President & Executive Director
Ken is the founder and leader of ICRI. He started the organization in 1981 to improve the lives of children and families throughout the world, through technical assistance and consultation, resource dissemination, and the establishment of model projects.
Ken received his child development training at the University of Uppsala in Sweden and his Master’s Degree from the University of California, Berkeley, where he conducted comparative research in international child care and development practices. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from John F. Kennedy University, where he studied juvenile justice and children’s rights. Ken is the author of numerous articles on international early childhood education, child advocacy, program management and work and family policy issues.
Ken served as Chair and member of the California Governor’s Advisory Committee on Child Development for nine years. He has worked extensively on family child care issues and was a founding member of the International Family Child Care Association and the World Forum on Early Care and Education. Ken was the Vice-Chair of a statewide commission to formulate a strategic plan for child care development in California.
Ken has assisted in the improvement or establishment of more than 300 child care, child health and child abuse prevention programs worldwide. He has been a consultant to the Children’s Defense Fund in Washington, D.C., and has advised the governments of Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, China, Sweden and Ecuador on child and family issues. In addition, Ken has presented over 300 keynotes and seminars to policy makers, executives, and non-profit professionals worldwide.
Chief Operations Officer
Ellie is ICRI's Chief Operations Officer, and oversees day-to-day operations of our international programs. Ellie has been a Director of the ICRI Child Development Center since 1993 and also serves as ICRI’s Child Care Operations Manager. Ellie oversees four ICRI child care centers with a combined enrollment of nearly 300 preschool children. She is an expert on child care facilities design, budget development, and licensing.
Ellie also serves as a Senior Consultant for ICRI, and has advised numerous organizations on child care design and development projects, including LucasFilm, Ltd.; Amgen; the California State Assembly, Senate and Secretary of State; and The Children’s Pre-School Center of Palo Alto.
Megan is the Administrative Coordinator at ICRI's headquarters. She provides support to President and International Director, Ken Jaffe and Executive Director, Ellie Mashhour. Megan received her B.A. in Psychology with and emphasis on Child Development and Language Acquisition from UC Santa Cruz. Megan's background includes fund development, project coordination, and working with toddlers, children, and teenagers. After working as a paralegal for 3 years she is excited to be a part of the ICRI team because of her passion for children's education and international relations.
Janet is the Finance Manager of the International Child Resource Institute (ICRI). As Finance Manager of an international organization with more than 100 employees, Janet oversees the organization’s finance department. Janet also performs a variety of program management tasks for ICRI projects assisting children, youth, and women around the world.
Janet has worked in numerous capacities as a financial advisor to various small non profits and has a great passion for working on issues that relate to the improvement of the lives of children and the empowerment of women in African societies. She is a financial Advisor of Hupenu, a program that is geared to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDs in young women of Zimbabwe, and is the Co-Founder of Future Impex, an import/export organization that distributes second hand goods to developing nations. Janet currently sits on the board of ABLE, a grassroots non profit organization that seeks to create education and awareness of people living with Epilepsy. She holds a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) and a Bachelors of Commerce (BComm).
Project Commotion Co-Director
Susan is the Co-Director of Project Commotion, where she leads individual and group classes in movement and sensory integration. Susan has nine years of experience with children of all ages and abilities in movement programs at recreational after-school programs, as well as in the San Francisco Unified School District.
Susan discovered the art of capoeira in 1996, which nourished her love of movement – primarily being upside-down – and inspired her to combine this passion with her joy and fascination of working with children. Now with over 10 years of training under world-renowned Mestre Urubu Malandro, she is a graduated student, known in the Capoeira world as “Professora Formiguinha.”
Susan is also a faculty member in the Child Development and Family Studies Department at City College of San Francisco. She holds a BS in Communications from the University of Michican, a Certificate of Completion in Child Development/General from the City College of San Francisco, and both a Safety Certification and a KAT (Kinder Accreditation for Teachers) Certification, from USA Gymnastics.
Family Daycare Support Network Director
Maria has worked for over a decade with ICRI’s Family Daycare Support Network, which provides nutrition education and financial support to family daycare providers serving low income children in Alameda County.
Maria has held a variety of positions at FDSN and currently serves as the Program Director. In addition to conducting home visits to educate family daycare providers, Maria manages the administration of FDSN and communications with FDSN’s funder, the California State Department of Education.
Renee has over 35 years of experience in the education field. She has a Standard Elementary Teaching Credential with specialization in early childhood education, a lifetime children’s center permit, and a Master of Arts degree in Education/Educational Technology. She has taught in both the Oakland and Berkeley public school systems, and has worked to create, document, and implement a variety of educational programs in the private sector. Renee was also the owner/director/teacher of a private pre-school located in Berkeley for many years. She has also been a director of many preschools in the Bay Area and works as a consultant in the field of early childhood education.
Hearts Leap North Director
As Program Director and Senior Consultant for the ICRI team since 2008, Gretchen has contributed extensively to our local and international ECE programs. She earned her Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education from Mills College where she investigated how children learn to ask questions and how teachers can best support and guide this process through open-ended questioning and modeling.
