Joan Almon, Co-Founder, The Alliance for Childhood

“I have known Liza Sullivan for the past 12 years, and we have worked together on several projects designed to restore play to children’s lives. I have consistently found her to be sensitive and aware of the wide range of community voices involved in this issue, and at the same time focused and strategic in the approaches she helps develop. In my experience sensitive listening and focused action do not always go together, but Liza is masterful in both areas.  I also find her to be a warm hearted, caring human being who is passionate and committed to making the lives of children and their families and teachers as fruitful and healthy as possible. She is wonderful to work with and I can recommend her highly.” 

Megan Aseltine, Assistant Superintendent of Academics, Skokie-Morton Grove School District 69

Mrs. Sullivan is meticulous in her planning and preparation, organized, and a forward thinker.  In her role she is expected to not only manage her own planning and preparation, but to support this work by seeking out and coordinating funding opportunities for Community Schools.  She is excellent at taking a broad view of what needs to be done, organizing it into categories, and preparing the necessary supports and documents to get the work completed.  Mrs. Sullivan works well within the structures and school policy given to her.  Her work is always on time, done with high quality, and exceeds the expectations asked of her.  Mrs. Sullivan has worked to build out and identify the roles and responsibilities of a new position in the past two years.  This role continues to evolve from identifying and bringing in funds to managing many funding sources and the budgets and accounts associated with them.  This part of her role has not been easy due to continuous changes in the grants and the requirements within them.  Mrs. Sullivan's role changed much faster than expected from seeking and securing grants to managing a very large budget across multiple areas.  Mrs. Sullivan is highly skilled at this.  She is organized, efficient, and has excellent verbal and written communication skills.  Her work ethic and ability to adjust her role to fit the need of the Community Schools Department is to be commended.  Often this challenging behind the scenes work is hidden, but it is essential to the success of everything we do as a District and in Community Schools.  Mrs. Sullivan consistently has a smile on her face and a positive demeanor.  She is warm and welcoming to all staff and consistently verbalizes her desire to support others.  Mrs. Sullivan is an outstanding professional.  She is reflective, has a strong work ethic, is punctual, and continues to grow in her role.  Mrs. Sullivan goes above and beyond - always.  She is independent and highly skilled.  She seeks out support when needed and asks for confirmation when needed."

Natalie Bortoli, Vice President of Programming & Experience Development, Chicago Children's Museum

“Liza’s vision, dedication, intelligence, and sensitivity are qualities that make her the sort of leader with whom anyone would want to work.  I felt personally grateful each day to collaborate with Liza as both my supervisor and colleague.   Her high standards combined with an innate ability to guide and motivate pushed all of us to think deeply and to strive further.  She was a phenomenal leader of our Education department, and I am fully confident that she would bring this same direction and strength to any position she would take on.”  Click here to read the full recommendation.

Blakely Bundy, Executive Director Emeritus and Senior Advisor, The Alliance For Early Childhood 

“Liza is a knowledgeable, dedicated, hard-working educator and administrator.  She is organized and thorough in her work and always makes the extra effort that insures that her work is the best that it can be.”  Click here to read the full recommendation.

Tina Erickson, Founder, Erickson Coaching & Consulting

"Liza has an incredible work ethic and demonstrates the highest level of professionalism.  I had the pleasure of working with Liza for two years on the District 69 Community Schools program as a development consultant and coach.  She built a development plan from the ground up and has been extremely successful.  Her initiative, commitment, and understanding of program needs makes her a wonderful colleague and leader.  Liza rises to the challenge at hand and ensures she gives a 110% effort for the greater good of the organization."

Jennifer Farrington, President and CEO, Chicago Children's Museum

 “Liza is a natural, trusting, and trusted leader with exceptional relationships with staff.  The devotion to her staff if evident…She brings an analytical, intellectual, rigorous approach to all work of Chicago Children’s Museum.  She has the ability to see learning in what we do, how it can be improved, and how the teaching can be stronger.  I greatly admire her commitment and passion…Working with Liza is a joy.  She is one of the people who make CCM a great place to work, and she truly makes a difference in the quality of experience we provide.”  

Rebecca Hoffman, Principal, Good Egg Concepts

 “Working with Liza is a complete pleasure.  I've been fortunate to work with her on collaborations at The Alliance for Early Childhood and School District 69.  Every project we have undertaken together has truly been one of complete creative collaboration.  Liza is fastidious in her approach to projects, she's open-minded to potential opportunities, builds ensemble within her team, and encourages full creative ideation which allows projects to bend and flex in the best possible ways and ultimately allows for thrilling outcomes.  Liza is a pro and she is also simply a warm, wonderful person who dives into each project with a selflessness and professionalism that inspires everyone involved.”  

Dr. Tricia Kocanda, Superintendent, The Winnetka Public Schools D36

“Liza Sullivan is an incredible leader who is truly focused on living the mission of The Alliance for Early Childhood.  I have had the pleasure of co-planning a number of events with Liza in my role as Superintendent of The Winnetka Public Schools.  Liza’s commitment to successful outcomes, coupled with her attention to detail, places her into a league of her own.  She is calm under pressure, a creative problem solver, and an inspirational partner.  She is able to balance the aspirational aspect of leadership with a business acumen that ensures the ‘job gets done’ on time and on budget.  Working with many non-profit administrators, Liza Sullivan definitely rises to the top given her leadership qualities.”   

