Program Staff:

Owner/Director: Simone Gatlin, M.Ed.

As the Owner/Director of Smart Steps Daycare, Simone Gatlin has been in the field of early childcare since 2019 and has always shared a passion for working with young children. Prior to her career as an early childcare professional, Simone held the role of senior compliance officer for risk management in the financial field, providing her with the knowledge and skills in understanding the complexities of operating a business while ensuring regulatory compliance. As a mother herself working in the corporate field, she understood the importance of having a safe and loving learning environment for her own child and often faced challenges firsthand in obtaining adequate early childhood education & care during her time working in the corporate field.

Ms. Simone’s passion and love for young children and their natural learning ability led her to establish her own childcare program in 2019 with the hopes of providing families peace of mind knowing their little one is being cared for as they work to provide for their own families. As a strong advocate for young children and families within the community, Ms. Simone worked tirelessly to obtain a master’s degree in 2022 in the field of education focusing on early childcare administration to equip herself with the skills and knowledge to become a leader in the field, as she worked to provide a continuous high-quality childcare program for the families she serves.

Ms. Simone’s Illinois Professional Development Credentials:

Illinois Director Credential (IDC) 

✔ Early Childhood Education Credential (ECE)

✔Family Childcare Credential (FCC)

✔ Infant/Toddler Credential (ITC) 

In addition to the current credentials held, Ms. Simone is also part of the Birth To Five Illinois Family Council for the Cook County South region and an active member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). As a leader in the early childcare profession, she continues her advocacy work to maintain a strong voice for the needs of young children, families and the community.