About the Education Coalition of Macon County


What is the Education Coalition of Macon County (EdCo)?

The Education Coalition of Macon County believes the extraordinary challenge of helping all children learn at high levels and become prepared for life-long success demands an increased role for business, educators, parents and others outside the school room. The extraordinary reward of meeting this challenge is an improved quality of life for all residents and increased prosperity for the region. We use the collective impact model of working differently as a community to achieve community solutions to a high priority concern.
Our Mission: To mobilize the community to improve Macon County through education.


Since 2007 the Education Coalition has been committed to its mission of improving the community through education. Education was the clear priority issue from a survey conducted in 2005 by the Community Foundation of Macon County. Further conversations at that time revealed three overarching areas for improvement:

All Children Ready for Kindergarten
Grade to Grade Readiness
College and Career Readiness

The Decatur Area Education Coalition was commissioned in 2007 to draw the community into a discussion about improvement of education systems and outcomes through a collaboration of providers and coordination of resources. In its first five years the Coalition, branded EdCo, convened three teams to achieve the stated vision, “Coalition organizers want Decatur and Macon County to be recognized as one of the most educated communities in Illinois.” That three teams model has morphed into a structure of combined Collaborative Action Networks (CANs) and Communities of Practice focused on specific priority actions the community can take to improve identified education outcomes.

In 2013 the Education Coalition took on the name Education Coalition of Macon County to better identify the community involved in the collective impact work.
Today EdCo is committed to community-wide work to improve in the three original overarching areas.

Education Leadership Council

The Education Leadership Council is a formalized group of executive level members who are charged with setting the overall strategy for the Education Coalition, committing organizational / institutional resources to see that the right work gets done, and breaking down political or organizational barriers that inhibit the system from working effectively.  This group has representation from all of the major sectors of our community:


Chair – Wegi Stewart, President of the Community Foundation of Macon County

Dr. Paul Bloom, Vice President of Process and Chemical Research, ADM

Ryan McCrady, President,  Economic Development Corporation

Dr. Patrick White, President, Millikin University

Trent Thompson, President, Decatur Industrial Electric

Bishop Glenn Livingston, Chief Executive Officer, Robertson Charter School

Tanya Andricks, CEO, Crossing Healthcare

Matt Snyder, Regional Superintendent, Regional Office of Education for Macon & Piatt Counties

Dan Brue, Superintendent, Meridian School District

Dr. Paul Fregeau, Superintendent, Decatur Public School District

Tony Wilkins, Superintendent Administration, Ameren Illinois

Tony Brown, Lieutenant, Macon Co. Sheriff’s Office

Cindy Bardeleben, Interim Executive Director, BabyTALK


The EdCo Team


Dani Craft, Vice President of Community Initiatives

Dani is dedicated to community improvement through building partnerships with individuals, organizations, and businesses. Community engagement is at the heart of the Dani’s work at The Community Foundation. Dani and her husband are lifetime residents of Central Illinois and graduates of Millikin University. Dani came to The Community Foundation from the pharmaceutical industry where she garnered years of experience and expertise in various management roles. Dani gets great fulfillment in working with the partnerships and collaborations of EDCO, The Community Foundation’s most advanced initiative.

E-mail Dani


Brittani Garner, Community Initiatives Coordinator

Brittani joined EDCO and The Community Foundation of Macon County family in September 2018. She is passionate about working in nonprofit organizations and giving back to the community. Brittani is a lifelong resident of Macon County and a graduate of Decatur Public Schools and Millikin University. Prior to joining EDCO and The Community Foundation, Brittani worked at University of Illinois Extension with Macon County 4-H where she found her passion in helping educate youth in fun and creative ways. She will utilize this passion in her new role as Community Initiatives Coordinator by working with area educators and community partners to continue to fulfill EDCO’s mission of mobilizing the community to improve Macon County through education.

E-mail Brittani


Erin Reed, Administrative & Project Support Coordinator

Erin is excited to re-join the team of the Education Coalition and Community Foundation of Macon County. Erin previously worked for the organization for three years as the Communications Manager and she is happy to be back “home.” In her current role, Erin will support and coordinate the initiative projects of the organization, and manage the daily activities of the office. Erin is a lifelong Decatur area resident, and a graduate of Maroa-Forsyth High School. Erin successfully completed her Bachelor’s degree at DePaul University. Erin is thrilled to be working for EdCo once again; she is passionate about community improvement and helping mentor the young students to become leaders of tomorrow.

E-mail Erin


Shannon Mittleman, Director, Decatur Teacher Education Pipeline

National Center for Urban Education, College of Education-Illinois State University

Shannon came to EdCo in June of 2015 as part of a collaborative partnership between Illinois State University, EdCo, and Decatur Public Schools to address the high attrition rate of teachers from urban schools. As Director for the Decatur Teacher Education Pipeline, a program modeled after the successful Chicago Teacher Education Pipeline out of ISU, Shannon works to cultivate and sustain innovative, resilient, and effective educators for DPS61. Prior to her work with the university, Shannon served in both leadership and teaching roles in Decatur. Though originally from Oklahoma, Shannon and her family have called Decatur home for the past 15 years. Her two children have attended Decatur Public Schools since kindergarten and she is a proud supporter of the district.

E-mail Shannon


Rida Ellis, Program Coordinator, Decatur Teacher Education Pipeline

National Center for Urban Education, College of Education-Illinois State University

Rida joined the Decatur Teacher Education Pipeline in July of 2018. Prior to joining DTEP, she worked as the Community Initiatives Coordinator for the Education Coalition of Macon County and DPS61 as a kindergarten and first grade teacher, elementary instructional coach, and various summer camp roles. Rida graduated from MacArthur High School. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Millikin University and a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education from Eastern Illinois University. She has a deep passion for learning, children, teaching and education. Rida is excited to join DTEP and support teachers. She lives in Decatur with her son, Qayden.

E-mail Rida


2 days ago

Education Coalition of Macon County

We encourage you to share your time, talents and treasures!

Community Foundation of Macon County Vice President of Community Initiatives Dani L. Craft volunteers to support mission outreach for
UMCOR (United Methodist Committee On Relief).

Love is the gift that gives all year long.

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4 days ago

Education Coalition of Macon County

Congratulations to our partners at Decatur Teacher Education Pipeline!Out Induction and Mentoring Program has been busy this semester with PD sessions!

We had visitors, Jodi Tull and Terrence Taylor, from Student Services.

Lots of learning and reflection!
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5 days ago

Education Coalition of Macon County

Today's referral clients really had major household needs! Although we are low on most inventory, we are totally out of silverware, blankets, comforters, coffeepots, crockpots, toasters, bowls, bakeware and king/queen sheets. Donations of gently used or new items can be dropped off M-F between 8am and 4pm. Thank you! ... See MoreSee Less


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