Staff. Gateway Early Childhood Alliance

Who We Are and What We’re Doing

Our Vision

We envision a resilient, thriving early childcare system in the St. Louis region in which kids ages 0 to 5 can learn and grow in a joyful, high-quality early care and education environment, regardless of their race, family income level, or zip code.

See Our Theory of Action

How We’re Going to Make It Happen

Our mission is to create and sustain an early childhood system that ensures Black and Brown children and families have access to high-quality early childhood care and education. We will coordinate a shared regional strategy to expand access, improve quality, support providers, and increase investment by:

Ensuring early childhood care and education providers and families lead decision-making processes.

Tracking best practices and partnering with providers to implement promising practices to enhance the overall quality of the system.

Building and expanding public awareness around the value and importance of racially equitable early childhood care and education in the St. Louis region.

Leading a strategic alliance to support ongoing initiatives, organizations, and public and private funders focused on stabilizing the ECS and improving quality.

Working with existing organizations to further amplify strategies for achieving
our mission.

Mom with children works on the computer.

What Comes Next

For the past several years, we have been doing the necessary groundwork to set up The Alliance and its partners for success. So far, we’ve been:

Gaining a full understanding of the entire early childhood system, including dependencies, connections, and complexities.

Building connections and relationships with individuals and organizations throughout the entire system.

Establishing leadership and hiring staff.

Gaining a full understanding of the entire early childhood system, including dependencies, connections, and complexities.

Building connections and relationships with individuals and organizations throughout the entire system.

Establishing leadership and hiring staff.

Now that we have a full picture of all the moving pieces and dependencies in the system, we will:

Continue to advocate for ECE as a valued regional priority.

Continue to advocate for policies and programs that provide additional public funding for ECE.

Bring ECE providers together to prioritize short, medium, and long-term goals focused on supporting and strengthening the workforce and ECE community overall.

Create processes that include and prioritize impacted families and providers in decision-making.

Explore a formalized shared services network for early childhood providers and the ECE workforce.

Create a centralized data hub for the ECE community.

Develop one set of standards for ECE quality evaluation.

Set up a 501(c)3.

Our Core Values


Every Black and Brown family deserves to have access and opportunities to affordable, high-quality early childhood care and education. No one should be able to predict the outcomes of a child’s life based on race, household income, or zip code.


Everything we do comes from a place of love. Love for our children and their families. Love for our peers and partners in the ECS. Love for our communities and our region.


We find a way. We don’t give up. We use the resources at our disposal, leave it all on the field, and come back tomorrow to keep fighting for our kids.


We acknowledge the harm that private interests and policies that support them have done in our community, and that this history teaches us not to trust. We are committed to creating and maintaining an open dialogue by ensuring community members lead our work and as an organization, we communicate directly about our actions.


We rely on the community of families and providers to hold us accountable. We take responsibility for our actions, and we learn from them so that we can do better next time.


The best-laid plans don’t mean a thing if we don’t act upon them. We need to coordinate, plan, and strategize so that we can then take action to fulfill promises and achieve our goals.

Meet Our Board of Directors

The Alliance’s Board of Directors reflects the larger ECE provider field and elevates those who have been historically left out of the decision-making process. Each member represents a different piece of the complex early childhood system and brings their unique perspectives, priorities, and ideas to the process.

Rose Anderson-Rice
Rose Anderson-Rice, MPA – Board President
Elizabeth George
Elizabeth George, MBA, MSW – Board Treasurer
Ellicia Lanier
Ellicia Lanier – Board Secretary
Albert Sanders
Albert Sanders, Ed.D
Julia R. Wilkins
Dr. Julia R. Wilkins Kohrmann Ed.D
Julie McAfee
Julie McAfee, BA
Samantha March
Samantha March, Ed.D
John Scates
John Scates
Jacquelyn Randle
Jacquelyn Randle, BA
Adesha Armstrong
Adesha Armstrong

Meet Our Staff

Executive Director

Katie Rahn
Kate Rahn, Ed. D
MacKenzie Grayson
MacKenzie Grayson, MAT, EdS
LaDonna Ellis
LaDonna Ellis

How We Came to Be


Icon puzzle big

For the Sake of All report identifies a lack of quality early childhood care and education as a leading indicator of health disparities between white and Black residents of St. Louis.







How We Came to Be

Get Involved with The Alliance

Find out how you can help us create a more accessible, more affordable early childhood system for St. Louis.

See Ongoing Activities

Work for The Alliance

Although we're not currently hiring for any open roles, we'd still love to say hello. If you’re interested in working for The Alliance, please send an email with your resume to