Our why

The Delaware Institute for Excellence in Early Childhood (DIEEC) improves the lives of young children and their families by providing exemplary services for the early childhood community. We conduct research that helps to advance equity and promote high-quality education in early childhood.


“I am so grateful to have the privilege to work in the field of early care and education on behalf of young children, their families, and the educators who serve them. I do this work because I believe that all children should have access to developmentally enriching care, that families should have access to high quality child care that meets their needs, and that early childhood professionals should be paid their worth.  I am honored to be part of the DIEEC team.”

Rena Hallam, DIEEC Director

“I’ve been fortunate in my life to be afforded many opportunities that have allowed me to be where I am today. I want all children to have these same opportunities, regardless of who they are, where they live, or how much money their family makes. I work for DIEEC so I can support early childhood educators to be the best they can be for the children in their care. Quality early childhood education should not be a privilege for some, it should be a right for all children everywhere.” 

Kristy Smith, Specialty TA Program Manager

“I have always loved working with young children and have spent most of my life coaching and mentoring kids.  I am thrilled that I get work in a job that allows me to apply both my passions – communications and early childhood education.”

Lin Nordmeyer, DIEEC Communications Manager

“I choose to be part of this field because I love to connect with others.  This field gives me the ability to interact with children, families, co-teachers and the community around me.   This work makes me feel whole. This work connects me to others. Those relationships are what sustain me as a human.   I am grateful to be part of an amazing, fierce, growing family of educators!”

Melissa Irwin, New Directions Early Head Start Mentor Coach

“I am a firm believer of the life-long impact of quality early childhood experiences and education, and I love being a part of the magic that can occur in early childhood environments. I am passionate about connecting with other teachers in their career journeys and learning about their unique perspectives, supporting their important work in new ways, and thinking of creative ways to problem solve the challenges our field faces.”

– Christine, Skrobot, Assistant Director of Professional Development

“I’ve had a life-long mission to do my part in creating nurturing, healthy, and overall solid foundations for children and families. I am fortunate and blessed to work in the education field.”

Alvita Kelly, Verification & Assessment Program Manager