DBT40 Honoree: Jamie Schneider
Title: Executive Director & Owner
Workplace: Educational Enrichment Center DE & Delaware Association for the Education of Young Children
Just six years ago, Jamie Schneider was a preschool teacher and mother of two making ends meet when her ex-husband suffered an almost life-ending stroke.
She met that unforeseen challenge, and has grown personally and professionally in the years since.
In 2018, she met Krista Griffiths, a parent at Educational Enrichment Center DE, a childcare center in Wilmington. Impressed by her enthusiasm, work ethic and creativity, Griffiths asked Schneider to manage her first-time campaign for state representative. Together they won a difficult primary election and upset a longtime incumbent.
The next year, Scheider bought EEC DE and began directing the operation. She was only five months into her business when the pandemic broke out, and she was forced to aid her 34 employees and the clients they served while trying to keep the center financially afloat. She proudly was able to keep all of her staff employed with full benefits while navigating weeks of temporary closure.
When the early childhood education field was designated an essential business, Schneider led the Delaware COVID-19 Childcare Reopening Task Force along with Gov. John Carney’s administration to guide more than 1,200 independent child care operators statewide and successfully lobby for $200 million in federal CARES Act funds.
She got that opportunity through her work at the Delaware Association for the Education of Young Children, where she then-served as board president and interim executive director. The state nonprofit represents early childhood educators and center directors.
Amid handling the pandemic response, Scheider also successfully managed Griffiths’ re-election campaign and Kyle Evans Gay’s campaign for State Senate, which upset Senate Minority Whip Cathy Clouitier.
When she’s not working in education policy or politics, Schneider often visits Dewey Beach or New York City. She played highly competitive softball growing up and once had the opportunity to catch Olympic pitcher Michelle Smith.