when as a tenured professor at Aquinas College, she became the Director of Early Childhood Education and was responsible for preparing new preschool teachers. She was able to draw upon perspectives gained through her direct involvement in the classroom, specifically with vulnerable children, gaining valuable insight into the practical implementation of educational theory.
Dr Ezeh has also served as an Adult and Parent Educator, not only teaching parents but listening and learning from those who can best describe what life is like for low-income families. She has assisted several schools and nonprofit agencies as Education Consultant, providing curriculum and evaluation expertise at a level that many would not normally have been able to access.
In addition, Dr Ezeh is known as an international scholar and for the past 25 years has conducted Professional Development and Parent Education workshops throughout the United States of America, Australia (Sydney, Melbourne, South Australia), China (Beijing & Hong Kong), Dubai, India, Japan, Malaysia, Nigeria, Qatar, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, and Zambia.
In 2010, commissioned by W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Dr Ezeh conducted a current reality research on children living in the core city of Grand Rapids, Michigan. She founded the Early Learning Neighborhood Collaborative (ELNC) for the purpose of planning and designing an intentional preschool service system aimed at providing, expanding and sustaining the capacity of high-quality early care and education programs in the vulnerable neighbourhoods of Grand Rapids.
Within the first 9 years of operation, as the Pedagogical Leader and Chief Executive Officer of ELNC. As of April of 2019, under her leadership, ELNC has secured over 22 Million in funding and has created over 544 quality preschool slots in the core city of Grand Rapids. All ELNC preschool sites have earned top ratings of 4 and 5 stars through the State of Michigan Quality Tiered Rating System. Dr Ezeh led the establishment of Battle Creek ELNC.
Dr Nkechy Ekere Ezeh’s life embodies Education. Her passion is using quality Education to improve the condition of vulnerable children! Ezeh is recognized around the world as an expert on early childhood education.
Her work as the founder of the landmark Early Learning Neighborhood Collaborative (ELNC) have earned her speaking engagements around the world and numerous awards – including the 2019 Recipient of the 2019 Distinguished Community Trustee Award highest from the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce, 2018 West Michigan Woman of the Year, one of the 50 Most Influential Women in West Michigan, in 2018, the 2017 Sojourner Truth Award and 2016 GVSU Alumni of the Year and Giant in Education Award.
Nkechy and her husband Pius have five children: Onyinye MK, Obinna, Akuezumkpa, Nnenna and Nkechy-Nicole.