2015 Nassau BOCES Education Partner Award Honoree

Jill Rooney

Jill Rooney

Executive Director
Harbor Child Care Inc.

For more than 40 years, Jill Arden Rooney has been a tireless champion of children's causes and has worked to provide high-quality childcare to Long Island families. Her mission -- to advocate for the care of all children -- has influenced legislators, medical professionals and the general public, as well as improved early childcare and education. 

In 1973, Ms. Rooney founded Harbor Child Care in response to the growing trend of mothers entering the workforce. Harbor was one of the first childcare centers on Long Island to be accredited by the National Academy of Early Childhood Programs. 

Today, Harbor Child Care has grown into a comprehensive nonprofit agency with seven centers throughout Nassau County serving nearly 1,000 children and their families. The center uses a rigorous, research-based curriculum known as the High Scope Cognitive Development Program. Ms. Rooney is a national trainer in High Scope, with a focus on preschool education. 

Throughout her career, Ms. Rooney has been a powerful force behind a number of causes related to children's welfare. She founded the Teaching Institute for Infant Care Givers, the first program to provide ongoing training for teacher-caregivers of children age 0-3. More than 400 childcare providers have been trained in this program, which was the first on Long Island to offer training and certification in infant childcare. 

Ms. Rooney spearheaded the first countywide conference on infectious diseases in childcare settings and helped to launch the Nassau County Coalition for Child Care to increase public awareness of the need for quality community childcare. She assisted in organizing the 23 agency Task Force Against Childhood Violence and created the ongoing "Where Are the Children" campaign to track and retrieve children in underground or illegal childcare facilities. In recent years, she organized The Coalition of Health and Wellness in the Early Years to address healthcare issues in early childhood. 

Ms. Rooney has earned a long line of accolades including New York State Woman of the Year, Margo O'Connor Child Advocate of the Year and March of Dimes Woman of Distinction. Ms. Rooney was named one of the Top 50 Most Influential Women in Business on three separate occasions and as a result was inducted into the Hall of Fame.