Sheila Merry, newly appointed executive director of Evanston Cradle to Career Initiativesubmitted photo

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Sheila Merry will be the new Executive Director of Evanston Cradle to Career beginning Feb. 16.

The Evanston Cradle to Career initiative, which leveraged the collective efforts of local   organizations, schools, businesses and the faith community to make a lasting difference in the lives of children and families, has appointed Sheila Merry its new executive director.

“I am thrilled to have this opportunity to work with the amazing group that has pulled together this important initiative for the children and families in our community,” Ms. Merry said. “Evanston is uniquely positioned to realize the promise of this kind of collective impact initiative,” she said. 

Ms. Merry joins Cradle to Career following a successful career working to improve opportunities and resources for youth and families. Most recently she served as head of the Illinois Mentoring Partnership, a nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding mentoring relationships for children and youth in Illinois.

Before that she served for 13 years as executive director of the Jane Addams Juvenile Court Foundation, an organization created to focus attention on and support reform of the Cook County Juvenile Court system. Ms. Merry has also served as a senior research associate with Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago.

Ms. Merry earned a bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Social Policy at Northwestern University and her master’s degree from the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. She moved to Evanston in 1987 and raised two children who went through the local school system.

Ms. Merry spent many years on the board of Youth Organizations Umbrella (Y.O.U.), serving for seven years as vice president of programs.

“We are excited that Sheila Merry will be the executive director for Cradle to Career,” said Eric Witherspoon, Superintendent of District 202. “She is highly qualified and brings the experience we need to spearhead this important work.”