President & Global Director
Ken founded ICRI in 1981 to improve the lives of children and families internationally 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. 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 was a founding member of the International Family Child Care Association and the World Forum on Early Care and Education, as well as 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.
Projects & Administrative Coordinator
Megan is the Projects & Administrative Coordinator at ICRI's headquarters. She provides support to President and Global Director, Ken Jaffe and Executive Director, Ellie Mashhour. Megan received her B.A. in Psychology with an 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.
Development Coordinator and Senior Researcher
Karuna is a mom, daughter, friend, and student who is passionately dedicated to philanthropic work. As the Development Coordinator and a Senior Researcher at ICRI’s headquarters’, she offers support to ICRI’s leadership through fund development, writing, and research.
Having received her B.A. in Public Policy with a concentration in international development, sustainability and social justice from Mills College, her background includes fund and program development, nonprofit administration, and working with infants, toddlers, and youth in a variety of educational, health and care settings. Karuna is very excited to be a part of the ICRI family and working to serve children; their families and communities all over the world.
Bruno is the Finance Manager of ICRI. As Finance Manager of an international organization with more than 100 employees, Bruno oversees the organization’s finance department and for ICRI projects assisting children, youth, and families around the world.
Project Commotion Co-Director
Susan is the Co-Director of Project Commotion, leading classes in movement and sensory integration. Susan has nine years of experience in movement programs at recreational after-school programs, as well as in the San Francisco Unified School District.
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 Michigan, 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.
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 of working with children. With over 10 years of training under world-renowned Mestre Urubu Malandro, she is a graduated student or “Professora Formiguinha.”
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 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.
Hearts Leap North Director
As Program Director and Senior Consultant for the ICRI team since 2008, Gretchen has contributed extensively to local and international ECE programs. She earned a Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education from Mills College, where she studied how teachers can facilitate insightful questions from students. Gretchen works 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.
She believes each child deserves an opportunity to find their voice, and see their ideas come to light in a warm and loving school environment. Gretchen is still close with her best friend from Preschool who lives across the country–she believes her positive school experience at a young age is in part responsible for her success as a leader in ECE world today.
Lakeview Preschool Director
Natalie has called Lakeview Preschool home since 2014 when she started as a teacher. In 2015, she moved out of the classroom and took on the role of directing. But, she believes that nothing can keep her away from the joys of teaching and you’ll find her in the classroom daily.
Before coming to Lakeview Preschool, Natalie worked at Children’s Day School in SF, as a nanny for many years, and she managed the office of a small non-profit. She looks forward to continuing to work with and learn from the great families and fellow teachers at Lakeview. Growing up in Oregon instilled a love of nature in Natalie, and in her free time she hikes in Tilden Park; makes art projects with my niece and nephew; bakes breads and treats for family and friends; and explores the Bay Area’s restaurants with her husband.
ICRI Africa Director Emeritus
Maggie is the Founding Director of ICRI-Africa, a nonprofit organization that supports grassroots organizations, allowing them to access funds and gain recognition as critical stakeholders in development. Maggie has spoken extensively about the role of grassroots and advocated for donor support to community-based organizations.
Maggie sits on the Boards of Project Baobab, an organization that provides opportunities for marginalized youth, and Akili Dada, an organization that supports the next generation of women leaders by paying their school fees and mentoring in Kenyan high schools. She 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. As the Communications Director for ICRI-HQ, Maggie assured communication with all ICRI offices and was involved in fund development for international programs. 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.
Angela Wanja Kithao
ICRI Kenya Country Director
Angela Wanja Kithao is from Nairobi, Kenya with 9 years of work experience changing the lives of children and families in Kenya. She is passionate about child-led curriculum and works with teachers to implement the same. She has a bachelor of education in early childhood and primary education and a master of education degree specialized in curriculum studies. She is currently pursuing a MA in Education, Gender and International Development at the University College of London, Institute of Education (IOE) and will be completing in October 2018. She chose to study early childhood education because of an inner passion to change the lives of children and families.
Angela starts each day with positivity and a smile because she believes each day she can touch the heart of a child. Her goal is to see the children flourish in all aspects of their growth and development through her work. She is on a mission to ensure that each child that she comes across achieves their full potential, so that all their talents are nurtured to the maximum.
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 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. He 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.
Ebenezer holds B.Sc. (Hons.) Degree in Tourism from the University of Cape Coast, Ghana and 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 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 that teachers should 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 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.
Lloyd Muwoni joined ICRI Zimbabwe in March 2017. He brings 10 years of experience in Orphans and Vulnerable Children and Early Childhood Education and Development programming and management. He has vast experience in fundraising, policy formulation and implementation and monitoring and evaluation. He has facilitated at several child protection and ECD trainings.
With a family and young son himself, Lloyd is committed to ensuring that every child, regardless of circumstances at birth, is provided with the best opportunities to reach their full potential and succeed in life. He is an active member of the Zimbabwe Network of Early Childhood Development Actors (ZINECDA), a network of professional and organizations concerned with early childhood development and education in Zimbabwe, where he serves as the deputy chairperson for the Harare chapter.