“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, Associate Director of Early Childhood (Home-Based Child Care)

“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’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


DIEEC is committed to embedding the principles of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in our service to you as early childhood professionals and the children and families you serve. These five core Touchstones guide our work together as an organization and with our shared community of early childhood professionals. The touchstones serve as standards of mindset, content, and behavior that orient our work and keep us centered in our mission. Our touchstones are interwoven into the foundation and framework of our interactions within DIEEC and with all of our participants, in all that we produce, and in all that we do.

  • Acceptance:  We value the uniqueness and individual gifts of all.  Together, we promote an inclusive environment where all children, families, and staff have a voice and are represented in a welcoming community.  
  • Embracing:  We welcome, accept, and honor the identity of everyone in their entirety.  We acknowledge the value of various lived experiences that are shared in dialogue, combined stories and an intentionally created community in which everyone belongs.
  • Openness:   We commit to remaining receptive to new ideas, new experiences, and new viewpoints through a willingness to listen with curiosity and share with humility during honest, vulnerable, (sometimes difficult) conversations; to learn from people and experiences that are different from us, thus increasing our social awareness, acceptance, and empathy for others.
  • Modeling:   We acknowledge that cultural humility, diversity and responsiveness are intricately linked and essential in every decision, interaction and product of DIEEC. Our commitment to these values is demonstrated in our thought and design processes, and by eliciting and valuing the voices of all colleagues and stakeholders. 
  • Evolving:  We nurture a space that is reflective of the diversity represented by all individuals.  Each person’s story expands our knowing and our engagement as a dynamic community.  



501 South College Avenue Newark, DE 19716


321 South College Avenue Newark, DE 19716