Founder and Executive Director
Ellicia Qualls is the founding Executive Director of Urban Sprouts, a diverse Reggio Emilia school focusing on early childhood education. With over 15 years of experience in the field, Qualls is committed to developing and administering programs that enrich the lives of children and their families. As an Adjunct Instructor at St. Louis Community College, she has distinguished herself as a leader in social-emotional development education and early childhood management. Among her proudest achievements at the College is extending Early Childhood Education (ECE) courses to the St. Louis community, in partnership with the Boeing Company.
Qualls demonstrates an impressive track record in community outreach. She has partnered with early childhood educators through the Healthy Sprouts Initiative and served as a Member for the Urban League Young Professionals. She has also spearheaded innovative community programs, including partnering with Youth in Need to service low- to moderate-income families via a generous Head Start grant. In collaboration with Webster University, she organized a conference attended by 20 Reggio Emilia providers based in China highlighting advanced interaction between children, teachers, and their peers. In addition, she developed a charter to launch the National Black Child Development Institute (NBDCI) chapter in St. Louis. Qualls most recently hosted Chelsea Clintons visit to St. Louis in partnership with Child Care Aware of Eastern Missouri.
Qualls has been recognized for her achievements within the community, and given a Distinguished Director Award from ARCHS (2012). She is a member of the North American Reggio Emilio Alliance, Urban League of Young Professionals, National Black Child Development Institution, and the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Qualls is passionate about her work and committed to realizing her vision of social justice through early childhood education.