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Staff Bios

Sara R. Slaughter
Program Director

Sara Slaughter is Director of the Education Program at the McCormick Foundation. In that capacity, she oversees $6.5 to $7.5 million of annual funding in the Education Program, which focuses on building a system of quality early care and education in the state of Illinois.

Prior to joining the McCormick Foundation, she was the Program Director at Chicago Metropolis 2020 where she helped bring the voices of business and civic champions to bear on early care and education policy in Illinois. Ms. Slaughter previously served as an advisor to Evan Bayh when he was Governor of Indiana. She is a lawyer who practiced law at Kirkland & Ellis in Chicago and also served as a judicial clerk to a federal judge.

Ms. Slaughter is a member of the Early Learning Council of Illinois, the Illinois Department of Human Services’ Child Care and Development Advisory Committee, and the Early Childhood Funders Collaborative. She serves on the board of Grantmakers for Children, Youth and Families (GCYF) and in 2008, she served as the co-chair of the GCYF Annual Conference. She also serves on the Indiana University School of Law Alumni Board. She co-authored the Economic Impact of the Early Care and Education Industry in Illinois.

Ms. Slaughter holds a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Duke University and a J.D. from Indiana University School of Law -- Bloomington. She resides in Chicago with her husband and two children.

Lindsay Alvis Cochrane
Program Officer

Lindsay Alvis Cochrane is the Education Program Officer at the McCormick Foundation. Lindsay assists with the implementation and monitoring of projects, helps to evaluate new education grant proposals and works to broaden her knowledge of the early care and education field and stay connected to the current issues in the field, locally and nationally.

Lindsay came to the Foundation in February of 2005. She currently serves as a member of the Illinois Early Learning Council’s Public Awareness and Infant/Toddler Committees and participates in the Donors Forum’s Education Committee. She also serves as a board member for Changing Worlds, a Chicago-based organization dedicated to fostering inclusive communities through oral history, writing and art programs that improve student learning, affirm identity and enhance cross-cultural understanding. Lindsay also recently launched an Associate Board for the organization. Throughout her youth, she was an active volunteer in her community. She continues today to find ways to stay active in the nonprofit field and volunteer for causes close to her heart.

Lindsay graduated from the University of Kansas in 2004, where she received a BA in Early Childhood Development. Her passion for young children and families continues to grow with the work that she does every day and the knowledge that she gains from her colleagues and experts in the field.

Erica Okezie-Phillips
Program Officer

Erica Okezie-Phillips has been a Program Officer in the McCormick Foundation since 2007. She brings with her an extensive international background, having worked with immigrant children and families in Canada, the United States and Taiwan.

Since moving to the United States, Ms. Okezie-Phillips has focused on the cultural implications of development for young children from multi-ethnic backgrounds. Prior to joining the Foundation, she was the Director of Early Childhood Programs and Interim Principal at a Charter School on Chicago’s west side. Ms. Okezie-Phillips previously worked as a Research Analyst in children’s mathematical thinking in multiplication and division at Northwestern University Evanston, IL and was the Assistant Headmistress of an International School in Taipei, where she was instrumental in developing the expansion of the school’s satellite programs in Hong Kong and Mainland China.

Ms. Okezie-Phillips currently sits on the Policy Advisory Committee for Teacher Preparation and Certification Programs for Minority Children at the Erikson Institute. She is a member of the Steering Committee at the University of Illinois Chicago, Ed Leadership and Principal Training Program and Co-chairs the Education Funders Group at the Donors Forum in Chicago.

Ms. Okezie-Phillips holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Toronto in Women Studies and Sociology and a Masters Degree in Education from the Erikson Institute/ Loyola University Chicago. She is also currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Toronto in Developmental Psychology and Education. Her research interests include international early care and education systems integration and public policy development.