Conference Summary

In It to Win It with MSCCA’s Conference by the Sea (CBTS) 2019, the Maryland child care and early learning industry’s forum to collaborate and share best practices. Registrants are eligible to earn two (2) Professional Activity Units and can attend classes offering up to 18.5 hours of MSDE-approved training. With over 750 attendees expected from across Maryland, CBTS is the must attend event for the early childhood community.

The 2019 conference, which is being held at the Clarion Resort, 10100 Coastal Highway in Ocean City, Maryland, offers four days of presentations by industry experts, opportunities to interact with vendors in the exhibit area, networking with peers, professional development, two receptions, the “Winning” theme fun and more. This is an opportunity you don’t want to miss.

Registration Cancellation Policy

If you must cancel for any reason, refunds will be honored through Tuesday, April 2, 2019. After this date, we cannot refund your conference registration. To cancel, email your request to CBTS19@mscca.org.

MSDE Training Voucher Reimbursement Instructions:  Your application for post-conference training reimbursement must be submitted within 180 days following Conference by the Sea 2019. Eligible applicants must hold a current Maryland Child Care Credential of Level Two or higher.

Code of Conduct: In an effort to maintain a professional training environment, all registrants are required to read the Conference Criteria and Code of Conduct prior to attending this year’s MSDE/OCC Approved Conference by the Sea training event.

Facilitators:  MSCCA will email you by March 29, 2019 to confirm your request.  If selected, your facilitator information will be attached.  Please contact Marcia Tivoli with questions at pvadirector@gmail.com.  For additional information, contact Christina Peusch at CBTS19@mscca.org or call 410-820-9196.

Clarion Restaurants and Nightlife

The Clarion Resort offers several restaurants and nightlife options for attendees. For those of you arriving prior to Friday night’s MSCCA Opening Reception with Exhibitors at 5:15 pm, the hotel offers a $6.99 lunch special on Thursday and 20% Early-Bird Special for dinner on Thursday and Friday.

Friday Discount Lunch Tickets: CBTS 2019 attendees can also purchase a $10 discount meal ticket for the Friday, May 3rd, Italian Buffet Lunch, which opens at noon in the Horizons Oceanfront Restaurant. Tickets can be purchased at the Clarion’s front desk from Wednesday, May 1, at 4:00 pm until 10:00 am on Friday, May 3, 2019. The regular buffet price is $12 based on available seating.

Conference by the Sea Schedule

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Please Note: Conference by the Sea 2019 session details are preliminary pending MSDE approval and unforeseen changes

7:30 am – 8:00 am, Welcome and Grant Awards, MSCCA
8:00 am – 9:00 am, Plenary and Keynote Session, Best Day Ever – How to Create Experiences that Change the Way We Think, Steve Spangler (1.0 Curriculum)

Session Description: How do you turn ordinary moments into unforgettable learning experiences? You must first understand the differences in teaching styles. Combining his experience as a science teacher and award-winning toy designer, Steve helps teachers discover how to create educational experiences that make learning fun… and spread like a virus!

9:30 am – 11:00 am, Session 1 (Select + for Class Descriptions)

A1 Twinkle Little Star, See How Precious Babies Are, Cathy Lancelotta, Conscious Discipline Certified Instructor (1.5 Child Development)

Session Description: Teachers of infants and toddlers will learn how to offer their little ones the best beginnings in brain development through attachment, attunement, and changing the language we use with them. They will also learn how to implement “Baby Doll Circle Time”™ a powerful teaching activity, developed by Dr. Becky Bailey, specifically designed to enhance attachment, increase self-regulation, and promote trust through joyful interactions in group care.

Outcomes: Teachers will gain a deeper understanding of the importance of attachment and joy bonds for an infant’s optimal brain development. They will learn an innovative activity, Baby Doll Circle Time™ that will help them build those crucial bonds with more children in less time.

Method of Training: PowerPoint style slides, handout, videos, music and movement. Participants will be actively involved in the learning process through music and movement, interactions with one another and practicing the Baby Doll Circle Time™ activity.

