Why do we host the VAHSA Annual Conference?
VAHSA’s annual conference is our largest attended conference, typically with 500 people, serving in all roles in Head Start. This signature conference focuses on bringing our community a fun and engaging learning experience to support all Head Start service areas. From Head Start parents on Policy Council, to instructional staff, to family service workers, to mental health and health professionals, to finance and human resources roles, to directors and all leadership staff; our annual conference provides an interactive, hands-on learning approach, surely for all Head Start staff. Our time together is also rich with networking opportunities and discussion and is looked forward to every year.
A 2.5 day institute providing the following learning formats:
In-person at the Hotel Madison in Harrisonburg, VA
Book your room for $119/night under out room block.
Tuesday, October 24- Thursday, October 26, 2023
Registration Fee is $450.00/person
Includes: 3 Breakfasts and 2 Lunches.
Please note: Day 3 of conference concludes before lunch, therefore, a 1/2 day.
Deadline to book rooms =
FRIDAY Sept. 22nd.
Registration Fee is $450.00/person and Includes: 3 Breakfasts and 2 Lunches.
Please note: Day 3 of conference concludes before lunch, therefore, a 1/2 day.
Lillian Hubler and Dr Michael S. Hubler: Time to Sign
Mrs. Lillian I. Hubler
President, Time to Sign
Mrs. Lillian I. Hubler is the Founder and President of Time to Sign, Inc. The foremost sign language trainer of young children’s educators, with having trained more than 125,000 educators nationwide. She is a dynamic presenter whose presentations are educational best practices, engaging, and fun. Lillian brings sign language into life for visual learning, social and emotional readiness, and classroom & behavior management best practices. Her methods are being used in over 3800 schools nationwide.
Dr. Michael S. Hubler
Executive Director & Early Childhood Social – Emotional Development Specialist, Time to Sign
Dr. Michael S. Hubler earned his doctorate of education degree from Regent University and his masters of administration degree from Radford University, where he was a graduate teaching fellow. He has earned many prestigious awards in providing educational and service programs to youth, including: organization of the year, citizen of the year, White House and U.S. Congressional recognition, and outstanding minority education facility for the state of Florida. He has published over 40 books as the Vice President of Time to Sign in charge of Research, Training, and Curriculum Development. His doctoral specialization is the Social and Emotional Learning of Young Children and how it relates to learning and school readiness.
Mrs. Freda Carter
Mrs. Freda Carter has over 20 years’ experience consulting in all 12 Head Start regions and has traveled to over 40 states on her quest to assist programs and observe children in their learning environments. Her nickname in the business is: “Eagle Eye Carter”, and a recent Head Start Director stated: “Ms. Carter is a legend”. Mrs. Carter started her career as a volunteer in Head Start (HS) and Early Head Start (EHS) in 2001, with a program who served over 1000 Head Start and Early Head Start children and worked with their staff of seven registered nurses who worked with the program’s expectant mothers. Her volunteering career started her path working with HS, EHS, and the community, and her passion is to continue to make a positive impact within the communities served by the Head Start programs.
As a young child, Mrs. Carter grew up in the foster care system and knows and understands the challenges facing young children. Her services areas include but are not limited to how to monitor children safely in their learning environments and addressing a continuing emerging concern, challenging behaviors, in Early and Head Start. The pandemic has placed additional stressors on the children and families and many children were left with their own devices to adapt to more abuse while sheltering in place at home. Mrs. Carter has been working with programs for years on proactive strategies to redirect children and training staff on how to implement these approaches for effective class management.
Malkia is the Director of Alumni Engagement at the National Head Start Association (NHSA). Before joining NHSA, she spent almost 25 years in employee communications and leadership development, supporting strategy and engagement initiatives for some of the world’s largest corporations.
Her previous work included leading roles in developing award-winning, narrative-based communications and coaching business leaders during large-scale changes impacting thousands of employees.
Malkia thrives on demonstrating the power of authenticity and experiences rooted in mission and purpose. She is honored to amplify the stories of alums to show the transformative power of the Head Start model.
Malkia sees her current role as, ‘the opportunity to come home.’ As a preschooler, she proudly attended Head Start in Cambridge, MA, and holds a B.A. in Communication from Rutgers University. She currently lives in the Greater Philadelphia region with her husband, three ‘adulting’ children, a dog, and a couple of fish that she barely remembers exist.
Dr. Kimberly Austin : Literacy Routines for Everyday: Maximizing Moments to Ignite Children’s Literacy
Kimberly Austin is a Professor of Early Childhood Development at a rural community college. Areas of expertise include language and literacy in rural communities and supporting the early childhood workforce.
