2020 Presenters

Check back often, new speakers are added weekly.

Bailey , Harriette

Assistant Professor, B-K Coordinator, Principle Investigator, and Co-Principle Investigator

University of North Carolina-Greensboro

Dr. Harriette Bailey is an Assistant Professor, B-K Coordinator, Principle Investigator, and Co-Principle Investigator at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. Dr. Bailey has extensive experiences in higher education, early intervention, early care and education, and child and family outcomes. She is passionate about preparing students to deliver effective and equitable services for diverse children and families. Dr. Bailey’s research interests include: appropriate services for infants and toddlers, cultural competency, family engagement, and designing effective policies and supports for young children and families. She is co-founder and owner of Bailey, Pullis, and Riggins, LLC.- a racial equity consulting organization.  She is a member of North Carolina’s State Interagency Coordinating Council, a Governor appointed position.

Confirmed Sessions:

Baker, Ennis C.

Project Director

Building Capacity for Trauma-Informed Infant & Toddler Care: A Professional Development Framework

Ennis C. Baker, MSW, LCSW is the project director for the ITTI Care Project: Building Capacity for Infant & Toddler Trauma-Informed Care: A Professional Development Framework, providing leadership for this collaborative project focused on trauma-informed practice in infant/toddler child care. From 1999-2018, Ennis served as a manager and mental health specialist for Orange County Head Start/Early Head Start in Chapel Hill, NC. In this role, she provided leadership and early childhood mental health consultation to program staff and families. She is a licensed clinical social worker specializing in early childhood mental health and has served in a variety of roles serving vulnerable children ages birth to 5 and their families. She began her career as a toddler teacher in 1988 and since 1990 has lived and worked in various counties in North Carolina, focusing on children under age 5 as a child care provider, home visitor, program director and on a multidisciplinary developmental evaluation team.  She is a mom of 3 and proud to be the wife of a public school Kindergarten teacher.

Confirmed Sessions:

Bergeron, Deborah


Office of Head Start (OHS)

Dr. Deborah Bergeron is the director of the Office of Head Start (OHS). Known as "Dr. B", she has been a teacher at heart her entire life. She has spent three decades in pre-K–12 public education as a classroom teacher and elementary and high school administrator. In the course of her career, Dr. B also started, grew, and ultimately sold her own educational services company.

During her tenure as a school administrator, she specialized in school improvement. In three different school systems, Dr. Bergeron used strategies around school climate and effective instruction to inspire staff. In turn, staff were able to provide students with programming and instruction that yielded significant gains, including in reading, math, discipline, and graduation rates.

Since joining OHS in April 2018, Dr. B has used her experience as an elementary principal and her strong background in pre-K–12 instructional leadership to provide unique insights into how Head Start programs can support our most vulnerable children in becoming school ready. She has focused her energy on improving the relationship between Head Start programs and the public school system. Dr. B continues to work at both the national level and with education influencers at the state and local levels to affect change.

In January 2019, Dr. Bergeron was asked to broaden her leadership to include the Office of Early Childhood Development (ECD) in the Administration for Children and Families. Her vision for ECD, in conjunction with the work for OHS, is to transform how the nation prioritizes early childhood programming and to create a more collaborative, cohesive environment for children, families, and staff.

Dr. Bergeron holds a bachelor’s degree from Texas State University. She earned a master’s in education leadership and doctorate in education policy from George Mason University.


Confirmed Sessions:

Catlett, Camille


Camille Catlett is a consultant based in Carrboro NC. At FPG, she worked to incorporate explicit emphasis on children and families of diverse cultures, languages, abilities, and life circumstances into professional development efforts in over 30 states. Her work on the Crosswalks project yielded an evidence-based model for enhancing higher education programs that has been replicated in 12 states. Camille is a frequent presenter and an ongoing contributor to print and electronic publications.