B1 Setting Up for Success: Helping Children Adapt in Our Ever Changing World, Sandra Graham and Jen Fernandez (1.5 Special Needs)

Session Description: This training takes you on a journey through all the road blocks that may affect the ability for children to learn and be successful in school. It shifts the way we look at social emotional development and school readiness of young children. Let’s look at tools that will help you work with inclusive classrooms, cultural diversity and children affected by traumatic events. We will learn how building resiliency in young children can help them adapt to our ever-changing world.

C1 The Possibility of Discovery: Using Loose Parts to Enhance Children’s Learning, Sara Bosley and Morgan Horvath (1.5 Curriculum)

Session Description: Participants will be introduced to the wondrous world of loose parts.  Participants will discover how to use loose parts in classrooms to create authentic play experiences for all children.  Participants will be able to experience creative inspirations through using loose parts.

Outcomes include:

  • Identify the impact that play-based learning has on the healthy growth and development of children.
  • Define loose parts.
  • Intentionally identify how loose parts play can promote social, emotional, cognitive, physical, and creative competence for all children.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of how to use loose parts for children with varying social, emotional, cognitive and physical developmental needs.
D1 Your Voice for Helping Children Be Successful – Assertive Communication, Jane Plum, Conscious Discipline Certified Instructor (1.5 Child Development)

Session Description: Conscious Discipline can help you to focus on behaviors and actions that you desire for your classroom. Develop your assertive voice and learn the technique of Name, Verb, and Paint Commands. Change the culture of your classroom by communicating with children and adults in ways that model and teach respect. Explore the use of visual routines to increase children’s compliance with classroom expectations.

Participants will:
• Review brain research related to encouraging language.
• Practice the skill of noticing and eliminating judgement.
• Practice language that stimulates children’s pre-frontal lobes to increase academic achievement and social-emotional learning.
• Learn alternatives to ineffective praise.
• Discover techniques for intentionally teaching cooperation, kindness and helpfulness in the classroom.

E1 Supporting Young English Language Learners and Their Families, Professor Sonia Pruneda-Hernandez (1.5 Child Development)

Session Description: Supporting Young English Language Learners and Their Families is focused on identifying and understanding young English Language Learners, how they acquire the English language, stages that all English Language Learners go through, and what you as a teacher can do to support English language development.  Attendees will have the opportunity to review and identify appropriate multicultural books, materials, and curriculum objectives that are appropriate for all children with specific focus on English Language Learners.  Finally, attendees will develop strategies to support the families of young English Language Learners, including identifying creative ways to communicate daily.

Outcomes:

  • Identify the stages that English Language Learners go through to learn English.
  • Explain how to support young children and their families with language, literacy, reading and writing in the classroom and home.
  • Describe how to select culturally appropriate books and materials for young English Language Learners children.
  • Develop a list of strategies that can be implemented to support the families of English Language Learners language.
L1 The Hiring Process, Dr. Syretha Storey (1.5 Professionalism)

Session Description: Through this workshop, participants will learn how to effectively develop interview questions. Leaders/Directors will learn how to better differentiate candidates and hire more qualified employees. 

11:15 am – 12:45 pm, Session 2 (Select + for Class Descriptions)

A2 What Should We Play With? Activities for Infants and Toddlers, Stephanie Cooper, M.Ed (1.5 Curriculum)

Session Description: This training will support teachers who want to add engaging learning experiences into their daily routines. After reviewing typical development, participants will explore several best practices that lend themselves to supporting learners with varying developmental needs in infant and toddler classrooms.

Outcomes:

  • Describe the importance of observation in meeting the needs of all children.
  • Describe elements of developmentally appropriate practice that support children with varying developmental needs.
  • Identify engaging and appropriate activities and materials that promote exploration of a wide variety of play experiences.
B2 Discover Five Secrets to Becoming a Truly Amazing Teacher, Steve Spangler (1.75 Curriculum)

Session Description: It’s not great worksheets, colored overhead transparencies or interactive flip charts that make an amazing teacher—it’s the person. Truly amazing teachers have the ability to inspire students to achieve greatness by creating unforgettable learning experiences. Steve’s high-energy keynote will help you discover the five secrets to becoming an amazing teacher!
NOTE: Session may run until 1:00 pm.

