Like many great organizations, Crystal Stairs began with a simple premise: change is possible. As a professor at UCLA, Dr. Karen Hill-Scott wanted to create an organization that would provide service to the community, service that would have a measurable impact. In 1978, as Research Director for the Joint Center for Community Studies, she received a three-year federal research grant to study the effects of different types of child care on family functioning. Dr. Hill-Scott then brought her trusted friend Alice Walker Duff on board, and the seeds of Crystal Stairs were sown.
Crystal Stairs started in 1980 with two programs, Child Care Resource & Referral and the Child Care Food Program. Over the years, legislation, funding, opportunity and creative management fostered new programs.
In November 2010, Jackie B. Majors, our Chief Program Officer, became our Chief Executive Officer, bringing her expertise in early childhood education to our mission and vision. Ms. Majors commitment to the well-being of children and families ensure a strong and continuing dedication to the Crystal Stairs' vision
Karen Hill-Scott, Ed.D.
Co-Founder and Founding Executive Director
Dr. Karen Hill-Scott, a member of the Crystal Stairs Board of Directors, is a nationally recognized expert in child care and development. Her career has blended university teaching, research and policy analysis, and extensive service to the community.
At Crystal Stairs, Dr. Hill-Scott is best known for her work in creating the agency and seeding the values, corporate culture and service models that continue to this day. When she left the post of Executive Director in 1993, she began a consulting career that has managed projects in worksite child care, public policy analysis, and children’s television programming. Her clients range from TRW’s Space and Defense sector to Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel, both premier children’s television networks.
In addition to her consulting work in children’s television, Hill-Scott still maintains an active teaching and lecture schedule. She has civic and public service commitments, currently serving on the boards of the Foundation for Child Development and the Commission to Re-Invent Accreditation for Early Childhood Programs as well as Crystal Stairs. Hill-Scott is currently Chair of the California Master Plan for School Readiness and was Co-Chair of the State of California Universal Preschool Task Force.
Alice Walker Duff, Ph.D.
Co-Founder and Past President
Dr. Alice Walker Duff is Co-Founder of Crystal Stairs. For over three decades, Dr. Duff has applied her skills in the fields of education, civil rights, arts, child care and public policy. Dr. Duff served as commissioner on the groundbreaking, nine-member Los Angeles County Children and Family First – Proposition 10 Commission, as past president of the California Child Care Resource and Referral Network, and as a board member of the Center for the Child Care Work Force.
Dr. Duff has received several prestigious honors including the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Martin Luther King Legacy Association “Rosa Parks Award,” for her service to children and families; the HAL “Unsung Hero Award;” and the Los Angeles County Commission for Women’s 16th Annual Women of the Year Award – 2nd District. She was also named the 1995 Hunger Fighter of the Year by the California Hunger Action Coalition. In 2002, she received an honorary Doctorate from her alma mater, Occidental College.
As a student activist, an active parent in the Los Angeles Unified School District, and a founding member of the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission, Dr. Duff demonstrated her beliefs about community service. She has had a leadership role in establishing many continuing organizations, including the Occidental College Black Alumni, the UCLA Black Graduate Students Association, the Family Circle of the Lula Washington Contemporary Dance Foundation, and the United California Child Care Campaign. She has served many established national organizations such as the National Black Child Development Institute, the National Association for the Education of Young Children, and the NAACP through their local affiliates.
Dr. Duff received her B.A. in Sociology from Occidental College, her M.A. in Sociology of Education from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and her Ph.D. in Urban Planning: Social Development Policy, School of Architecture and Urban Planning from UCLA.
Jackie B. Majors
Chief Executive Officer
As Crystal Stairs CEO, Jackie brings a wealth of experience, a commitment to forward-thinking approaches to business development and social enterprise, and organizational continuity to the agency.
Ms. Majors brings more than 20 years of professional and instructional experience in early care and education to her role as Chief Programs Officer for Crystal Stairs. As a member of the agencys executive management team, she has overseen Child Care Subsidy, Resource and Referral, Childrens Health & Wellness programs and the SAGE Childrens Center.
Before joining Crystal Stairs, Ms. Majors was Chief Program Officer for a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving the greater Los Angeles community, providing programs to low-income, first generation high school students with dreams of going to college. Prior to that, she served as the Senior Vice President for a nation-wide child care organization where, for over 15 years she was responsible for the management of program operations for over 200 child care centers and before and after school programs in California.
Understanding the critical need for higher quality child care standards and enhanced early childhood professional development, Ms. Majors has also dedicated 13 years as an adjunct instructor in the child development department at West Los Angeles College.
Ms. Majors holds a Masters of Arts degree in Educational Administration from Pepperdine University, a Bachelors of Arts degree in Child Development from California State University, Northridge. She has served as an active member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children and has been a featured speaker and presenter at several early care and education conferences and workshops.
Ms Majors lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two school age daughters. As a native of Los Angeles, Ms Majors is keenly aware of the challenges faced by the families in our community. It is this awareness that propels her commitment to ensure that all young children have a positive early start.