Confirmed Sessions:

Everhart, Kris

Speech-Language Pathologist

Ms. Everhart has over 20 years of experience as a speech-language pathologist serving children and their families across the span of early childhood settings.  While working at Family, Infant and Preschool Program, Ms. Everhart has contributed to the creation and development of several practitioner tools, assisted in the development of web modules, and co-authored publications. She has provided numerous presentations and trainings at the local, state, and national levels. 

Confirmed Sessions:

Fox, Lise


Lise Fox, Ph.D., is a Professor in the Department of Child and Family Studies and the principal investigator of the OSEP-funded National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations (NCPMI) and a faculty member with the OSEP-funded Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (ECTA). She is currently engaged in research and technical assistance projects related to the state, program, and classroom implementation of the Pyramid Model to promote young children’s social emotional competence and address challenging behavior.

Confirmed Sessions:

Garcia, Dayana

Disabilities and Inclusion Specialist

Office of Head Start (OHS) Administration for Children and Families (ACF)

Dayana Garcia is the Disabilities and Inclusion Specialist at the Office of Head Start (OHS) Administration for Children and Families (ACF). She holds an M.Ed in Special Education. She is a former Special Education Teacher, Head Start Disabilities Coordinator, Head Start Content Specialist, and was the Director of the Head Start Information and Communication Center. Dayana has over 25 years’ experience working with children with disabilities and their families in the U.S. and her home country of Venezuela.

Confirmed Sessions:

Gonzales, Richard

Director of Interagency and Special Initiatives

Department of Health & Human Services/Administration for Children and Families (HHS/ACF)

Richard Gonzales is the Director of Interagency and Special Initiatives within the Department of Health & Human Services/Administration for Children and Families (HHS/ACF) working on various early childhood issues out of the Office of Child Care. 

Richard began his federal work at ACF in February 2010, continuing his life-long commitment to early childhood development and learning. In the previous 36 years Richard moved through the ranks as a child care assistant teacher and teacher, a Head Start education director, assistant director, delegate agency director, and NYC Head Start Grantee Director. 

Richard’s primary focus at ACF these past 10 years has included leading our HHS interagency team in all aspects related to Early Childhood State Advisory Councils, the Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge, the Preschool Development Grants, and the Preschool Development Grants Birth through Five.

Confirmed Sessions:

Holland, Adam

Research Scientist

Adam Holland, Ph.D., is a Research Scientist at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute.  He has worked on a variety of projects focused on improving the quality of children’s early childhood classroom experiences, including FirstSchool, the North Carolina Early Learning Network, the STEM Innovation for Inclusion in Early Education Center, and the Abecedarian Approach.

Confirmed Sessions:

Kozlowski , Jani

Inclusion and Professional Development Systems Coordinator

National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching and Learning at Zero to Three

Jani holds an MA in Child Development and has worked in the early care & education field for over 25 years.  She currently serves as the Inclusion and Professional Development Systems Coordinator for the National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching and Learning at Zero to Three.  In her spare time, Jani likes to get into adventures with her family, soak up the sun, read and travel.

Confirmed Sessions:

Martin Eile, Julia

Education Program Specialist

Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP)

Julia Martin Eile is an Education Program Specialist in the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) within the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services at the US Department of Education.


Julia has spent her career working in the field of early childhood special education.  She began her career as a Vision Teacher at The Jewish Guild for the Blind in New York City.  Julia earned her master’s degree in education in developmental disabilities administration from Columbia University Teachers College.  After moving to Washington, D.C., Julia served as a State consultant for Part C in Virginia.  She joined OSEP in 2001.  She is the Project Officer for the new Early Childhood Systems Technical Assistance Center and works on early childhood special education policy issues in the Research to Practice Division of OSEP.

Confirmed Sessions:

McCullough, Katy

Associate Director

Early Childhood Technical Assistance (ECTA) Center

Katy McCullough, MA, is an Associate Director with the Early Childhood TA (ECTA) Center within the Trohanis Technical Assistance (TA) Projects. She provides technical assistance to Early Intervention/Part C and Preschool Special Education/619 Coordinators in states supporting system change in topics such as early intervention services, finance, and early childhood inclusion.