Preston Blackburn : Movement Powers Learning
Preston Blackburn has never been one to sit still. For 20 years, through her company Pop, Hop & Rock™, she has been designing curricula and delivering youth physical activity programs to rave reviews and big smiles. Through her company Pivot to Play™, Preston regularly shares her philosophy on the value of play to a child’s social, emotional, behavioral, and cognitive development at conferences (NAEYC, VAAEYC, LAEYC, SECA, US Play Coalition to name a few), through professional development in schools, and with interviews and articles (Community Playthings, Katie Couric Media, Playground Professionals, Genius of Play, Richmond Times Dispatch, Play with a Purpose, for example). Preston’s mission is to change the way we, as a culture, value play by sharing her philosophy and proof that Fun is Smart®. Her standing-room-only presentations have been called fun, engaging, exciting and thought-provoking.
Jaime Brinkman : Building a Framework for Personalized Professional Learning
Jaime Brinkman has over 25 years of experience in public education and has worked with students from PreK to adults. Prior to being in her current role as an Instructional Development Coordinator for Early Learning Preschool, she worked as a classroom teacher, reading specialist, and division literacy coach. During her time as a classroom teacher, she also attended the University of Virginia (UVA) and graduated with a Master of Education in reading. Jaime then continued her education at Longwood University and completed her post master’s endorsement in administration and supervision. Highlights of her career include being a winner of the Barnes & Noble My Favorite Teacher contest, Adjunct Faculty at UVA, finalist for Henrico County Teacher of the Year, Virginia Commonwealth University Clinical Faculty, and her methods being featured in the book Raising Our Children to Be Resilient by Dr. Linda Goldman.
Dr. El Brown : Mama Bear: Engaging Families of Young Children with Disabilities
Dr. El Brown is family engagement strategist and faculty member in the Early Childhood Education Master of Arts in Teaching Program at American University. Early in her career, El served as an Elementary and Early Childhood educator in the United States, Japan, and South Korea. Upon her return to the US, El founded KinderJam, an Early Childhood Education care, enrichment, and training agency that has serviced young children and their families, globally.
Freda Carter : More Strategies to Minimize Challenging Behaviors
Mrs. Freda Carter has over 20 years’ experience consulting in all 12 Head Start regions and has traveled to over 40 states on her quest to assist programs and observe children in their learning environments. Mrs. Carter started her career as a volunteer in E/HS in 2001, with a program who served over 1000 Head Start and Early Head Start children and expectant mothers, which led her passion to continue to make a positive impact within the communities served by the Head Start programs. As a young child, Mrs. Carter grew up in the foster care system and understands the challenges facing young children. The pandemic has placed additional stressors on the children and families and many children were left with their own devices to adapt to more abuse while sheltering in place at home. Mrs. Carter has been working with programs for years on proactive strategies to redirect children and training staff on how to implement these approaches for effective class management.
Keith Cartwright : ACES and Relational Health
Keith Cartwright is the Adverse Childhood Experiences Coordinator for the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services. In this role, Keith has led an effort to train 450 ACE Interface presenters across the state. Through their presentations, over 100,000 Virginians have become more aware of the connection between early childhood experiences and life-long health and wellness. Keith is also the part-time Alcohol and Drug Education Coordinator at Randolph-Macon College.
Emily Chase : Infants and Toddlers: Playing Outside the Box
Emily Chase is an Infant and Toddler Specialist for Ready Region West. She was an early childhood educator for over a decade and most recently served as the Virginia Quality Technical Assistance Specialist for Central VA. Emily received her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education (Pre-K to 6) from Mary Baldwin University and her Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Special Education (Birth to 5) from James Madison University. She is an advocate for early childhood education and believes that by teaching young children empathy and social/emotional skills, it translates into later academic success. As an Infant and Toddler Specialist, she is passionate about coaching, mentoring, and training providers on quality early learning and its importance due to rapid brain develop from ages birth to 3 years.
Lynn Black : Sprouting Success with Incorporating Agriculture in the Classroom
Dr. Pamela Cobler : Effective Teaching for both the Group and Individual
Dr. Pam Cobler is a former Early Childhood Educator and Administrator. She has taught in public schools, summer schools, early childhood education programs at the community college level, and she has tutored reading and writing at elementary and middle school grade levels. Pam has an undergraduate degree in Early Childhood Education, a Master’s Degree in Curriculum & Instruction, and a Doctorate Degree in Education Administration. In 2001, she sustained a spinal cord injury and has utilized life experiences, turning tragedy to triumph, to launch her Kuddle Kitty Children’s books and products in 2021. In her writings and books, Pam emphasizes relevant life topics which are told in playful, thoughtful stories and characters for children of all ages. She has shared her messages in schools, classrooms, libraries, Sunday Schools, and other organizations, businesses, reading festivals, and agencies who serve children. Participants will be motivated to lay a solid foundation, brick upon brick, to secure the success of the child’s language arts learning pathway.
