Theresa has 25 years of experience in developing programs and systems that support the school readiness and social competence of young children in poverty. She is an expert in early childhood development with broad, deep knowledge of effective strategies for supporting the development of children with high needs ages birth to five and their families.
As First Assistant Deputy Governor, Education, Theresa Hawley helps manage state education agencies and initiatives birth through college, with a particular focus on early childhood education and care.
In her immediate past role as Senior Vice President for Policy and Innovation at Illinois Action for Children, Theresa Hawley was responsible for ensuring that the organization’s policy and advocacy work, research efforts, and direct services to children and families were working together in an integrated way to strengthen early childhood systems at the community and state levels. As a driver of program and policy innovation across agencies, Theresa has worked tirelessly to build partnerships to expand impact in the service of children. She served in the Quinn and Rauner administrations as Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development.
Theresa was the founding Project Director of Educare of West DuPage and a consultant to early learning programs and community collaborations across Illinois. She was also the founding Board Chair of All Saints Catholic Academy in Naperville. She received her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Notre Dame and her Doctorate in Developmental Psychology from the University of Michigan.