Goedele De Nil is the new director of VBJK

From 1 September 2022 onwards, Goedele De Nil will be the new director of VBJK, the Centre for Innovation in the Early Years. For more than 30 years, at the crossroads of research, policy and practice, VBJK has been working on high quality ECEC services in Early Childhood Education and Care.

Goedele De Nil studied orthopedagogy and clinical psychology and started her career in youth care. She worked for seventeen years at HOGENT, a university college in Ghent. In addition to being a lecturer, in subjects such as psychology and family support, she was also the programme director of the Bachelor of Orthopedagogy department. Together with her colleagues, she designed curricula, worked on quality improvement, and co-developed a new strategic plan for HOGENT. She also completed a postgraduate degree in Public and Social Profit Management at the Antwerp Management School (AMS), and a one-year course in Narrative Therapy. She is an enthusiastic mother of two teenagers, an avid cloth collecto,r and a creative seamstress. An admirer of art in all its forms, she fully enjoys beautiful things around her.

Goedele De Nil: 'My contact with young people, their families, and their network has helped to shape me into the person I am today. I am strongly involved and committed. Seeking and developing good practices at both societal and organizational levels is a major drive in my work. Being able to realize that, together with a strong team is my preferred way of working. In recent years I have been able to explore many facets of higher education. I gradually felt the need to gain experience closer to the world of work, and to realize an impact in an organization that is also active in the world of young children, where we can change so much for the better.

That’s why I love starting to work for VBJK. It is a high-quality organization with a highly-esteemed voice in the field. Policy, practice, and research come together at VBJK. Children, parents and professionals are at the heart of it all. VBJK keeps the finger on the pulse of the world of childcare and early childhood education thanks to the magazine Kindertijd, the magazine for and from ECEC professionals. VBJK has a strong team, all committed experts who dare to face challenges. It gives me energy to be able to work in an innovative and agile structure where quality comes first. I also like to put my teeth into innovative projects, with a lot of drive and from a positive perspective. As a director, but also as an outspoken team player, I want to combine creative joint thinking and the focus on innovation. Working together from a shared view and connecting beyond the walls of the organization is inspiring and creates opportunities. I am looking forward to work together with VBJK’s international network, in order to invest in high quality ECEC.'

Michel Vandenbroeck, chairman of the board of VBJK, is pleased with the new director: 'I got to know Goedele De Nil as a passionate teacher and training manager. She is a good listener, but also asks critical questions and can think outside the box. She brings in a lot of expertise, with which she is going to support and challenge us. Thanks in part to the experience of the current team, VBJK will be in safe hands.”