Heidi Condrey : Conscious Discipline: An Introduction
Heidi Condrey is a Conscious Discipline Certified Instructor who is passionate about sharing the Conscious Discipline message with others. Heidi has worked in the field of early childhood education for over twenty years. A state licensed teacher, Heidi holds a Master’s Degree in Education with a specialization in Teacher Leadership. Her career has centered around early childhood education and the empowerment of both children and their families.
Dr. Myra Crouch : Understanding Emergent Literacy and Why It Matters in School Readiness
Dr. Myra Crouch brings a wealth of 25 years’ experience as an early childhood administrator and researcher in capacities ranging from Senior Director, Chief Program Officer and Head Start Administrator. She was a member of the Head Start Training and Technical Assistance Network at the federal level aimed at assisting local programs with improving the quality of early childhood. She is a former Head Start Administrator for the Head Start and Early Head Start programs at the Office for Children in Fairfax County, VA. She is certified in Practice-based Coaching, Time To Teach©, and a certified CLASS Observer in Infant, Toddler and PreK CLASS. Myra, as an independent consultant supports Ready Regions with the VQB5 initiative.
Dr. Leslie Floyd : When You Just Have to Roar! Supporting Social Emotional Development and Self-Regulation of Young Children
Dr. Leslie Floyd is the Chair of Early Childhood Education and an Associate Professor for Bluefield University. She has served as a Preschool Teacher and Monitoring and Compliance Coordinator for Early Head Start Partnerships for Total Action for Progress’ Head Start/Early Head Start Program, as the Virginia Infant and Toddler Specialist for United Way of the Roanoke Valley’s Early Learning Strategies, and the Virginia Infant and Toddler Mental Health Consultant for the Piedmont and Southside region for Child Development Resources. She is also the President of the Piedmont Chapter of the Virginia Association for the Education of Young Children. Leslie received her Bachelor’s degree in Human Development from Radford University, and her Master’s degree from Arizona State University in Human Development and Family Studies and is currently completing her Doctorate in Education with a concentration in Early Childhood Education.
Lucia Gibson : Creating Playful Environments, starting with Infants and Toddlers
Lucia Gibson is an Infant and Toddler Specialist for the Early Learning Strategies team at United Way of Roanoke Valley. Her educational background is in Early Childhood/Psychology. Lucia has worked with infants and toddlers in both a center base and home setting, preschool age children in private schools, service coordination in Early Intervention, ID/MH services as well Foster Care Case Management and Recruitment.
Kisha Goodfield : Time Together: Promoting Attachment and Positive Interactions for Social-Emotional Development
Kisha Burchard-Goodfield is a retired Special Education Teacher from Long Island, NY. Her work experience includes years of teaching Early Intervention and SPED Preschool across home, center and community settings. Kisha’s career focus includes educational and therapeutic services for students with Autism, their teaching adults and families. She ran a small private practice as an Interventionist offering special instruction, training, coaching and technical assistance around challenging behaviors. She has been part of both intensive in-home therapy and applied behavior analytic teams. Kisha’s passion for ECE and the importance of Relational Health has brought her to Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation. Currently, she is our Eastern Region’s Behavior Consultant providing services for infants, toddlers and those who care for them. Kisha works with Virginia’s Infant and Toddler Specialist Network for Child Development Resources.
Dr. Jaye Harvey : Strategies for Successful Staff Meetings
Dr. Jaye Harvey is the State Coordinator for PD Essentials, Virginia’s organization preparing early childhood professional development providers. In addition, she serves as a trainer and consultant for the Virginia Department of Education and Child Care Aware of Virginia. She has been fortunate to serve in a variety of positions including as preschool supervisor for Roanoke City Public Schools, as Associate Professor of Early Childhood Special Education at Radford University, as the specialist in early childhood special education at the Virginia Department of Education, and as director of the laboratory/demonstration preschool at the University of Memphis. Jaye is passionate about blending the worlds of early childhood education and early childhood special education and preparing highly skilled early childhood practitioners at the preservice and in-service levels.
Dr. Jocelyn Henry-Whitehead : Building Positive Family Partnerships and Connecting with Early Learners
Dr. Jocelyn Henry-Whitehead received a Bachelor of Science degree and a Post-Master’s Certificate in Education from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. Her Master’s degree, her Educational Specialist degree, and her doctorate in Higher Education are all from The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. Over the years, Jocelyn has been a Baltimore City police officer, a museum educator, an early childhood/elementary educator, an adjunct professor, an assistant principal, and a Head Start director. As a volunteer, she has also served as a harpist in religious, medical, behavioral health, convalescing, palliative care, and hospice settings. Currently, Jocelyn is walking in her calling as a musician, telling her story, and as a PreK teacher serving preschoolers and their families.
