The WE in WECA: 2017 Annual Report

2017 Annual Report

Letter from Ruth Schmidt, Executive Director

2017 Annual ReportIn the coming pages you will meet Jessica, Stella, Betty Anne, Andrea & Gerineldo, and Rachel… the WE in WECA. Through them you will learn much about who WE are and what WE do. What is pressing and compelling in the world of early childhood care and education is also what WE know.

WE know that in the first three years of life, a child’s brain is forming 1 million new neural connections every second. WOW! That is a lot of connections. Nurturing adult relationships are critical during this time of rapid brain development. Early childhood educators are brain architects!

WE know that by age 5, children essentially master the sound system and grammar of their language and acquire a vocabulary of thousands of words. Talking, singing, and reading to babies and toddlers and preschoolers is invaluable to their language development. Early childhood educators are linguists!

WE know that the emotional and physical health, social skills, and cognitive-linguistic capacities that emerge in the early years are all important prerequisites for success in school and later in the workplace and community. Early childhood educators build successful communities!

WE know Nobel Prize winning economist James Heckman has found a 13% Return on Investment for comprehensive, high-quality, birth-to-five early education. Early childhood educators strengthen our economy! 


WE also know that in Wisconsin the median wage for an early childhood educator with an associate degree is $10 per hour. Almost 4 out of 10 in this workforce leave their classroom every year and over 35% rely one or more public assistance programs.

This knowledge is demanding of public policy and public investments that address the needs of our young children, their families, and the early education workforce. It is with urgency that we invite you to become part of who WE are, stay current with what WE know, advocate for what WE need!

DONATE – and help WECA provide services outlined in this report to the over 22,000 early childhood educators, like Betty Anne and Stella, in our state. 

ADVOCATE – raise your voice with ours, with Andrea’s and Gerineldo’s, to call for sound policies and investments that support a strong system of early care and education for all Wisconsin’s young children. Join our Forward for Kids advocacy list at

CONNECT – keep in touch with us throughout the year and learn more about what early educators like Rachel and Jessica are up to. Like us on Facebook  and follow us on twitter.

WE ARE a workforce growing our skills...+

We are a workforce growing our skills and improving our education.

TEACH LogoT.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® WISCONSIN is a comprehensive scholarship program providing financial and counseling support to advance education among those currently working with young children in regulated  early childhood education programs.


 IN 2017: TEACH stats

Jessica Endsley“Two years of reading, studying, learning, researching and writing papers, because of the full support of the T.E.A.C.H. Program, I graduated this past December 2017, with an Associates Degree in Early Childhood. Without the T.E.A.C.H. Scholarship program, I would not have my degree right now.

I am so grateful to have been able to be a part of the T.E.A.C.H. Scholarship program. I would encourage anyone who is in the ECE field to connect with a T.E.A.C.H. Counselor and to talk about a plan towards continuing their education.”

-Jessica Endsley, Teacher at Little Red Preschool, Middleton, WI

WE ARE worthy of better compensation.+

We are worthy of better compensation.


REWARD is a stipend program that provides salary supplements to eligible child care professionals to encourage them to stay in the field. Eligibility is determined by level of education and years of work in the field.

IN 2017:  REWARD stats

Stella Bernal Fernandez“Yo trato de ser agradecida. por todo lo que sucede alrededor mio, en especial cuando REWARD y WECA apoyan y motivan a los profesores y profesoras de Wisconsin, que continuen capacitandose y haciendo un impacto positivo en la vida de cada nino que tenemos en el salón.”

-Stella Bernal Fernandez, Teacher at Little Explorers, Madison, WI

English Translation: “I try to be grateful for everything around me, especially for REWARD and WECA for supporting Wisconsin’s teachers and motivating them to further their training and to keep making a positive impact on every child in the classroom.”

WE ARE family child care providers nourishing...+

We are family child care providers nourishing our children with love & good food

Food Program Logo

 The Child Care Food Program helps family child care providers pay for nutritious food and provides fresh ideas to help Wisconsin’s children establish healthy eating habits that can last a lifetime.

IN 2017:   Food Program Info  

Betty-Anne White“I appreciate all the work WECA does to support and supplement my business. As self-employed business owners, we know the trust parents put in us. Like a skilled contractor building a house that is to stand 70, 80, even 90 years, we know that the foundation and structure of the home is NOT the place to go cheap and easy. Our children are creating their own foundations and structures and we owe it to them to give them good ‘supplies’ so they can have a solid start in life. WECA secures funding to supplement our food program as well as advocating for healthy changes that can help us all live stronger and more vibrant lives.”

-Betty-Anne White, Owner of Agape Family Services, Sheboygan, WI

WE ARE a diverse group of people dedicated to...+

We are a diverse group of people dedicated to professionalism.


WECA serves as the Wisconsin state affiliate of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). NAEYC is the largest professional membership association of early childhood educators in the United States.

IN 2017:  WECA Stats

Andrea and Gerineldo“WECA membership has allowed us to make visible our commitment to the people who work in child care, and it has opened the doors to us to represent our culture and diversity. Membership is our voice when our workforce needs to be heard to take favorable actions for the children and families we serve. Membership has allowed us to access services and resources in Spanish to be updated in new practices, research and policies that concern us.”

-Andrea & Gerineldo Acevedo, Providers/owners of Peladitos Family Day Care, LLC, Milwaukee, WI


Rachel Noble“This was the first time I brought my staff to the WECA Conference. I feel it is imperative that center owners bring their staff as well so they can earn their continuing education hours, but also funnel more valuable ideas into their business and into their classrooms. We look forward to seeing everyone in 2018!”

-Rachel Noble, MSM, Owner/ Administrative Director of A Joyful Noise Childcare Center, LLC, Milwaukee, WI

WE ARE leaders creating a brighter future...+

We are leaders creating a brighter future for our children and our profession.