C2 Math for the Win, Lisa Ann Dickinson (1.5 Curriculum)

Session Description: This training will introduce the approach of whole math.  Whole math is an approach to mathematics education that stimulates children to create mathematical relationships out of real-life situations.  We will review the developmental stages of quantification for the preschool child.  Lesson plan activities that include whole math for preschool and toddler age children will be explored and developed during the workshop.

Outcomes:   Participants will have a basic understanding of the developmental stages for the preoperational child.  Participants will complete a whole math activity to include in a lesson plan which includes: a description of the activity, materials, child’s level, questions to extend thinking, and integrated curriculum activities.

D2 Widening the Lens: Looking at Quality from a Program Administrative Perspective, Quality Assurance Specialists Sharon Vance, Meghan Leach-Gwynn and Rosemary Lober (1.5 Professionalism)

Session Description: An Overview of the Program Administration Scale (PAS). PAS is a tool that will systematically add to the leadership and management practices in your center. Data generated can be used to develop action plans for program improvement. Use of the Program Administration Scale to guide program improvement can qualify your program for the Quality Business Practices Achievement in Maryland EXCELS.

This training is the official overview of the Program Administration Scale (PAS) designated for use by the McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership. PAS provides child care center directors and administrators with a systematic approach to assess critical leadership and management practices including human resources, budgeting and fiscal management, center operations, marketing, family partnerships, etc.

E2 Make the Connection: Nurturing Experiences and Toxic Stress, Crystal Ey (1.5 Health, Safety and Nutrition)

Session Description:  What occurs during the “serve and return” interaction between child and adult? What happens to the brain when this interaction is disrupted?  Join us to examine how adverse childhood experiences (ACE’s) can result in toxic stress.  Learn the effects of toxic stress and your role in helping to combat this growing concern.  Build a portfolio of ideas to support “mindfulness” in young children.

L2 Facing the Mirror: Meaningful Self Assessment for Continuous Quality Improvement, Andrea Zabel (1.5 Professionalism)

Session Description:  During this interactive workshop, participants will explore meaningful self-assessment as a guide to continuous quality improvements; review how to conduct authentic self-assessments; and determine how best to share the benefits of conducting meaningful self-assessments with any and all stakeholders.

Expected Outcomes: Participants will be able to: explain the need for meaningful self-assessments; conduct valid self-assessments regardless of the tool, across program types, and inclusive of all developmental and learning domains; and apply the information gained from the self-assessment to implement continuous quality improvements.

2:00 pm – 3:30 pm, Session 3 (Select + for Class Descriptions)

A3 STEM with Infants and Toddlers, Sheila George and Nicole Pierre (1.5 Curriculum)

Session Description: Experiential STEM learning begins at birth. As caregivers and teachers, we recognize that infants and toddlers are very active learners and that we need to introduce the principles of STEM to them in different ways than we do with older children. In this training we will address how infants and toddlers learn, what is the role of the caregiver and teacher, and how do we support STEM learning in young children, as well as what are some STEM activities for our youngest learners.

B3 Bringing Harmony to Discord: Managing Difficult Conversations, Laura Foster (1.5 Professionalism)

Session Description: Administrators and teachers occasionally find themselves facing difficult conversations with employees, colleagues, community members, or parents. Even if these conversations are rare, they can consume a tremendous amount of time and energy if we let them. This session will bring attention to techniques and reflections that can prepare administrators and teachers for these conversations. Participants will gain insight into managing hostility, anxiety, denial, and differences in values while developing intentional responses to implement in future conversations. Participants will actively explore how facts, feelings, and identity contribute to all conversations and especially how to increase sensitivity to the needs of others in a diverse, pluralistic school setting. Upon completion of this workshop, participants will be able to view difficult conversations through a lens of hope and harmony and bring real change to their school communities.

Outcomes:
• Participants will examine their own feelings about difficult conversations and then practice active listening and clear communication utilizing the IMAGO paradigm of sending and receiving dialogue.
• Participants will analyze causes for difficult conversations and develop intentional responses that bring harmony to relationships.
• Participants will recognize the multitude of diverse identities in a pluralistic school setting.

