September 16, 2019

The Early Childhood Center of Wilmette is open for the 2019-2020 school year with a new leadership team at the helm. This dynamic group consists of Julie Mantice, Interim Early Childhood Supervisor; Ann Toma, School Age Coordinator; and Gail Chepulis, Kindergarten Enrichment Coordinator. Each of these ladies bring their own unique experience, perspective and enthusiasm for the Early Childhood Center.

As Interim Early Childhood Supervisor, Mantice heads the department, specifically managing the Preschool and Full-Day Preschool programs. Her 10 years of experience as Director and Lead Teacher at Agape Preschool has provided her with ample knowledge for running and organizing early childhood programs. She holds a Master’s in Education from DePaul University, and has DCFS licensing experience. 

Mantice has been a staff member at the Wilmette Park District for over 15 years and has served in roles such as Center Fitness Club Manager and Mallinckrodt Manager, she is excited to extend her role into the Early Childhood department. She views this as an opportunity to support and grow an amazing program offered to the community, her goal is to maintain the high quality of education and service offered by the Early Childhood Center. “I am looking forward to the start of the school year, and getting acquainted with children and families of this fantastic school,” says Mantice.

Toma’s role as the new School Age Coordinator will focus on the After School Recreation program which has grown substantially in both popularity and size. With three additional classrooms opening for the 2019-2020 year, Toma has a growing program with great potential. “I transitioned into this role because child care has been my passion for many years,” explains Toma, “and the Wilmette Park District truly cares about the well-being, development, and experience of all the children within our programs.”

Joining the park district team from her previous role as Youth & Family Coordinator for the YMCA of Metro Chicago, Toma not only has several years of experience in early childhood care, but previous park district experience as well. Her first experience in early childhood care was as a Recreation Leader for the Chicago Park District. “What makes this field so special for me is that we get to build relationships with families in our programs and provide children with a fun, rewarding, and memorable experience.”

The Kindergarten Enrichment program has a familiar face leading the way this year – Gail Chepulis is now in her ninth year working in the Early Childhood Center, and we couldn’t be happier for the knowledge and experience she brings to the role. “I have a total of 18 years of experience working early childhood care, and I feel that I know the Kindergarten Enrichment program well,” says Chepulis, “I like helping people, and in this role there is plenty of opportunity!”

In addition to her time in the Kindergarten Enrichment program, Chepulis spent her earlier years working in After School Recreation, Wiggleworms Camp and Junior Day Camp programs. “My goal in this new position is to provide a safe and enriching environment, keep open communication with families and find new experiences for the program field trips.”

We are very excited for our new staff and hope you will stop by the Early Childhood Center to welcome them and say hello!