We believe that education is an important pathway out of poverty and that high-quality early childhood education, family engagement and early social-emotional learning provide the foundation for school success.


Lisa Schlakman

Lisa Schlakman has worked in the early childhood sector for over 30 years, developing and publishing teacher reference and curriculum materials and conducting trainings for teachers, administrators and family childcare providers. She was editor-in-chief of First Teacher Magazine for 20 years as well as EverydayTLC newsletter.

During the past 10 years, she has worked in the New Orleans childcare and charter school environment, having built relationships between the two sectors,  initiating and implemented the first successful Diverse Delivery partnerships in the city. She is the primary author of First Teacher Louisiana, a comprehensive training program for Family Childcare providers, commissioned by Louisiana Department of Family Services.

Inspired by her daughter and five stepsons, Schlakman authored two parenting books:  Parents and Kids Together and Special Times for Parents and Kids Together, both published by Warner Books.

Jaime Buck

Jaime Buck was born and raised in New Orleans.  After receiving her M.A. in Sociology from the University of New Orleans, she worked as a researcher studying homelessness and addictions.  After having her children, she became more interested in children and families.  She returned to school and received her MSW in 1996 from Tulane University.  Since that time, she has worked with families as a parent educator.  She has worked with kindergarten children and families through ELF for the past 5 years.  The most rewarding part of her work is the time she spends interacting with students in kindergarten classrooms.

Maggie Tufail

Maggie Tufail is a certified teacher with a bachelor’s degree in Communication Disorders and a master’s degree in Special Education, both from Louisiana State University. Throughout her career, she has taught Pre-K and Kindergarten students with autism and developmental delays and served as a middle school special education support teacher. She has also worked as a hospital-bound teacher, assisted in teacher training programs and tutored second graders in reading. Maggie lives in New Orleans where she and her husband are raising four sons.

Jannie Coleman

Jannie Coleman is a certified teacher with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a master’s degree in Learning Disabilities, both from the University of New Orleans. She has been a special education teacher in elementary and high schools, a middle school teacher, and a teacher for neglected and delinquent children. A New Orleans resident, Jannie has spent her lengthy career working with fellow educators to implement programs and curricula that meet the needs of each student.


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