C3 Toxic Stress: What is it and How Can You Support Children and Families, Laura Hutton (1.5 Child Development)
D3 School Age – New Director, New Staff and New Expectations, Gerald Bolden (1.5 Professionalism)

Session Description: If it was easy, anyone could do it. The afterschool world requires special people who are willing and want to rise to the challenge to make a difference to our youth of today. Starting a new position requires the right support, strong communication, and a strong work ethic to make that difference. Staff needs to understand what it means to be part of the team and be engaged the entire time. We want them to be invested.

At the end of the session participants will learn how to successfully multi-task, the responsibility of observing and being engaged while in the program.

E3 It Takes a Village: Understanding Generation X and Millennial Parents, Lacey Tsonis (1.5 Community)

Session Description: Are today’s parents difficult to understand and engage with? Or do we just not understand them? When we understand someone’s generational cohort and the experiences and characteristics which a generation shares, it is easier to understand who they are. Come explore how Gen X and Millennials were raised and how this influences their parenting attitudes and behaviors.

L3 Building Community through Collaboration: A Partnership Model, Claudia Martin and Linda Mercurio (1.5 Community)

Session Description:  This co-presented session will feature the story of how one county’s Early Childhood Advisory Council—the Washington County Early Childhood Advisory Council (ECAC) —built a collaborative relationship with a county-wide cradle to career initiative—OnTrack Washington County, Inc.—to raise awareness, amplify voices, break down silos, and build an educational continuum for the county’s children from birth to career.

The Washington County Early Childhood Advisory Council (ECAC) was created as part of Maryland’s Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Grant with the purpose of overcoming school readiness gaps and improving the early childhood service delivery system. The ECAC is made up of more than 20 active partners/member agencies. By developing a local infrastructure and employing a collective impact approach, the ECAC is able to more actively engage all community members in support of early childhood development and education and have greater impact on the lives of our children.

OnTrack Washington County, Inc. (OnTrack) is a coalition of approximately 40 community partners—from the educational, business, nonprofit, and civic leadership world—focused on raising the educational attainment levels of Washington County residents to strengthen the local economy and improve our community’s quality of life. A collective impact, cradle to career initiative, OnTrack seeks to empower citizens to acquire the educational or vocational training necessary for lifelong success. Much of OnTrack’s work is done through three Success Teams: Early Childhood; School Aged Youth; and Workforce/Career Readiness. With early buy-in and strong participation from the business community, OnTrack works to demonstrate to the community the impact of early learning on future workforce development.

Since OnTrack’s inception, the ECAC has been an active partner, holding a permanent position on OnTrack’s Board of Directors. As an active partner, the ECAC provides expertise for OnTrack’s early learning focus and is the managing entity for OnTrack’s Early Childhood Success Team.

In this session, participants will learn how to foster these partnerships in their own communities. Participants will also learn about specific projects the ECAC and OnTrack have collaborated on to promote early childhood initiatives and create positive change.  The story of how one county’s Early Childhood Advisory Council (ECAC) built a collaborative relationship with a county-wide cradle to career initiative to raise awareness, amplify voices, break down silos, and build an educational continuum for the county’s children from birth to career is explored. Come join us to learn how to foster these partnerships in your community.

3:45 pm – 5:15 pm, Session 4 (Select + for Class Descriptions)

A4 Reality Bites, Jill Lyons (1.5 Child Development)

Session Description: In this training, participants will learn why a child’s development can be a key factor in understanding why children bite. Included are strategies on how to handle several types of biting situations as well as how to discuss a biting incident with parents.

Objectives:

  • Participants will explore the different perspectives from which one might view biting behavior in the classroom, including the child’s perspective, the family’s perspective, and the teacher’s perspective.
  • Participants will understand the developmental nature of biting behavior and how it makes participants feel (including how the child who bites might feel, how the child who is bitten might feel, how the family might feel, and how the teachers might feel).
  • Participants will develop a comprehensive approach to handling biting that includes a focus on the child who bites, the child who is bitten, the family, the classroom, the schedule, and the teachers’ problem solving strategies.
B4 Building Resiliency in Young Children, Randi Albertson (1.5 Health Safety and Nutrition)

Session Description: From handling disappointment, to managing stress, to dealing with adversity – what causes some children to melt down and others to move forward? Grit and resilience. Fortunately, there are strategies we can teach children to build resiliency. This workshop explores ways in which early childhood educators can support resilience in young children and promote positive social outcomes.