Rashanda Jenkins : Head Start as a Maternal Health Intervention
Rashanda Jenkins has served the HS/EHS community for 13 over years. Rashanda joined the TTA Network in 2019 as a Health Specialist. As the Health Specialist, she supports recipients with individualized TTA in areas such as safe and healthy learning environments; new health leadership and orientation; emergency preparedness; ongoing monitoring and quality improvement systems; and data monitoring and tracking. In her previous roles, while working at a recipient program, she analyzed and used multiple program datasets to make informed decisions for program operations, ongoing monitoring, and quality improvement. Rashanda provided resources and information on health-related topics and supported states in developing and strengthening state health manager networks. This wide-ranging experience with building organizational capacity and management systems enables her to provide TTA in specialty areas of data analysis, health and safety, and group facilitation and presentation.
Raj Kapur : Grow the Programs and Organization: Communication and Teamwork is the Key to Success!
As an Executive/Leadership Coach, Raj believes in building World Class “Super Leaders,” One Executive at a time. Raj is an Award-winning C-suite leader and certified executive and leadership coach who has built, developed and led large, globally-competitive teams, provided transformational coaching to maximize productivity, improve staff morale, and inculcate powerful leadership skills — experience in for-profit and non-profit sectors. Raj received his Master’s in Business Administration from Dowling College in Long Island, New York. He is a sought-after speaker, online educator, and consultant for top leaders. Raj is the co-author of the book “The Successful Mind.” Raj has been a Keynote Speaker, speaking about mindset, and has his podcast “Guidance to Wealth with Raj Kapur.”
Dr. Kara Kavanagh : Disrupting Microaggressions in Early and Elementary Classrooms
Dr. Kara M. Kavanagh is an Associate Professor in the Department of Early, Elementary, and Reading Education at James Madison University. She is the current Chair of the College of Education’s Diversity Council. Her teaching, research, and service are focused on the micropolitical contexts of schools, policies, and reforms that harm schools, and social justice-oriented teacher education. She has extensive experience working alongside families, communities, and educators as they work for more equitable education contexts for marginalized students.
Leslie LaCroix : Literacy Routines for Everyday: Maximizing Moments to Ignite Children’s Literacy
Leslie LaCroix is an Assistant Professor of Education at a large, public university in a metropolitan area. Areas of expertise include assessment and early literacy practices for early childhood educators.
Mariel Lewis : Collaborating with Families to Address Challenging Behaviors
Mariel Lewis is an Infant Toddler Specialist working out of the Ready Kids office in Charlottesville, VA. Mariel has worked in the field of Early Childhood Education for the last 28 years. Mariel has experience as a teacher, director and Licensed Family Day Homeowner as well as a Head Start Teacher. Head Start has a very special place in her heart not only for the tremendous work it does to prepare children for school and life, but also the place where her and her husband met as teachers over 20 years ago.
Mandy Lloyd : Teaching Toddlers Social Skills with Conscious Discipline
Mandy Lloyd has 20 years of experience in the field of Early Childhood Education. After graduating from Virginia Tech with a degree in Human Development, she began working at a childcare center. After teaching in the 4-year-old classroom for several years, she then worked as the director for about 7 years before transitioning to working from home. She has been a Conscious Discipline Certified Instructor since 2007 and enjoys sharing presentations with teachers and parents throughout the Northern Virginia area and beyond. Currently she is the Operations Manager for Mission Delivery with Conscious Discipline.
Dr. Smita Mathur : Character Building in Young Children: What Does Play Have to Do With it?
Smita Mathur, Professor, teaches a course on Character Development to pre-service teachers of elementary-aged children. Smita is the past president of The Association for the Study of Play and a member of the International Play Association. She is the editor of Play Policy & Practice Connections – an online international journal associated with the Play Interest Group of NAEYC.
Alex McPherson : Virginia’s Unified Early Childhood System
Alexandra McPherson is the Associate Director of Early Childhood Access and Enrollment at the Virginia Department of Education. In this role, Alex supports efforts to expand access and family choice to high-quality publicly funded early childhood programs across Virginia’s unified early childhood system. Alex oversees activities associated with coordinated enrollment processes in the early childhood system, including supporting relationship-building at the state and local level, with a focus on application and enrollment processes in the Child Care Subsidy Program. Alex has also closely supported the agency’s work to pilot cost-based payment structures in private child care programs and pilot a new Early Childhood Navigator model to increase the supply of publicly-funded early childhood care and education providers in the Commonwealth.
