5 Tips for Centering Educator Leadership in Networks

January 5, 2024 / 5 mins read

Staffed Family Child Care Networks play a crucial role in uplifting the voices and leadership of family child care educators. As a hub for connection, resource-sharing, professional learning, and more, networks offer educators opportunities to lead and be heard.

Centering educator leadership in networks can look many different ways. All Our Kin’s technical assistance provides a window into the approaches of emerging and existing networks.

Our partners at First Up are a great example. They provide organizational development support to the Family Child Care Advisory Council, an educator-led network that was formed in 2019 through a generous grant from Vanguard’s Strong Start for Kids Program™. The Advisory Council has a large focus on building educator leaders; educators are encouraged to serve on various workgroups and are provided with stipends for their leadership.

Adrienne Briggs, owner of Lil’ Bits Family Child Care Home in Philadelphia, was among 25 educators who were invited to establish the Advisory Council. Adrienne is now its President, and also the co-chair of the Leadership, Mentoring, and Professional Development workgroup. Adrienne shared, “It’s been a tremendous experience, I’ve even seen the growth in myself and in others.”

Most recently, the Advisory Council voted to send one of their peers, Natrice Johnson, Vice President, to become certified in the Business Administration Scale (BAS), a tool frequently used in family child care settings to support improving business practices. Natrice now provides pre- and post-training BAS assessments as part of the All Our Kin Business Series.


The Village is a network that supports family child care educators in Central Ohio, staffed and operated by Action for Children. The Village is committed to developing responsive programming to meet the needs of educators. In the fall of 2022, educators who provided input on the Village’s formation were invited to become members of the Village Council.

Composed of 12 educators, the Village Council convenes monthly to inform the programming and vision of the network. Members can also volunteer to be mentors for other educators within the network and are compensated for doing so. This peer mentorship promotes participation in the Village and supports peer learning between new and experienced educators.

One Village Council member reflected,"(being a Founder) has taught me how important I am as a person, a friend, and as a TRUE professional,” and another shared, "I have gained knowledge, positive interactions (with) other providers, shared experiences, support, and friendship." As a model for uplifting educator leadership, the Village Council centers the needs and wishes of family child care educators.

All Our Kin centers educator leadership through Educator Advisory Councils (EACs), which are made up of 3-5 educators from each of All Our Kin’s network sites. The EACs meet quarterly, and involved educators are compensated for their time. The EACs strengthen All Our Kin’s work in our communities through setting priorities for professional development opportunities, reviewing site-level goals and outcomes, informing the annual budget at network sites, and identifying modifications or additions to programs to meet the needs of educators.

Evelyn Majano Montiel, an educator affiliated with All Our Kin’s network in Bridgeport, said that "sharing your concerns with different providers and putting together a plan to resolve your problems” is what she enjoyed the most about the EAC.

In addition to shaping the work of our network sites, educators shape policy by meeting with legislators, delivering oral and written testimony, and hosting program visits. In New York, Rebecca Gonzalez, a leader-educator who is part of an All Our Kin network, was named to the Governor’s Child Care Availability Task Force, and in Connecticut educators have been at the forefront of various movements such as the Day Without Child Care.


Want to center educator leadership in your own network? Here are five tips!

  1. Involve educators from the beginning. Educators should be involved in planning and implementation to ensure that the network is responsive to their needs.
  2. Respect educator knowledge and expertise. Network initiatives to engage educators should respect the expertise educators hold and find opportunities to uplift it.
  3. Create opportunities for feedback. Find opportunities for educators to regularly provide feedback, through an advisory council, exit surveys, or open feedback sessions.
  4. Provide professional development and compensation for leadership. Networks should offer professional development specifically focused on leadership, and educator leaders should be compensated for their time and contributions.
  5. Engage a diverse group of leaders. Leadership opportunities should be accessible to all educators, which includes prioritizing language access for educators who speak languages other than English.