SouthSide Names New Executive Director


After a lengthy search, including internal, local and national candidates, the Board of Directors of SouthSide Early Childhood Center is very pleased to name Katie Rahn as the new Executive Director.

Ms. Rahn will succeed Anne Kessen Lowell, who led SouthSide’s recent growth, successful capital campaign and construction of a new, state-of-the-art early childhood center in the heart of the City’s Fox Park neighborhood. Kessen Lowell is looking forward to her next opportunity, continuing to work on challenges and inequities facing children, families and neighborhoods in the St. Louis region.

Rahn will become the new Executive Director at SouthSide Early Childhood Center effective March 23, 2015.  She has served as SouthSide’s Center Director for the past five years, during which time she was responsible for overseeing all aspects of the education and early intervention programs, currently recognized as models for early childhood programs throughout the state. She worked closely with Kessen Lowell in the design and planning of the new Center. Rahn holds Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from the University of Missouri and is currently an EdD candidate, anticipating to earn her doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy from University of Missouri, St. Louis in 2016.

Ms. Rahn managed the school’s educational transformation, overseeing the implementation of higher teacher quality and performance standards and creating model partnerships resulting in exceptional outcomes for children with developmental delays. She also created one of the region’s first in-house mentor teacher program in an early childhood setting.

“Katie is an outstanding leader in the early education field. Her innovative and collaborative approach to addressing the issues our children and families face will continue to build on SouthSide’s excellent foundation as the premier early childhood program in the City,” said Amy Moss, SouthSide’s Board President. “Anne’s leadership over the past several years has set the stage for SouthSide to continue its far-reaching and positive impact on our children and families, and on the surrounding neighborhood. We look forward to continued success in our next chapter.”

SouthSide’s new school is located at the corner of Jefferson and Russell avenues, and can accommodate 148 children from infancy to pre-kindergarten. The center’s extensive education and family support programming is funded by Head Start and Early Head Start, the United Way of Greater St. Louis, tuition from families who do not qualify for Head Start funding, and donations from generous individuals, foundations and corporate supporters. At least two-thirds of SouthSide’s students come from families whose annual income, below the Federal poverty guideline, qualifies them for Head Start and Early Head funding. SouthSide invests an additional $6,000 in each child per year to provide its comprehensive educational, early intervention, mental health and family partnership services to these children.

SouthSide was founded in 1886 by fifteen Unitarian women and is the oldest early childhood center in Missouri. SouthSide is a proud member of the United Way of Greater St. Louis, and partners with Grace Hill Settlement House and Youth In Need to provide Head Start and Early Head Start services.

About United Way of Greater St. Louis

The United Way funds nearly 200 health and human service agencies located throughout a 16-county area in Missouri and Illinois.  More than one million people in our bi-state community receive services that strengthen families, help the elderly, keep children healthy and safe, and build stronger neighborhoods.  For more information, contact 314-421-0700 or visit