Tiffanie Meehling : VDOE Coordinated Preschool Enrollment
Tiffanie Meehling joined the Virginia Department of Education in August 2020, initially as an Early Childhood Specialist working in PreK Programs and now as the Associate Director of PreK Programs. She came to Virginia from Denver Public School in Colorado, where she served as the supervisor of Early Childhood Special Education. Tiffanie has worked in early education for over 15 years. She has taught both general education and special education. Tiffanie has a B.A. degree in Psychology and Criminology from Norwich University, a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Special Education from the University of Colorado, and an Education Specialist Degree in Educational Leadership and Special Education Administration from the University of Northern Colorado. She is passionate about education equity, inclusion, and access.
Dr. Joi Merritt : Supporting Inclusive Teaching in Divisive Times
Dr. Joi DeShawn Merritt is an Associate Professor at James Madison University and is academic unit head of the Early, Elementary and Reading Education department. She served as chair of the College of Education Diversity Council. The Diversity Council’s Sub-Committee on Issues in the Field are faculty members who work together to develop workshops to navigate, challenge, and interrupt these issues facing our students and their current and future P-12 youth and families.
Kris Meyers and Taundwa Jeffries : VQB5 Practice Year 2 Results and Next Steps for Unified Measurement and Improvement
Both Kris Meyers and Taundwa Jeffries are from Virginia Department of Education, Division of Early Childhood Care and Education.
Sarah Miller : Literacy Routines for Everyday: Maximizing Moments to Ignite Children’s Literacy
Sara Miller is an Associate Professor of Education at a small, public university in a rural area. Areas of expertise include early literacy instruction, trauma-informed teaching, and culturally responsive classroom management.
Jamie Morris : Building Relationships with Children
Jamie Morris is an Infant and Toddler Specialist for the Virginia Infant and Toddler Specialist Network. She supports early childhood educators by providing on-site services including individualized consultation, targeted training, classroom focused mentoring, and feedback. Jamie has worked directly with children and families for over 20 years in her role as Teacher, Director and Trainer.
Dr. Brian Mowry : Put More “M” In Preschool STEM: Purposeful Integration of Mathematics in Engineering
Dr. Brian Mowry serves as the Director of Content for Professional Learning at Frog Street and is the senior author of the Frog Street Pre-K Mathematics Program. Brian has co-authored other scholarly articles and texts, including Rigorous DAP in the Early Years: From Theory to Practice. He served 25 years in the Austin Independent School District in Texas as a former bilingual preschool and kindergarten teacher as well as a district-level mathematics and early childhood specialist. During this time, he was a Teacher of the Year recipient and was awarded the AAEYC Teacher Educator of the Year in 2011. He earned his doctorate at the University of Texas with an emphasis on early childhood education. Brian has presented at numerous state and national conferences, including NAEYC and NCTM.
Richelle Newlin : Story Strategies
Richelle Newlin is an experienced early childhood educator with twenty-eight years teaching in Head Start. She is an education coordinator, Certified Pre-K CLASS Observer, Certified HIghScope Trainer, coach, mentor and coordinator.
Ashley Pearce: Smile and Mean It
Ashley Pearce is an Infant and Toddler Specialist with over 10+ years of experience as a teacher, Director, and mentor in early childcare. Ashley has worked in Infant/Toddler care, what she calls her “bread and butter,” for over 5 years and has helped children have sure-fire success in their emotional, cognitive and gross motor development. Ashley has a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications and is currently pursuing an Associates degree in Early Childhood Education.
Liz Pettit : Every Interaction Counts: Science Behind How Conversations Build Brains
Liz Pettit is Senior Product Manager at LENA, focused on creating data-focused professional development for teachers. For the past 15 years, Liz has been passionate about supporting language and literacy development in early childhood. Over the years she has developed literacy curricula, worked on grants measuring the impact of interaction on development, and developed professional development that empowers early educators. Liz holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia.
Jane Plum : Help Children Succeed with Meaningful Classroom Jobs
Jane Plum shares her passion for creating a Conscious Discipline School Family™ where all children and adults feel safe and connected. She has been a Conscious Discipline Certified Instructor since 2015. In her career in education, she has taught high school, adults, and preschool. When teaching Early Childhood Careers in a high school, she partnered with a Head Start class. Jane recently retired from her position of 15 years as Director of a NAEYC accredited preschool. She holds a B.S. and M.S. from Virginia Tech.