Confirmed Sessions:

McWilliam, Robin

Special Education Department Chair and Professor

University of Alabama

R. A. (“Robin”) McWilliam is a professor of early childhood special education at The University of Alabama, where he founded and directs the Evidence-based International Early Intervention Office (EIEIO), in the Department of Special Education and Multiple Abilities. With colleagues, he created the Routines-Based Model for Early Intervention (Birth to Five; RBM), a comprehensive system for supporting caregivers of young children with disabilities. This model is implemented in 10 countries. It includes practices for assessing needs and developing functional and family goals, using a primary service provider, consulting collaboratively with caregivers to build their capacity, and measuring progress on goals, child functioning, and family quality of life. Dr. McWilliam has written over 80 peer-reviewed articles and 8 books and has presented in over 20 countries. He is a visiting professor at the University of Silesia in Poland, where he has an implementation site.

Confirmed Sessions:

Mead, Ebonyse


Educational Equity Institute

Dr. Ebonyse Mead is an instructor at NC State University and president of the Educational Equity Institute. Ebonyse has worked to improve educational outcomes for children of diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. Since 2016, Ebonyse has provided statewide training on diversity, inclusion and equity with a particular focus on examining structural barriers to educational equity, implicit racial bias, and culturally responsive instruction to the early childhood workforce in North Carolina.

Confirmed Sessions:

Miguel, Toni


Early Intervention Technical Assistance

Toni Miguel is a consultant with Early Intervention Technical Assistance in Pennsylvania. Her work focuses on supporting early childhood personnel to deliver high quality, inclusive, and equitable educational experiences for diverse young children. Toni is a recent graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she researched coaching methods for early childhood teacher education in preservice internship settings.

Confirmed Sessions:

Neitzel, Jen

Executive Director

Educational Equity Institute

Dr. Jen Neitzel is the Executive Director of the Educational Equity Institute, a non-profit based in Charlotte, NC. Jen works with schools, advocacy groups, and educational organizations to promote systems level change. She presents frequently at state and national conferences and is widely published in peer-reviewed journals. She also is the author of the book Achieving Equity and Justice in Education through the Work of Systems Change.

Confirmed Sessions:

Pittman, Julie Paige

Educational Outreach Manager

NC No Kid Hungry/Share Our Strength

Julie Paige Pittman was called to be an educator and community builder.  She is a proud graduate of Johnston County Public Schools, and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Speech Communications, as well as a Master of Arts in Communication Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  She held teaching positions at UNC-CH, Rutgers University, New York University, and Central Piedmont Community College, as well as worked in professional theater while in NYC.  In 2003, she joined Rutherford County Schools as a high school English teacher at R-S Central High School, and is currently the NC Western Region Teacher of the Year.  Outside of school, Julie is a wife and a mother of twin daughters, and is also a member of several civic and community groups in Western NC and across the state that support education, women, children, and communities.  She thrives on motivating students to find their own voices and roles as citizens of this world, as well as inspiring fellow teachers to grow their skills by expanding their classrooms into the global community.  Ultimately, she believes each of us shares a role in supporting and nurturing all students, and thus shaping our collective future. 

Confirmed Sessions:

Pretti-Frontczak, Kristie

Author, Speaker, Educational Consultant

Dr. Kristie Pretti-Frontczak is an author, speaker, and educational consultant, who is a passionate believer in children's right to learn through play, inclusive classrooms, and transformative professional development that supports teachers' wholeness. Impassioned, forward-thinking and solution-focused, Dr. Kristie Pretti-Frontczak is committed to guiding early educators by carefully nourishing their hearts and minds while strengthening their social-emotional intelligence and leadership skills. Kristie spent 16 years in higher education as faculty at Kent State University (KSU) where she also served as an applied researcher, evaluator, and trainer in early childhood intervention. Rounding out her experience at Kent, she also served as the principal investigator on several federally funded research, model demonstration and personnel preparation training grants. 

