Nkechy Ekere Ezeh, '92 & '93
Dr. Nkechy Ekere Ezeh is an Associate Professor of Education and the Director of the Early Childhood Education Program at Aquinas College. Dr. Ezeh also holds the position of Founder and CEO of the Early Learning Neighborhood Collaborative in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Dr. Ezeh received an Associate’s Degree with an emphasis in Child Development from Grand Rapids Community College. Upon completion of her Associates Degree, Dr. Ezeh became the Director of REACH, a non-profit organization serving vulnerable children in Grand Rapids. Inspired by this work, Dr. Ezeh returned to school, receiving both a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Language and Literacy (1992) and a Master of Education Degree in Early Childhood Education (1993) from Grand Valley State University along with a Doctorate in Education with an emphasis on Child and Youth Studies from Nova Southeastern University.
Over the next twenty years, Dr. Ezeh served as an Adult and Parent Educator, worked with local nonprofits as an Education Consultant, and led Professional Development and Parent Education workshops throughout the United States, Australia (Sydney, Melbourne, South Australia), China (Beijing & Hong Kong), Dubai, India, Japan, Malaysia, Nigeria, Qatar, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, and Zambia.
In 2010, commissioned by W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Dr. Ezeh conducted a current reality research project on children living in the core city of Grand Rapids. She later led a collaborative project to establish the Early Learning Neighborhood Collaborative (ELNC) for the purpose of planning and designing an intentional preschool service system aimed at providing, expanding, and sustaining the capacity of high quality early care and education programs in the vulnerable neighborhoods of Grand Rapids. Her research and recommendations resulted in a $6.5 million grant award to ELNC in 2012. As evidence that the ELNC Model is working, W.K. Kellogg Foundation awarded ELNC a second grant for $5.5M in February 2016.
In 2016, Dr. Ezeh was named the recipient of Grand Rapids Community College’s 2016 Hattie Beverly Education Award given to an outstanding African American educator in the Grand Rapids area.
Dr. Ezeh resides in Grand Rapids with her husband Pius. Together they have five children: Onyinye MK, Obinna, Akuezumkpa, Nnenna and Niki.