Joe Preece : Supporting Children’s Social and Emotional Well Being
Joe Preece has 23 year’s experience in the Head Start/Early Head Start community. Joe worked in a local program for 8 years as a Family and Community Partnership Specialist and Infant and Toddler Specialist before moving into the Head Start Training and Technical Assistance (TTA) system. While in the TTA system Joe has conducted numerous trainings around the country on a myriad of early childhood topics. He also served as chair of the 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 Birth to Three Institute national conferences while at the Early Head Start National Resource Center. Currently, Joe is an Early Childhood Specialist with ICF providing expert training and technical assistance to Head Start programs in West Virginia and Virginia. He has a Bachelor of Social Work and BA in Early Childhood Education from Concord University, a MS in Strategic Leadership from Mountain State University, and an ED.S in Educational Leadership from Liberty University.
Navia Quan : Making a Difference Through Early Interactions
Navia Quan is an Infant and Toddler Specialist for the Central region, based at ChildSavers. She has over 12 years of experience in Early Childhood Education. She has served as a program leader for quality-focused, licensed programs that serve children from birth to twelve years old. She is especially passionate about curriculum implementation and supporting staff to use these materials with fidelity. 8+ years of her ECE experience involved providing direct care to infants and toddlers and using milestones and evidence-based practices to guide experiences and interactions with children. She is currently Infant and Toddler CLASS certified and has been TTT- certified to support the usage of the Streamin3 curriculum.
Jinelle Reynolds : Coparenting for Third Parties
Jinelle Reynolds is a Virginia Headstart parent, Headstart Mallory Center Parent Liaison, and present Headstart Peninsula Policy Council President. She attended Old Dominion University to obtain a double major in Sociology and Criminal Justice with a minor in child’s rights. In October 2021, she created For the Love of Children Consulting, in order to fill the educational gap blended families, experience and do so in an affordable manner. Presently, she provides free webinars, free coparent support groups, and coparenting consultations to the community.
Dr. Rebecca Reynolds : Creating a Culturally Relevant Classroom
Dr. Rebecca Reynolds is a compassionate education advocate. She advocates for multi-cultural, non-biased education, that creates social-emotionally safe environments for children and educators. She is affiliated with Concordia University Chicago and the International Preschool Curriculum (IPC). She is an author of Reynolds’ Provisions curriculum, an international teacher educator, and continues to research and use that research to improve the lives of educators and students..
Karen Rucker : Behind the Scenes: Examining How Adults Contribute to Children’s Challenging Behaviors
Karen Rucker has more than 35 years’ experience in early care and education, having held multiple roles as early childhood consultant/technical assistant, teacher, director, education coordinator, trainer, mentor, and multi-site manager in a variety of educational settings including urban, suburban, for-profit, non-profit, government-sponsored, and a university law school; in centers small and large, including start-ups and fixups. Along the way, Karen has led three childcare centers to NAEYC accreditation: a national hallmark of quality in early childhood education.
Lesley Sanchez : Infant & Toddler Brain Development and Communication
Lesley Sanchez has worked with children for over 20 years. She worked with Early Head Start/Head Start for about 10 years and gained most of her experience with infants and toddlers during her time in a Head Start program. Lesley now works with the Virginia Infant and Toddler Specialist Network as a Behavior Consultant for the Piedmont Region. She is CLASS certified, and trained in ASQ-3, ASQSE-2, TPITOS, and has a bachelor’s degree in early childhood development from Bluefield University.
Erin Saxon : Building Self-Determination in Preschool: Yes We Can!
Erin Saxon is an educational specialist at the TTAC ODU. The scope of Erin’s work includes providing training and technical assistance across VDOE Superintendent’s Study Regions 2 and 3 in the areas of early childhood special education and early literacy. She joined TTAC ODU with experience as an early childhood special education teacher and as a division wide ECSE teacher specialist. In addition to her role with TTAC, Erin is an adjunct instructor for the Department of Communication Disorders and Special Education at ODU. She is encouraged by collaborative efforts within the field that aim to improve outcomes for children and students with disabilities.
Christine Schull : Literacy Routines for Everyday: Maximizing Moments to Ignite Children’s Literacy
Christine Schull is a Professor of Early Childhood Development at a large, multi-campus community college in an urban/suburban area. Areas of expertise include working with early educators who support multilingual children and developing pathways for early childhood educators.