Confirmed Sessions:

Pullis, Lisa

Program Director

Iredell County Partnership for Young Children

Lisa is the Program Director at the Iredell County Partnership for Young Children in Statesville, NC. She has worked in the early childhood field for over 24 years. She is an endorsed cultural competency facilitator.

Lisa believes it is time for us to stand up, step up, and speak up to support the early childhood workforce, and that we must recognize, respect, and support the field in every way. If the early childhood workforce is supported and thriving, families and children will also thrive and succeed.  She is co-founder and owner of Bailey, Pullis, and Riggins, LLC. -  a racial equity consulting organization. She holds an M.Ed. in Early Childhood Leadership & Program Administration.

Confirmed Sessions:

Riggins, Jr., Rhodus

Quality Enhancement Coordinator

Education Quality Improvement and Professional Development Project

Rhodus Riggins, Jr. is a grassroots advocate and early care and education professional with over 29 years of extensive experiences in research, technical assistance, professional development, and evaluation. He is a quality enhancement coordinator at Education Quality Improvement and Professional Development Project at the University of North Carolina -Greensboro. He is an Adjunct Faculty member at Alamance Community College. He is an endorsed cultural competency facilitator. He is co-founder and owner of Bailey, Pullis, and Riggins, LLC. - a racial equity consulting organization. He is most passionate about ensuring front-line workers have the respect, compensation, and supports needed to fulfil their roles.  He holds an M.Ed in Educational Leadership, Public Policy, and Advocacy.

Confirmed Sessions:

Rosanbalm, Katie

Senior Research Scientist

Center for Child and Family Policy at Duke University

Katie Rosanbalm, Ph.D., is a Senior Research Scientist with the Center for Child and Family Policy at Duke University. Trained as a child clinical psychologist, Dr. Rosanbalm’s work focuses on program implementation and evaluation in the areas of self-regulation development and trauma-informed early care and education. She is currently involved in a number of projects to enhance long-term outcomes for children with trauma histories, including: (1) piloting a professional development infrastructure for trauma-sensitive care in infant/toddler classrooms, (2) self-regulation skills-building for low-income preschoolers, (3) implementation and evaluation of a K-8 trauma-sensitive schools model, and (4) integration of child mental health supports for children involved with child welfare. She has co-authored a series of white papers on Self-Regulation and Toxic Stress and served on a number of state-level task forces to strengthen the evidence-based implementation of programs for children and families.

Confirmed Sessions:

Sam, Ann

Advanced Research Scientist

FPG Child Development Institute

Dr. Ann Sam is an Advanced Research Scientist at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at UNC-Chapel Hill. Dr. Sam’s work includes developing online, self-paced learning modules for the identified 27 evidence-based practices for children and youth with autism and examining the impact of professional development models on increasing the use of evidence-based practices for students with autism. 


Confirmed Sessions:

Sandall, Susan

Professor Emerita

University of Washington

Susan Sandall is Professor Emerita from the University of Washington, College of Education. Her scholarly interests are: effective instructional practices for young children with disabilities in inclusive settings, the changing roles of teachers of young children with disabilities, and effective approaches to professional development and knowledge utilization for the early childhood workforce. Now affiliated with the EarlyEdU Alliance, Dr. Sandall was the PI for the National Center on Quality Teaching and Learning and co-PI for the Head Start Center for Inclusion, both funded by the Office of Head Start. She is a member of the DEC Recommended Practices Commission. She is the co-developer of Building Blocks, a framework for effective teaching practices for early childhood.

Confirmed Sessions:

Sparling, Joseph

Senior Scientist Emeritus; Board Chair

Abecedarian Education Foundation (international); FPG Child Development Institute

Joseph Sparling is the Board Chair of the Abecedarian Education Foundation (international), a Senior Scientist Emeritus at the FPG Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina (USA), and Honorary Professorial Fellow at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education of the University of Melbourne (Australia). His 50-year career has been focused on bringing educational opportunities through the Abecedarian Approach to vulnerable or disadvantaged children from birth to age five.

