Blog Post

Fierce Woman Feature – Dr. Evisha Ford

Dr. Evisha Ford, LCSW is a mother, thought leader, and the Founding Executive Director of, the I Can Dream Center a therapeutic school in Illinois that serves neurodiverse learners and their families. Dr. Evisha is the author of the book Benches in the Bathroom: Leading a Physically, Emotionally, and Socially Safe School Culture

Dr. Ford began her career serving inner-city homeless youth in Chicago. She was then recruited by Chicago Public Schools, launching her path in education. She is a former Assistant Superintendent, Director of Special Education, and Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership. With the experience and knowledge she built serving students and staff in CPS, Dr. Ford built a theory of change and knew that the school-to-prison pipeline, especially for neurodivergent and students experiencing trauma and social and emotional issues, had to be changed. As a former k-8 public school board member, I can attest to how broken these systems can be. 

From that vision, she took a leap of faith and launched the iCan Dream Center, which now operates both an early childhood and high school setting in Tinley Park with a team of almost 40 professionals. Dr. Ford recently authored a book called Benches in the Bathroom: Leading a Physically, Emotionally, and Socially Safe School Culture.  As she writes and speaks the focus becomes that we cannot and will not show up for students unless educators are supported – the work of education has changed drastically in the last 25 years and in particular in the last 6 years. Something has to change in the system too or we will continue to see teachers leaving the career in droves or staying and not able to deliver the way they want for kids.  

I literally just met Evisha and her fire and fierceness for changing lives and righting institutions is palpable. For all those of you who I know care deeply about education, equity, and the future of our babies, please learn more about Dr. Ford’s work, and let me know if I can make an introduction to her directly.   


Candance Chow – Founder of NextGroup