Moving the Needle group
In 2017, WECA engaged the early childhood workforce and other allies in the following initiatives:


  • Power to the Profession – a national collaboration, led by NAEYC, to define the early childhood profession by establishing a shared framework for career pathways, knowledge and competencies, qualifications, standards and compensation that unifies the entire profession.
  • Moving the Needle on Compensation –an eight-state initiative supported by the national T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Center to raise the awareness of early childhood workforce compensation issues.
  • Early Childhood Coaching and Mentoring Project – funded through Milwaukee Succeeds, a project that supports implementation of best practices in Milwaukee.
  • Active Early – Training to improve childhood physical activity.
  • Healthy Bites – Training to improve childhood nutrition.


WE ARE board members, chapter leaders....+

We are board members, chapter leaders, staff and donors-change makers!
2017 Board of Directors:

Sue Schimke, President
Little Turles' Playhouse Cooperative
Beloit, WI

Robin Fox, Ph.D., Vice President
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
Whitewater, WI

Luke Chirhart, Secretary
Amazon Web Services
Libertyville, IL

Abby Abrisham
Careplus Child Care, Inc. & Fitchburg Careplus Preschool
Fitchburg, WI

Rafat Arain
Crescent Learning Center
Milwaukee, WI

Corrine Hendrickson

Corrin'e Little Explorers
New Glarus, WI

Dipesh Navsaria, MPH, MSLIS, MD

University of Wisconsin
School of Medicine and Public Health
Madison, WI

Henry Wilde

Acelero Learning
Cudahy, WI


Chapter Leaders:

The Chapter Leaders serve as support for WECA’s local chapters across the state, planning events and providing resources to WECA members.

Beyond Dane:
Heidi Heller, President
Jenee Jerome, Vice-President
Amanda Ehlert, Treasurer
M.C. Green, Secretary

Fox Valley Chapter:
Amy Nogar, President and Vice President
Deanna Pupp, Secretary
Sally Beining, Treasurer 

Greater Milwaukee Chapter:
Michelle Sorce, President
Catherine Roach, Treasurer
Jennifer Fremgen, Secretary 

Great Rivers Chapter:
Kim Gorka, Vice President
Jenny Ahlert, Secretary
Kim Amundson, Treasurer 

Kenosha and Racine Early Educators (KARE) Chapter:
April Orth, Treasurer

Rock County Chapter:
Michelle Weirich, Treasurer
Sue Schimke, Board Member

2017 Donors+

Individual Gifts
Chelsea Aeschbach
Sam Breidenbach
Mary Beth Boettcher
Heather Butler
Wade Carlson
Luke Chirhart
Brent Davies
Nar Doumbya
Sheryl Dwinell
David Edie
Robin Fox
Abby Funseth
Jolene Giese
Laura Graves
Melissa Grazioso
Peggy Haack
Mike Hablewitz
David Hauptman
Corrine Hendrickson
Jennifer Hilgendorf
Chris Holmes
Alain Hung
Nancy J. Jones
Margi Jones
David Johnsen
Connie Johnson
Brandy Lea
Pat LeMire
Joey Luckow
Susan Madian
Matthew Margolis
Jeneen Marshall
Mary Mastaglio
Kelly Matthews
Valerie McClain
Jane McCrea
Linda McCutchin 
Oma Vic McMurray 
Dipesh Navsaria
Dorothea Neitert 
Caroline Oldershaw 
Dominic Oldershaw
Mary Oldershaw
Robert Oldershaw

Lisa Olson
Jeanette Paulson
Wayne and Nancy Paulson
David Pellas
Riley Pink
Andrew Powers
Sandra Quam
John and Librada Quinn
Alyssa Ravenelle
Ingrid Rothe
Bonita Schey
Hildegarde Schmidt
Ruth Schmidt and Kevin Zamzow
Amy Schuster
Roy and Iris Schuster
Jason Stephens
Brad Stieber
Kenneth Taylor
Ann Terrell
Scott Theado
Marly Thao
Linda Tuchman-Ginsberg
Andrew Wallman
Nancy Webb
Kelly Woger
Daithi Wolfe
Erika Young
Casey Zwettler

Other Donations
Collaborating Partners: Northeast, Milwaukee, Southern and Southeast Regions
First Business Bank®
Integral Building Systems
Kaplan Early Learning Company
M3 Insurance
Organic Valley
Tim Rikkers and CRESA
SMS Foundation
Turke & Strauss LLP
UW Hospitals and Clinics
Wisconsin Dells Visitor & Convention Bureau, Inc.
Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction-Office of Early Learning
Viroqua Area Foundation
WE ARE seeking allies!+





1. Donate: give a gift in honor of a special early childhood teacher or program.

2. Advocate: Join WECA’s Forward For Kids list to receive updates and action alerts on key early childhood education issues. To join, visit

3. Connect: Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter. Share your thoughts and join the conversation.

WECA Financials+


  2017 2016
Food Program $4,173,961 $4,730,381
YoungStar $42,051 $3,216,135
T.E.A.C.H. & REWARD $3,794,382 $5,992,969
Race to the Top $1,554,116 $2,346,857
Other Contracts $549,696 $204,602
Contributions $21,078 $26,044
Membership $33,348 $37,272
Annual Conference $96,676 $68,863
Training Events $10,197 $18,098
Interest $4,210 $10,861
Miscellaneous $18,836 $22,855
TOTAL REVENUE: $10,295,551 $16,674,937
Operations $7,663,267 $12,697,901
Personnel $2,422,242 $3,629,195
Indirect Administration $253,423 $291,766
TOTAL EXPENSES: $10,338,932 $16,618,862
Increase (Decrease) in
Net Assets
($43,381) $56,075