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KEES Congratulates Executive Director Cari Christoff at Cornerstone Children’s Learning Center  

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KEES Executive Search Client Partner, Cornerstone Children’s Learning Center (CCLC), a nonprofit organization offering a warm and welcoming learning environment in the Chicagoland area, announced Cari Christoff as its next Executive Director. Christoff, an experienced, quality-driven leader, joined Cornerstone in January 2023, following the planned retirement of long-time Executive Director Lois Scott.

Bringing expansive leadership and early education expertise to the Cornerstone team and community, Christoff has spent the last 30+ years supporting staff, families, children, and her community through her knowledge and expertise in building strong foundations and positive relationships. 

Cornerstone has set a high bar for what’s possible in providing quality daycare and early education in the heart of Chicago,” said Christoff. “I believe that children having access to high-quality early childhood experiences that are affordable is essential to creating a caring community of learners.” 

For over nine years, Christoff served as Executive Director at Oak Park and River Forest Day Nursery (the Day Nursery). While serving at the Day Nursery, Christoff provided oversight, leadership, and supervision of the nonprofit organization, which provides early childhood education and multiple program services to children in at-risk situations and working families. In addition to strengthening the organization, Christoff also focused on private philanthropy and individual donations, which doubled under her leadership.

“Cari’s expansive knowledge of licensure, accreditation (NAEYC), early childhood education, leadership, and board commitment, offers our team a unique set of talents for the diverse communities we serve and to lead CCLC into the next phase of growth,” said CCLC Board President Dale Branda. “Thank you to the entire KEES team for their successful search efforts. We are thrilled to officially welcome Cari to the Cornerstone family.”

Prior to her time as Executive Director for Oak Park and River Forest Day Nursery, Christoff served as a Child and Family/Teen Director with the West Cook YMCA, and a handful of child and human services agencies in Tucson, AZ. Christoff holds a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities from Indiana University in Bloomington, IN and an Associate of Applied Science, General Studies with an Early Childhood Education Concentration from Pima Community College in Tucson, AZ.

Cornerstone Children’s Learning Center Board of Directors retained KEES in 2022, and a comprehensive, regional search was launched, attracting a uniquely qualified and diverse pool of candidates. Cornerstone Children’s Learning Center Board of Directors leading the search efforts included Board Chair Gale Formato (Retired Nurse), Dale Branda (Chief Operating Officer – Steward Advisors, LLC), and Jane Lambshead (Retired Teacher – Oak Park Elementary School District 97). The Board of Directors ultimately selected Christoff from a strong group of finalists.

“Cari brings a strong skillset and commitment to quality to the CCLC team,” said Heather Eddy, KEES President and CEO. “From our first interactions with Cari, we saw the value she placed on building relationships. Her reflective leadership abilities and strong communications skills will benefit CCLC, and we look forward to this next step for all of them. Congratulations to Cari, the Board, and the entire CCLC community on this announcement.” 


KEES (formerly Alford Executive Search) is a non-profit executive search firm that builds diverse teams with dynamic leaders in the non-profit and public sectors. A woman owned and operated firm, KEES offers a full array of non-profit consulting services, including executive search, leadership development, interim staffing, and HR support. For more information, please visit


Cornerstone Children’s Learning Center, a ministry of LaSalle Street Church, achieves its vision by providing the highest quality affordable education and care, by reaching out to our diverse community, and by partnering with and supporting families and teachers because we are called to be an expression of God’s kingdom in our neighborhood.  CCLC cultivates a stimulating environment where children are empowered through a milestone-based curriculum, immersive learning experiences, and STEAM activities. All day-to-day services operate through a unique partnership with Childtime Learning Center (Childtime), owned by Learning Care Group (LCG). LCG offers childcare across 11 brands and more than 1,050 high-quality schools nationwide. To learn more, please visit


Jamie Sheffler,