Jacqueline Y. Pelzer has been the Executive Director of Early Steps since 1988. She is actively sought as a speaker at national conferences and seminars and writes from her experience on diversity issues. She has held positions on the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) Board, both as Secretary and Chair of the Equity and Justice Committee. This committee’s role is to ensure that diversity issues and initiatives are addressed by the organization and to contribute topics and ideas for continued Board growth and development in this area.
Welcome to Early Steps

For over three decades I have had the joy and responsibility of guiding the parents of children of color through the process of applying to independent schools for kindergarten and first grade. Personally, I am a child of segregation, a beneficiary of the efforts of those pioneers who demanded that the doors to education and society be open to all. Today my life’s work is dedicated to opening the doors to an inclusive world for young children of color, the very same doors that were closed to me.

We all know that early opportunities open many doors. Doors where academic excellence is the norm; where children learn and play with others whose life's experiences are not the same as theirs; where exploration is encouraged and travel around the world is expected. Early Steps, in partnership with its member schools, works to create a world where the children of doctors and doormen and teachers and the children with one parent and the children with two, all come together in the sandbox and learn to measure people by the content of their character and the interests they share not by the color of their skin or the money in their pockets.


Jacqueline Y. Pelzer
Executive Director