C4 Workforce Development and Career Pathways, College Consortium (1.5 Professionalism)

Session Description:  This is a panel discussion on workforce development opportunities, educational pathways at community colleges, and attending or transferring to four-year universities.  Attendees will have the opportunity to learn about applying to colleges, financial aid and/or scholarships available, and supports that colleges/universities may offer.  The panel discussion will provide time for questions and answers.

  • Identify workforce development opportunities at community colleges and support that leads to the credit side.
  • Discuss educational pathways at community colleges throughout the state of Maryland.
  • Examine paths to attend or transfer to four-year universities in Maryland.

 

D4 Nature 2.0 – Using Authentic Materials Instead of Worksheets, Lavonne Taylor (1.5 Curriculum)

Session Description: Using natural materials in the classroom is a great way to not only cut costs, but also to provide great sensory experiences using authentic materials. This workshop will extend on last year’s exploration of natural materials by exploring how teachers can use natural materials to create valuable learning experiences in all curriculum domains.

E4 Sensory Sensitivities, Sara Bosley and Morgan Horvath (1.5 Special Needs)

Session Description:  This training provides participants with an understanding of sensory integration, sensory integration dysfunction, and how sensory issues can impact children with autism spectrum disorders.  It discusses ways to include ‘sensory diets’ and sensory activities that assist children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) to be successful in their learning environments. 

Outcomes Include:

  • Increase participants’ knowledge of sensory processing and sensory processing disorder.
  • Explain how using sensory integration techniques can help children with particular special needs that may be more affected by sensory sensitivities.
  • Offer strategies to enable educators to provide the best learning environment possible for all children.
L4 Understanding and Preventing Suspensions and Expulsions, Dr. Syretha Storey (1.5 Professionalism)

Session Description: Increasingly, Early Childhood Educators are expelling young children from child care programs as a result of challenging behaviors. This session reviews a more expansive definition and looks at consequences of suspension and expulsion. Early Childhood Educators will learn some new strategies for reducing risks of over-reliance on behavior management strategies. Presenter will share information from training at Harvard University.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Please Note: Conference by the Sea 2019 session details are preliminary pending MSDE approval and unforeseen changes

Su1 8:30 am – 9:30 am, Advocacy and Your Voice, Compass and MSCCA Public Advocacy and Legislation team, Isaac Meyer (1.0 Professionalism)

Session Description: Isaac Meyer, Partner at Compass Government Relations, and the MSCCA Legislative Task Force will share the importance of advocacy and how we can make a difference as individuals and as a collective Association. The session will touch on the important work of the Innovations in Excellence in Education Commission (Kirwan Commission) and legislation related to Pre K expansion and Universal Pre K in Maryland, as well as other initiatives recommended in the final report. The session will also provide an overview of the 2019 legislative session related to child care, early childhood education, business and relevant bills that could impact our field. In addition, MSCCA will provide an update on the advocacy related committee’s progress, including the Evening in Annapolis Advocacy initiative, National Governors Association and Chief Council School Superintendent’s work, the Workforce Competency Workgroup, Lead Poisoning Prevention Commission and the Coalition of Partners for Progress.

Su2 9:45 am – 11:15 am, Closing Keynote, Finding Your Personal Educational Passion, Lillian Hubler (1.5 Professionalism)

Session Description: High-energy, fun event. Participants will learn: why they are the way they are, what motivates them, and how they can best utilize their unique talents to positively impact their lives and classrooms, including how to put your best foot forward before leaving home, how to visualize and verbalize your day, how to revisit your life’s dreams that guided you to work with young children, how to unlock your personal power to be more happy, grateful, and positively motivated from the moment you start your day, every day – the 6 Basic Needs.

