Kaleem Caire is an accomplished trailblazer, social entrepreneur and national leader in K-12 education reform, economic and workforce development and community transformation. He is presently the founder and chief executive officer of One City Early Learning Centers, a 21st century preschool aimed at eliminating the racial achievement gap at its core. Kaleem was born and raised in Madison and is a fifth generation Madisonian. He grew up on Madison’s South Side and attended Franklin Elementary (76-77), St. James School (77-84), Cherokee Middle (84-85) and West High Schools (85-89). He is also a 2000 graduate of University of Wisconsin-Madison with a bachelor’s of science degree in education and holds a certificate in nonprofit management from Harvard Business School.
Prior to One City, Kaleem served as President & CEO of the Urban League of Greater Madison in Madison, WI where he successfully implemented new education and workforce training programs, initiatives and partnerships, and catalyzed the Greater Madison community to address persistent racial disparities in education and employment during his tenure. Prior to the Urban League, Kaleem was co-founder and CEO of Next Generation Education Foundation in Maryland, senior executive and Store Team Leader with Target Corporation, Executive Director of Fight For Children of Washington, DC, and the President and CEO of the Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO). Prior to BAEO, he served as project director with the Wisconsin Center for Academically Talented Youth (WCATY), educational consultant with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and Madison (WI) Metropolitan School District, director of national initiatives with the American Education Reform Council, and a sonar technician in the United State Navy’s Submarine Corps.
Kaleem’s advocacy and efforts inspired the creation of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s PEOPLE Program and its Information Technology Academy, Madison’s Nuestro Mundo Bilingual Charter School and the School of Hope Tutoring Program. He also assisted with the development of the Florida-based Hispanic Council of Reform and Educational Options, DC Public Charter School Association, DC Opportunity Scholarship Program. Additionally, Kaleem led an unprecedented coalition of government, business and education leaders in Washington, DC that won unprecedented legislation and financial support from Congress for improving DC public schools and expanding education options for families through charter schools and the nation’s first federally funded private school scholarship program. Kaleem and his wife Lisa have five children ages 7 to 21 and reside in Madison, Wisconsin.
Marlo Mielke was selected to serve as One City’s founding Center Director in April 2015. She provides the day-to-day leadership of the preschool, which is determined to eliminate Madison’s achievement gap at its core – during a child’s first years of life, and to ensure they are ready to succeed in grade school when they reach kindergarten.
Marlo was raised on Madison’s East side and is a 1990 graduate of Madison East High School. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in education with an emphasis on early childhood and special education from Edgewood College in Madison, and a Master’s degree in School Administration from Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
From August 2012 until June 2015, Marlo served as the director of a nonprofit preschool in Mount Horeb, Wisconsin and worked with the Mount Horeb School District to establish their four-year old kindergarten program. She has more than 20 years experience working with children ages birth to 18, including seven years as the owner and operate of a family childcare business and seven years as a director of group childcare centers. Marlo has also led childcare centers through the rigorous NAEYC Accreditation (National Association for the Education of Young Children) and state childcare licensing.
Sharing her excitement about her new role, Ms. Mielke said, “It is an honor and a privilege to have the opportunity to give back to a community that helped nurture and prepare me for the future. I look forward to the important role One City will play in partnering with parents and the broader community to ensure that our children are reading-ready and eager to learn by kindergarten, and on pace to succeed at grade level when they begin their K-12 journey.” She attended preschool as a toddler in the same preschool facility where One City is located.
Willa Schlecht is a 3rd generation Madisonian; she received her BBA and Masters of Accountancy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Upon graduation Willa worked for SVA, a public accounting firm, in the Tax Department. Willa is the VP of Nonprofit Consulting for Numbers For Nonprofits, LLC. Prior to her current role, Willa served as controller for Agrace HospiceCare, Inc. and for Meriter Health Services. Willa has served on a number of community and health related nonprofit boards. Willa is an alum of LGM (Leadership Greater Madison) 12, a leadership program designed to educate and encourage stewards in our community.
Bridget is a Strategic Human Resources Partner with QTI Human Resources. At QTI Human Resources, she works with established and start-up companies and organizations in various industries to provide stand-alone and integrated human resources services. She provides a broad spectrum of human resources services including executive and management level advising, handbook policy writing and compliance, job classification compliance per wage and hour laws, employee relations involving mediation and investigations and onboarding/off-boarding coordination. She also conducts various Fair Labor Standards Act compliance seminars.
Bridget enjoys assisting clients by providing hands-on human resource services and helping clients in diverse industries and various-sized organizations adapt, grow and succeed. She is certified by the Human Resources Certification Institute as a Senior Professional in Human Resources, certified by the Society for Human Resource Management as a Senior Certified Professional, and holds a bachelor’s degree of science in Management from Cardinal Stritch University.