Lauren Small : Building World Class Culture as a Recruitment Tool for Staff
Lauren Small, MBA, has been an entrepreneur educator and business coach for over 30 years. She is the CEO and founder of Early Education Business Consultants (EEBC)—an innovative firm she conceived after noticing a serious gap in the preschool/childcare industry. Lauren has consulted with several hundred early childhood programs, both nationally and in her community of Hampton Roads, Virginia. In 2010, Lauren launched the Early Education Business Program—an eight-part course that encourages and trains early childhood businesses on best practices. Lauren is Virginia Small Business Development Center (SBDC) state childcare expert, and in 2014, the Hampton Roads SBDC won the national Small Business Administration’s “Small Business Development Center Excellence and Innovation Center” Award because of Lauren’s groundbreaking work. Most notably, she presented her early education business training program at the “Transforming Local Government” national conference in 2013, and at the 2015 and 2016 SBDC national conferences.
Karla Sprouse : Using CLASS for Quality Improvement: Designing an Effective Path Forward
Karla Sprouse is an Early Childhood Specialist with ICF who has been working with young children since 1989 and with Head Start/Early Head Start since 2004. She has been an Infant Toddler Specialist, a teacher, a family consultant, a Center Director, an Education and Disabilities Coordinator, and the Director of an Early Head Start program in Virginia. Throughout her career, Karla has been successful in promoting collaborative efforts to increase quality education for young children both in her community and across the state. Karla holds her Masters of Teaching and Learning: Early Childhood from Liberty University, her Bachelor’s degree in Human Services: Management, her Associate Degree in Early Childhood Development, and she is a 2013 graduate of the UCLA/Johnson & Johnson Head Start Management Fellows Program.
Dr. Ali Temple: The Forgotten Senses: The Importance of Proprioceptive and Vestibular Sensory Input on Self-Regulation
Dr. Ali Temple, OTR/L graduated with her doctorate in occupational therapy from Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences (Mary Baldwin University) in May of 2018. Ali founded First Priority Occupational Therapy, LLC in April 2021, which is a private pediatric occupational and physical therapy company in the Richmond, Virginia area. First Priority Occupational Therapy, LLC offers private in-home OT and PT services as well as private school based services including screens, individual sessions, and after-school enrichment programs. First Priority Occupational Therapy, LLC collaborates and partners with over 20 schools in the Richmond area, emphasizing interdisciplinary collaboration to promote carry over for student success and independence. Ali has presented at a number of conferences, both local and state-wide, sharing about the importance of sensory processing on self-regulation.
Wincey Terry-Bryant : Musical Moments: Using Music to Explore Math in Children’s Literature
Wincey Terry-Bryant is a Master Teaching Artist who presents arts-integration classroom residencies and workshops for Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts nationwide. Wincey is CEO of Winceyco LLC and Executive Director of the non-profit organization NanaBabies. Wincey won Kiss FM’s “Phenomenal Woman” award, Women in Media’s Human Rights Activist award, and the Zeta Phi Beta Woman of The Year Award for her innovative arts and human trafficking awareness programs. Wincey is a children’s book author, a producer of music and educational CDs, Arts Chair of the NJ Human Trafficking Coalition, and Vice President of Zonta International, Essex County Chapter. An international recording artist, her voice can be still heard on the children’s series “Sesame Street.”
Maria-Ines Tripodi : Moving and Learning: Creative Movement Experiences for the Infant/Toddler Classroom
Maria-Ines Tripodi holds a BA in Performance and Language Arts and a Masters in Teaching from Bennington College. Currently, Maria works as a teaching artist for different arts organizations in the area, such as Wolf Trap Institute (2004- present), summers at Levine School of Music (2006-2018), Sitar (2013-2017) and Kennedy Center for the Arts (2017-present). She is a graduate from the Teaching Artist Institute, a program established by the Maryland Arts Counsel, Arts Education in Md. Schools (AEMS), and Young Audiences of Md. Having grown up both in Washington DC and Argentina, Maria is a native speaker and conducts classes in both English and Spanish.
Cheryl Turner : Building the Village: Schools and Families Partnering for Learner Success
Cheryl Smith Turner is a seasoned trainer and early childhood practitioner. As founder of REACH TLS, LLC., an educational consulting firm based in Atlanta, Georgia, Cheryl helps educators utilize techniques that will contribute to a positive climate for learning. She is a nationally certified trainer for child guidance and is a featured speaker and presenter for a variety of national staff development organizations and agencies. Cheryl’s training content includes various topics related to social learning, emotional intelligence, child guidance, language and literacy, life skills and executive function, play-based learning, leadership, and support of high needs learners.