11:15 am – 12:45 pm Session 1 (Select + for Class Descriptions)

Su3 Teaching Social-Emotional Academic Learning, Dr. Michael Hubler (1.5 Child Development)

Session Description: Life-changing lessons in how to deal effectively with misbehavior. Participants will learn to flip all of their home or classroom misbehaviors into opportunities to provide positive reinforcement necessary to eliminate future misbehavior. Learn to teach your children to problem solve for themselves to deal with situations that cause them frustration and result in errant behavior. Also, learn to teach and promote children’s self-control.

Participants will walk through the social emotional behavioral process that teaches children the necessary skills to interact and assist other children in dealing with classroom conflict.

They will learn how to teach their children to empathize with others. This is particularly important for the boys in the classroom. Teachers will learn important techniques to minimize negative behaviors in the classroom, provide children with positive opportunities to express their emotions, and how enhancing parent relationships can help reduce misbehavior in the classroom. Participants learn to use common classroom emotional learning scenarios to help children understand and control their emotions and resultant behavior.

Su4 Peace Talks – Innovative Ways to Tackle Challenging Behaviors, Dr. Donna Satterlee, Flora Gee, Michelle Leneski and Rose Merryweather (1.5 Child Development)

Session Description: This presentation will enhance understanding of the necessary dispositions to create a safe place in a caring, peaceful classroom community. The attendees will learn about helping children develop resilience, self-regulation, values, respect and problem solving skills.

Helping children to develop the dispositions of a peaceful, caring community is the theme we initiated as we worked toward creating a safe place in the classrooms in three centers. We were awarded a grant
by P.E.A.C.E. to buy some parts and pieces to enhance these classrooms and, according to the results from our research study, it made a difference. In this session, we will explore the theoretical underpinnings of creating peaceful classrooms from three perspectives.

One of the centers focused on creating inside comfy corners, and reading stories; another focused on being comfortable outside, setting up a place to converse and read with friends; and the third center
focused on teaching inner peace and breathing techniques while spending time in the peaceful herb garden. All of the centers helped the children learn to self-regulate, solve problems and respect their
fellow classmates.

Learning Outcomes:
• The importance of teachers recognizing the caring dispositions such as empathy, compassion, rapport, fairness and cultural competence
• To enhance the children’s development of respect, value, problem-solving skills, self-regulation, resilience, and creating a safe place in a caring, peaceful classroom community
• To investigate the necessary dispositions for handling conflict in a peaceable program.
• To identify strategies and resources to build and sustain a peaceable program.

Su 5 Achieving Quality, The Maryland Child Care Credential, Angeline Bishop- Oshoko, LaTanya Taylor and Agneatha Wright (1.5 Professionalism)

The Maryland Child Care Credential is a voluntary program that recognizes child care providers who go beyond the requirements of State licensing and registration regulations. There are seven staff credential levels and four administrative credential levels, each one recognizing a child care provider’s achievement of a specified number of training clock hours, experience and professional activities important for providing quality child care programs. Participating providers are required to complete training in six Core of Knowledge areas that will help them develop the knowledge and skills to provide the best possible care for the children and families they serve.

Keynote Speakers

Steve Spangler

Keynote Speaker, American Television Personality, Author and Science Teacher

Website: Steve Spangler

Steve Spangler is well-known for his work as a funny and engaging science guy on stage, television and as a YouTube celebrity. Spangler is an authority on STEM education with more than 1,800 television appearances to his credit. He’s a regular guest on the Ellen Show where he never fails to entertain the Burbank Fire Department. Steve is the host of the three-time Emmy nominated television series DIY Sci airing on FOX affiliates nationwide. Steve Spangler is a best-selling author, an Emmy award-winning television personality and a Hall of Fame Speaker Inductee who shares his expertise in turning engagement opportunities into unforgettable experiences in education.

Why does Steve Spangler do all of this? His passion is to find the most creative ways to make learning fun. His methods might be unconventional, but the goal is to turn ordinary life lessons into unforgettable learning experiences.

Video: Steve Spangler Makes It Rain(bow)!

