Margarita was instrumental in designing and facilitating training for child care providers across New York City.

The Institute mourns the recent passing of our colleague Margarita Feliz, a member of our coaching team with deep roots in early care and learning. Margarita was instrumental in designing and facilitating training for child care providers across New York City. Her approach was informed by many years of caring work with family child care providers. She was a thoughtful partner who was deeply knowledgeable about and invested in providers’ learning, confidence, and sense of accomplishment.

Margarita — who often went by her nickname, Maggie — was a member of the early childhood profession for more than 25 years as a parent counselor, a policy analyst, a trainer, a coach and a leader. After first joining the Institute in 2008 as a trainer with the Informal Family Child Care Project, she went on to work in early childhood organizations and agencies across New York City, including the Administration for Children’s Services, the New York City Department of Education, the Day Care Council of New York, Tops for You and the Marc Academy Family Child Care Network. Margarita was the first person to hold the title of Family Child Care Coordinator for the NYC Administration for Children’s Services. In her newly developed role, she led program management reviews and support for 30 NYC family child care networks and approximately 1,600 family child care providers.

Margarita returned to the Institute in the fall of 2022 as a member of the Early Childhood Leadership Initiative team who facilitated communities of practice and provided leadership coaching. The following year, Margarita joined the QUALITYstarsNY team as a program quality coach, supporting QUALITYstarsNY programs in the Bronx and in upstate New York. 

Margarita’s heart was always with family child care providers. When determining caseload assignments with her team last fall, Margarita enthusiastically declared, “I have a soft spot for family child care, so give them all to me!” In such a short period of time, Margarita’s compassion and care for people had a profound impact on her coachees and the programs she supported. When the leaders at her programs found out that she would be stepping away from work to focus on her health, they all responded with support and gratitude. Her coaching interactions were filled with genuine care, connection, and mutual respect. 

Margarita described herself as an “authentic, bilingual, reflective leader” who “found true joy in helping others become better at their practice.”

Margarita consistently exuded peace, grace, kindness, and tranquility. She had a unique ability to help everyone with whom she interacted, both personally and professionally, feel wiser, stronger, and more capable and at ease. 

Margarita passed away on June 26, 2024, after a 14-year battle with cancer, at the age of 49. She is survived by her husband Willy and her two children, Paloma and William. We will miss Margarita deeply. 

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