Ivy Tech Community College Fort Wayne and Warsaw has appointed Douglas Clark, Ed.D., as the new Dekko Foundation Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Leadership and Advocacy. As a member of the Ivy Tech early childhood education faculty, he will provide strategic support to the College, promote collaboration that advances the early childhood profession, and assist community leaders in their efforts to increase the impact and availability of high-quality early learning throughout northeast Indiana and across the state.
“It’s an honor to serve in this role,” said Clark. “Thanks to the foresight of our leaders and the dedication of our faculty, Ivy Tech has a long history of service to early childhood educators across their academic, professional, and leadership journeys. Dekko Foundation’s generous gift multiplies the potential for even greater impact through community engagement and collaboration. This is truly a one-of-a-kind opportunity.”
The Endowed Chair appointment was created in 2011 with the support of a $1.3 million grant from the Dekko Foundation. Clark succeeded Rebecca Carothers who had held the role since its inception through 2021. This position focuses on engagement and outreach to build up the early childhood profession to increase child, family, and community outcomes for northeast Indiana. In this role, Clark will also promote collaboration, innovation, and investment that stimulate program growth, and increase the scale and impact of the early childhood workforce throughout the region.
Clark’s work in early childhood education spans four decades including roles as a university professor, program builder, consultant, and director of a nationally recognized early learning center. Prior to joining the Ivy Tech faculty, he was a community impact executive with Ambassador Enterprises and lecturer in the School of Education at Purdue University Fort Wayne. He has earned the Doctor of Education from Pepperdine University, a post-graduate certificate in early childhood administration from National-Louis University (NLU), and graduate degree in business from Webster University.
As a member of the NLU faculty, Clark held a joint appointment with the McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership where he served in multiple training, advisory, and advocacy roles. He was a principal co-developer of the Aim4Excellence online national credential platform for early childhood program administrators, which launched in 2009 as the first national director credential recognized by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). He later held faculty and leadership positions at Indiana Wesleyan University and Indiana Tech.
Before faculty service, Clark directed the operation of a NAEYC-accredited early learning center that served the families of over 200 children in an economically, racially, and culturally diverse suburb of Chicago. He has served as an accreditation peer reviewer and completed a 2-year appointment to NAEYC’s national advisory panel on quality, compensation, and affordability in early childhood programs. He remains active as a subject matter expert, content developer, research advisor and supervisor of practicum experiences for preservice early childhood teachers.