Confirmed Sessions:

Steinbrenner, Jessica

Jessica Dykstra Steinbrenner worked as a speech-language pathologist before returning to get her PhD. Her primary research interests are in school-based interventions for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). She has worked across a wide range of ages, conducting research in preschools, elementary schools, and high schools. Dr. Steinbrenner is especially interested assessment and intervention related to social-communication and supporting individuals with ASD who are minimally verbal.

Confirmed Sessions:

Stevenson, Cami


Multnomah Early Childhood Program

Cami Stevenson is an administrator in the Multnomah Early Childhood Program, an early intervention program for children birth to five years of age, in Portland, Oregon, USA. She is the associate director of the Routines-Based Model (RBM) Enterprise, which runs various training, material-development, and consultation activities to promote children’s engagement and family empowerment. She works in partnership with Robin McWilliam to advance the RBM, with specific responsibility for logistics and management of the many materials associated with the model. Ms. Stevenson has a master’s degree in early childhood special education from the University of Oregon and an educational-administration certificate from Portland State University. She has been an adjunct assistant professor at Portland State University.

Confirmed Sessions:

Van Delft Moffi, Bethany

Parent Advocate

Bethany Van Delft Moffi is a comedian, storyteller, emcee, and Parent Advocate who has been active in the special needs community since the birth of her daughter Lulu in 2011. She's completed leadership and advocacy trainings through Mass Families Organizing for Change, Interaction Institute for Social Change, and Federation for Children with Special Needs Parent Consultant Institute. She was awarded the FCSN Patricia Blake Parent Advocacy Award in 2017, given to an individual who exemplifies the belief in the potential of all children with disabilities to achieve, and earned a certificate from the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress in supporting best practices for educating students with intellectual disabilities.

She is a regular host for “The MOTH” live events. Her Mainstage story sharing her post partum experience after the birth of her first child garnered 15+ million views, and is also included in The MOTH’s 2nd book “All These Wonders”. 

In the comedy world, Bethany has performed at the prestigious JFL Festival, SF Sketchfest, All Jane Festival, and on 2 Dope Queens podcast. She was named Boston Magazine “Best Comic 2019”, produces comedy shows in her hometown of Boston, all the while keeping her kids and husband alive, and very not unhappy. She also bakes pretty well.

Confirmed Sessions:

VanderPloeg, Laurie


Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP)

Laurie VanderPloeg is the director of the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), in the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), at the U.S. Department of Education. VanderPloeg ensures the effective implementation of OSEP's legislative mission, advises the assistant secretary on federal education policy related to individuals with disabilities, and provides leadership in addressing issues of American education for infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities through OSEP activities and within the context of the policies of OSERS, the Department, and Congress.

Prior to joining the department, VanderPloeg served as director of special education at Kent Intermediate School District (Kent ISD) in Michigan. Also at Kent ISD, she served as assistant director for monitoring, compliance and parent support. Prior to Kent ISD, she served as a local supervisor of special education, and a special education teacher in the Grand Rapids Public Schools. VanderPloeg also served as an adjunct professor at Grand Valley State University in the special education administration program. She is a parent of an adult with disabilities.

VanderPloeg graduated from Grand Valley State University with a master’s in special education administration and a bachelor’s degree from Grand Valley State College. She holds administrative approvals as both supervisor and director of special education and certification in learning disabilities, cognitive impairment, emotional impairment, and K–8 regular education.

Confirmed Sessions:

Walsh, Sharon


Sharon Walsh currently provides consultation to state and local agencies on the implementation of Part C and Part B of IDEA  She works as a consultant on the federally funded Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (ECTA) and the Center for IDEA Early Childhood Data Systems (DaSy).  Sharon also serves as the Governmental Relations Consultant for the Division for Early Childhood of the Council for Exceptional Children (DEC) and the IDEA Infant and Toddler Coordinators Association (ITCA), which is the national association representing the state Part C lead agencies. 

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