Equity IL Practice Place-Based
Founding Executive Director
Urban Sprouts Child Development Center
University City, Missouri

Ellicia Lanier is the founding Executive Director of Urban Sprouts, a diverse Reggio Emilia school focusing on early childhood education. With over 20 years of experience in the field. Lanier is passionate about her work and committed to realizing her vision of social justice through early childhood education.

Lanier is committed to developing and administering programs that enrich the lives of children and their families. As an Adjunct Instructor at St. Louis Community College, she has distinguished herself as a leader in social-emotional development education and early childhood management. Among her proudest achievements at St. Louis Community College is extending non-traditional early childhood Education (ECE) courses to the community, in partnership with the Boeing Company.

Lanier demonstrates radical collaboration by contributing to equitable early childhood systems building and partnerships that support child well-being. In addition, she recently hosted Chelsea Clinton’s visit to St. Louis in partnership with Child Care Aware of Eastern Missouri. She has also spearheaded innovative community programs by leading Urban Sprouts expansion of a $2.1 M NMTC investment project in 2017, including partnering with Youth in Need to serve families equitably through Head Start. In collaboration with Webster University, she co-hosted a conference attended by 20 Reggio Emilia providers based in China highlighting advanced interaction between children, teachers, and their peers.

Ellicia Lanier and Urban Sprouts are members of the First Steps to Equity collaborative and the focus of a case study for the first steps to equity report. She is a founding member of Ready by Five, an early childhood campaign that led to the win of Prop R in St. Louis City. She is currently the Vice-Chair of the Regional Early Childhood Non-Profit in St. Louis, MO.

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