Gillian McNamee, Professor, Erikson Institute

“Liza is experienced talented early childhood educator with professional skills that she can readily utilize in work with young children, their parents, and colleagues in school and non­school settings.  She has strong business, managerial and organizational skills, as well as a wonderful upbeat personality for working with people.  Liza is at home among people of all ages, and an effective collaborator with professionals in museum, school and community organizations.  She is also great with technology! Liza is effective in all that she undertakes, and follows through on every last detail.  Liza is someone children and adults alike can count on.”  Click here to read the full recommendation.     

Julie Nicholson, Ph.D., Director, Leadership Program in Early Childhood, School of Education, Mills College (Oakland, California)

"Liza has a wide range of strengths that I have observed first hand in our collaborative work together.  One of her most salient assets is with communication in verbal, written and digital contexts.  Liza is articulate, thoughtful, effective and gracious.  She thinks very deeply about ideas, shows tremendous commitment to working in a collegial manner, and expresses her ideas clearly while remaining continuously open to listening to others and expanding her perspectives.  Liza is very conscientious and responsible and follows up with every commitment she makes to her colleagues.  She is caring, has a wonderful sense of humor and exudes a joyful and respectful manner in all of her interactions with others.  She confidently displays leadership and initiative when appropriate yet also humbly places herself in a learner’s stance and widely acknowledges others’ strengths and abilities.  Liza has a very solid understanding of research and best practices in child development, early childhood curriculum and pedagogy, family engagement/parent education and professional development and fluidly connects academic theories to contextualized narratives of practice.  Everything that Liza works on is completed with attention to detail and high standards for quality.   Liza Sullivan is the type of colleague that we all feel thankful to work with and know. "  Click here for the full recommendation.  

Nancy Plaskett, Associate Vice President of Community, Student and Educator Programs, Chicago Children’s Museum

"Liza was an exemplary team leader who had the respect and trust of her team members.  Team functions were widely varied and included creating professional development and student programs, developing interactive family programs, and coaching guest relations staff. Liza had the knowledge and experience to successfully manage each team’s unique needs, giving each the support and the independence to thrive and grow.  I can attest to the high performance of Liza’s teams, as I have taken over Student and Educator Programs in my current role.  Because of Liza’s hard work, I have been able to transition easily to the team and continue to attain the high revenue and attendance standards that Liza initiated during her tenure. 

I had the pleasure of collaborating with Liza on many projects and committees during our time together.  On all occasions, Liza was highly professional, efficient, and contributed to the overall success of the project.  Additionally, Liza’s approach to collaboration was respectful and always included a sense of humor which was especially helpful when working together to write an in-depth proposal for the National Science Foundation within a tight time frame.

I am truly impressed with Liza’s command of knowledge about education and early learning.  When developing program content and curriculum, Liza thoroughly researched the content, the audience, and the purpose to consistently develop high-quality learning experiences that effected results.  Liza set high standards for herself and her colleagues at all times that contributed to CCM’s asset-based approach to success."  Click here for the full recommendation.

Eileen Prendergast, Director of Education, Chicago Botanic Garden

“There is no better partner or collaborator than Liza.  We have worked together over the past five years on various early childhood initiatives, events, and programs.  Her passion and dedication to the field are unmatched.  Most importantly, she is an incredible resource for the education community due to her diverse connections and expertise of best practices.  Any opportunity to work with her is an honor.”

Rachel Weaver Rivera, Imagine Art Studio, Owner (LaGrange Park, IL)

"I have come to know Liza as a person who listens carefully to others and seeks out experiences that deepened her understanding of issues at hand. She is a steady and thoughtful presence in a busy and demanding work environment.  Liza brings intentionality to all she undertakes.  Liza’s advocacy for children’s growth and development through play, her education, entrepreneurship, writing skills, management experience, personal integrity, and dedication to learning as a way of life have prepared her for a position in your organization. Without question, I believe Liza’s leadership would be an amazing asset."  

Click here for the full recommendation.  

Skokie-Morton Grove District 69 Board of Education
Staff Recognition (Marigolds in Bloom, August 20, 2022)

"There have been many people that have been involved in helping to grow the Community Schools’ team over the past 9 years. Liza Sullivan is one of those unsung heroes.  Mrs. Sullivan has worn many hats over the years and now oversees the Community Schools grants and fundraising efforts.  Mrs. Sullivan has had an amazingly successful year in funding and development for Community Schools. Between July 13, 2021-July 31, 2022, a total of 15 grants were completed by Liza Sullivan with the support of the Community Schools team (a 87.5% increase from last year) with requests totaling $1,562,245+. $4,112,436 in CS grant funds awarded between FY20-22 with $1,569,427 pending.  Mrs. Sullivan has quarterbacked and ensured submission of all 15 grants. She has worked collaboratively across the District staff to build efficient tracking systems, aligned accounts, and once secured has been in charge of managing the grant funds.  Mrs. Sullivan's role has continued to change and evolve from early childhood to Community Schools Fundraising and Development to Grant Writing and Management.  Throughout these changes Liza has remained positive and always produces high quality, thoughtful, and innovative work.  We are so grateful to have Liza on our team and for all of her tireless work to make sure the Community School’s team can grow, thrive, and sustain into the future."

Matt Zaradich, Erikson Institute

"Liza Sullivan is, in a word, a gem.  Her expertise in child development is matched only by her amazing spirit, and her drive to create wonderful experiences for professionals that work with young children. She is absolutely dedicated to enhancing the learning lives of children everywhere. I was very proud to work under Liza, and her management was encouraging and uplifting."