Gretchen works closely with the teaching staff at Hearts Leap, Hearts Leap North and Lakeview Preschool to support their implementation of inquiry based, Reggio inspired, Emergent and Anti-Bias Curriculum thus providing an environment rich with opportunities for learning and exploration. She believes that each child deserves the opportunity to find their voice, be heard, and see their ideas come to light in a warm and loving school environment. Gretchen is still extremely close with her best friend from Preschool who lives across the country. She believes her positive experience with school at a very young age is in part responsible for her success as a leader in the world of ECE today.
Leonard Chumo Falex
ICRI Africa Program Manager
Leonard holds a (Double Major) Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics and Sociology from the University of Nairobi, and is currently undertaking his MBA at the Leadership Training institute, Nairobi. He consults on Organizational Growth and Leadership and is a co-founder of Christian Youth in Action (CYIA).
Leonard’s career has included serving as Deputy Principal at Kapkirwok High School; Enterprise Development Officer, Ministry of Labor; working in operations at Barclays Bank- Head Office; and serving as a constituency committee member at the Constitution of Kenya Review Commission.
Prior to joining, ICRI, Leonard had actively participated in the periodic trainings offered by ICRI (Africa) while working at the National Assembly of Kenya. While volunteering at ICRI, Leonard developed great passion for the grassroots advocacy programs carried out by ICRI (Africa). He is honored to be associated with the reputation of ICRI in being at the forefront of championing an Africa where all children and families are safe, healthy and economically empowered.
ICRI Africa Director Emeritus
Maggie is the Founding Director of ICRI-Africa, a nonprofit organization that supports and nurtures grassroots organizations allowing them to gain access to funds and recognition as critical stakeholders in development. A strong proponent of grassroots sustainable development, Maggie has spoken extensively about the role of grassroots and advocated for donor support to community-based organizations.
Prior to returning to Kenya in 2005 to oversee the ICRI-Africa office, Maggie lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for more than 10 years where she worked at various nonprofit organizations. As the Communications Director for ICRI-HQ, Maggie assured constant communication with all ICRI offices around the world and was involved in fund development for ICRI international programs.
Maggie has consulted and advised multiple international organizations working in Africa as well as advised donors interested in Africa. Maggie has made numerous presentations on Africa issues including at the Community Foundation of Minneapolis/Minnesota Council of Foundations, Association of Small Foundations, Global Philanthropy Forum, and San Francisco World Affairs Council.
Maggie sits on the Boards of Project Baobab, an organization that provides opportunities for marginalized youth through entrepreneurship, and Akili Dada, an organization that supports and nurtures the next generation of women leaders through paying their school fees and mentoring bright young women in Kenyan high schools. Maggie also serves on the advisory Boards of several organizations in the US and in Africa including The Clarence Foundation, Women of Africa and Harambee Arts. Maggie holds a Masters in Public Administration (MPA) and B.A in Education.
ICRI Nepal Country Director
Dhirendra is the Country Director of ICRI Nepal and oversees ICRI’s work on numerous programs to support children and families in Nepal. Dhirendra has over 15 years of experience working in community development, education, and HIV/AIDS prevention and intervention.
Dhirendra’s skills in non-profit management and project design/implementation have benefitted numerous programs of ICRI Nepal. He received funding from the United Nations Development Program to work with the Network for Children, Prisoners, and Dependents to provide holistic HIV prevention and support services to Nepali prisoners and their families. Dhirendra has also served as a key participant in the formulation of the National Plan of Action for Children through Nepal’s Ministry for Women, Children, and Social Welfare.
Dhirendra has presented seminars and working papers on children’s issues, HIV/AIDS, and community development at international conferences and forums in Australia, Hungary, Northern Ireland, India, the United States, Malaysia, and Thailand. In 2007, Dhirendra received the Global Leader for Young Children award from the World Forum Foundation.
ICRI Ghana Country Director
Ebenezer holds B.Sc. (Hons.) Degree in Tourism from the University of Cape Coast, Ghana and also an Executive Mastery Certificate in Child Development and Early Childhood Education from Carayol College. He is an expert in ICT Marketing, Corporate Project Planning and Management.
Ebenezer has trained in Early Childhood Education and has developed considerable skill, knowledge and experience in early childhood education. In his child education delivery, Ebenezer allows the children to lead the curriculum, while nurturing, supporting and guiding them.
Ebenezer believes that children are the creators and advocates that teachers give the children the materials, tools, and opportunities to create. He uses locally found and natural materials in his learning delivery.
Ebenezer has facilitated several training programs on Early Childhood Education and has led a team of experts, consultants and academicians to enter into various education collaborations in Early Childhood Education. He is the leading a team to collaborate with The University of Education Winneba to establish an Early Childhood Education Graduate Studies program and to construct and equip the University with a state of the art Child Care/Resource Centre at Winneba.