Dr. Pam Waddell : Relationship Based Competencies: A Focus on Family Well Being and Individual Practices
Dr. Pamela Waddell is a Family Engagement Specialist who has served the HS/EHS community for over 23 years, 10 of which have been in TTA. She has served in the capacities of Grantee Specialist and, most recently, Grantee Specialist Manager. At her previous employment as a Head Start director, she engaged staff and families in all aspects of program operations, including the policy council. In addition, she provided oversight and PD to program staff, including family services. During her time as a Grantee Specialist in the TTA Network, she provided TTA to directors and management teams, including PFCE managers to ensure family services were fully integrated. She also has experience in providing training and technical assistance to programs serving children birth to five and has developed and presented training at local, state, and regional events and conferences on a variety of program topics that include leadership and management systems, data, ERSEA, curriculum, child growth and development, health and safety, child outcomes, mental health, and assessment.
Morticia White : Effective Monitoring of your Early/Head Start
Mortricia White MA, Ed.D (ABD), owner of White’s Consultants a veteran, minority, and woman-owned business has 20 years of experience in Early/Head Start, with 11 of those years in conducting Head Start/Early Head Start FA2 Reviews, onsite compliance monitoring, and Infant, Toddler, and Pre-K CLASS. Mortricia has also provided training in all content areas and has a background in Early Childhood Development and Elementary Education. Mortricia has expert knowledge of the Head Start Program Performance Standard, the monitoring protocol, program services, and the Early Learning Outcomes Framework.
Peggy White : Art of Professionalism: Painting a Blank Canvas
Peggy White has a Bachelor Degree in Organizational Management with a minor in Early Education. She has fifteen years of childcare and early learners experience as Director of a Department of Social Services licensed program located in North Chesterfield. Peggy was a substitute teacher for the City of Richmond 2013-2014 and the County of Chesterfield 2019-2020. She obtained numerous certificates from the Virginia Cross-Sector Professional Development Provider. Also, Peggy started her own Early Educator’s business in 2018 which provides staff development, parent consultation, observations and new teaching coaching and retention.
Kristin Wenger : Childhood Poisoning Prevention: Tools for Early Learning Professionals
Kristin L. Wenger, MA, BS, designs and implements poisoning prevention and poison center awareness programs for people of all ages for the Blue Ridge Poison Center. She serves as an expert resource for other individuals, groups, or agencies who want to provide poisoning prevention programs within their own communities. She is a member of the Virginia Department of Health’s Injury and Violence Prevention Coalition; the Suicide Prevention and Awareness Resources Council (SPARC); Safe Kids Heart of Appalachia; and the Public Education Committee of the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC), for which she served as Co-Chair from 2013-2015. Kristin received her Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of Virginia.
Brenda Workman : Commit To Your Passion and Reach Your Goals
Brenda Workman operates her own business, speaking to groups about the importance of living intentionally, eating whole food plant based, and setting and achieving goals. She teaches in-person cooking classes & offers a membership for those interested in transitioning to a plant-based diet. She is a blogger, empowerment speaker, and a licensed Food for Life instructor. Check out her website at www.brendaworkmanspeaks.com
Dana Yarbrough : Families: Moving Between Resilience and Recharge
Dana Yarbrough is the associate director of the Partnership for People with Disabilities, Virginia’s university center for excellence in developmental disabilities located at Virginia Commonwealth University. Among her many roles at VCU, Dana directs the $1.5 million Center for Family Involvement and its initiatives statewide to support diverse families of children and young adults with developmental disabilities and special health care needs to become effective advocates for their children and leaders for systems change. Dana is the mother of a 28 year old daughter who despite significant support needs for physical, intellectual and physical disabilities owns her own dog boarding business. She holds masters degrees in transformational non-profit leadership and special education secondary transition.
Please use this sample Letter to request permission and funds to attend the VAHSA Annual Conference 2023! All the details are in the letter and provides you with fillable fields to include rates for per diem and travel. Download PDF below. Funding Request Letter
12:00am - 11:59pm UTC+0
In honor of Native American Heritage Month, we want to share a profile of some attendees to our Annual Conference, The Chickahominy Tribe of Charles City, Virginia. While it is […]Read More
Reconceptualizing Social Determinants of Health and Working Towards Systemic Change . . . is one of the many engaging offerings we have lined up for our Virtual Health […]Read More
By Jennifer Lazzo Head Start. It’s an easily recognizable name, but do you know what the program is designed to do? Head Start provides young children from low-income families and children […]Read More
The Governor and First Lady announced an Executive Directive to establish an Executive Leadership Team on School Readiness, which will be co-chaired by Commissioner Duke Soren and Chief School Readiness […]Read More
Virginia First Lady Pamela Northam, and Chief School Readiness Officer Jenna Conway, visit Head Start classrooms and other early childhood facilities in a Back to School Tour. In June 2018, […]Read More
Dr. Deborah Bergeron, Director of the Office of Head Start, visited Prince William County Head Start program on June 5, 2018. Dr. Bergeron visited three Head Start classrooms to learn […]Read More