News & Events


ELCHC Newsletter: Q2 October – December 2022

Good day community friends of the Early Learning Coalition of Hillsborough County.

Thank you for being supportive of not only our efforts but those of childcare providers across our county who provide Access, Quality, and improved Educational Outcomes for our county’s young children and their families.

Introducing New CEO: Dr. Fred Hicks

Dr. Fredrick L. Hicks is an accomplished leader in the world of technology and cybersecurity and currently serves as CEO of the Early Learning Coalition of Hillsborough County (ELCHC). At the ELCHC, Dr. Hicks devotes himself to ensuring Hillsborough’s youngest citizens are equipped with everything they need to be kindergarten-ready and set them up for ongoing life successes.

Dr. Hicks has worked for non-profits for over 30 years with the intent of giving back to the community, families, and children. He has an affinity to help children with socioeconomic barriers and those with special needs. Dr. Hicks believes when community leaders collaborate, everyone wins.

He has over 23 years of experience in technology and cybersecurity, most recently serving as Senior VP of Technology and Cybersecurity at the Early Learning Coalition of Miami-Dade and Monroe. 

Dr. Hicks holds an Executive Doctorate in Business Administration in Information Security from St. Thomas University (May 2021) and an array of technical certifications.

Dr. Fred Hicks Headshot

Dr. Hicks has also served on numerous boards of organizations including but not limited to the Miami-Dade County Mayor Blue Ribbon Children’s Commission Committee and Greater Miami-Chamber of Commerce Technology Smart Cities Committee.

Dr. Hicks is a loving father of 4 beautiful children, who makes the most out of his spare time by cherishing precious moments with them and discovering the many gems Tampa Bay has to offer.

Meet the ELCHC Team: Andrea Houchin

Employee photo- Andrea

Andrea Houchin is a Provider Quality Specialist (PQS) at the Early Learning Coalition of Hillsborough County. She was born and raised in Florida and attended Florida State University. Andrea has a master’s degree in child development and is passionate about her work with early childhood educators. Andrea and her significant other are adoptive parents, and she enjoys bringing the knowledge she gains from her job home with her to her own family.

In Andrea’s current role as a PQS, she is in the field conducting CLASS (Classroom Assessment Scoring System) observations that help identify areas where childcare providers can improve their quality interactions with children. Andrea also coaches childcare providers, providing targeted support so that providers have the tools they need to be successful.

Andrea loves that the Coalition helps a wide range of individuals – from families to providers get access to resources and funding that they may not have access to otherwise. Like Andrea, all our team members play a vital role, and we thank them for being committed to their work with children and families. Thank you, Andrea, for all that you do!

Day of Play: Nature In The Park

Provider Spotlight: ECHO Learning Center Bilingual

Quality Childcare Initiative: Working Together

By: Martha Aguiar | Early Childhood Workforce Coordinator

It has truly been a privilege for the Early Learning Coalition to partner with United Way’s Quality Childcare Initiative. This year we were joined by a representative from the Early Childhood Council who is providing behavioral support coaching to round out a comprehensive approach to helping childcare centers in Hillsborough County attain high quality care for our children. We identified seven centers and one family childcare home (FCCH) for this funding year and hope to add others in the future. We meet with the administration during our initial visit and help identify their needs before creating an individualized plan. We were recently able to put the planning into action at two of our sites. The first happened quite spontaneously when a center was struggling with a behavior concern, and we worked together to provide the staff with resources and in person hands on coaching to help mediate the concerns. The second example began with a beautification project we carried out this past weekend that will be followed by a community garden project in the future. The projects are as individual as the centers/FCCH and we are really enjoying seeing them develop.

Pictured right: Nicole Brown, Allison Welter, Yvonne Boyce & Martha Aguiar 

Business Leadership Graduation

We are pleased to share with you that another 76 providers graduated from our Business Leadership Training on June 28th of this past year bringing the total to 168 providers who have taken advantage of this amazing opportunity. We are currently in the process of setting up another three cohorts that will be starting soon so be on the look out for information coming out this month.