Rae Pica

Keynote Speaker, Early Childhood Keynote Speaker, Consultant, Author

Rae Pica Keynotes & Consulting

Rae has been an education consultant since 1980 and is the most-published author in the fields of children’s physical activity and active learning. A former adjunct instructor with the University of New Hampshire, she is the author of 19 books, including the textbook Experiences in Movement and Music (now in its 5th edition) and, most recently, What If Everybody Understood Child Development?: Straight Talk About Bettering Education and Children’s Lives.

Additionally, Rae blogs for Huffington Post, is a former columnist for Young Children, and is cofounder of BAM Radio Network (www.bamradionetwork.com), the world’s largest online education radio network, where she hosts Studentcentricity, interviewing experts in education, child development, play research, the neurosciences, and more.

Video:  The Importance of Movement in Early Childhood Education

Lillian Hubler

Keynote Speaker, President and Founder, Time to Sign, Inc.

Time to Sign, Inc. 

Lillian Hubler is the founder and President of Time to Sign, Inc., the foremost sign language trainer of young children’s educators, having trained more than 50,000 educators nationwide. She is a dynamic presenter who makes all her presentations engaging and fun, as well as educational. Participants are amazed at how much sign language they learn in a single enjoyable session.

Lillian is nationally known for her workshops and presentations because her passion for what does is undeniably visible. She has appeared on CNN, ABC, NBC, as well as being interviewed by Florida Today and the Washington Post. She has been the owner and director of a licensed Day care with 135 children aged from birth to 12 years old. She and her husband, Michael, have authored over 25 books.

Video:  How are you feeling?

Conference by the Sea Speakers

Dianna Aguirre

Quality Assurance Specialist, Maryland EXCELS

In her position with Maryland EXCELS, Dianna promotes and helps to implement quality childcare programs by training providers and programs on national and state accreditation standards. She maintains a database of participating and non-participating programs. Dianna collaborates with local agencies to improve equitable access to quality early care and educational programs.

Randi Albertsen

Owner, Innovations in Education, LLC

Randi has a B.S degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from Loyola College in Maryland. She has worked in early childhood settings for over 25 years. Randi’s experience includes school age care group leader, childcare center senior staff, family childcare provider, and public school Kindergarten and third grade teacher. For the past 16 years, she has been a licensed trainer in Maryland. Randi Albertsen owns Innovations in Education, LLC. Her company provides training and consulting services to the early childhood community. She is also a curriculum developer and serves as a coach and mentor to providers and program administrators. As an adjunct faculty member of Howard Community College, Randi helps to prepare future teachers for success in the early childhood field.

Angeline Bishop-Oshoko

Branch Chief, Office of Child Care – Credentialing Branch

Angeline Bishop-Oshoko is currently Branch Chief, Office of Child Care – Credentialing Branch. Ms. Bishop-Oshoko was previously the Operations chief. Prior to MSDE, she was the Family and Partnership Manager at the Howard County Head Start Program. She managed the TANF program at the Duchess County DSS for over 10 years.

Gerald Bolden

Program Director & Extended Day Auxiliary Manager, Wonders Early Learning and Extended Day

Gerald is the Program Director and Auxiliary Program Manager for Wonders Extended Day. He is a seasoned school age professional who has had a variety of leadership roles at Wonders during the past 14 years, including Curriculum Instructional Specialist and Camp Coordinator. Gerald’s 25 years of experience have been enriched by the connections he has made with children and families, and strengthened by effective communication and team work. These characteristics are the foundation of his training philosophy.

Gerald presented at the National After School Association Conference in 2017 and the Tri-State Camp Conference in 2016 and 2017.

Sara Bosley

Program Manager, Project Act, Inc.

Sara has served children, families and caregivers for over 19 years by creating innovative solutions to early learning systems and programs. She provides training to early childhood educators on learning standards and state regulations. In addition, Sara provides child-specific consultation services in early care and education programs at the request of the early care and education director with the consent of the child’s parents. She supports community revitalization and truancy efforts in Baltimore city in conjunction with 20 nonprofit agencies, and helped organize and plan a statewide early childhood conference.

Nancy P. Cahlink-Seidler

Training Coordinator/Training Specialist, MSDE Office of Child Care

In her role with MSDE, Nancy is responsible for overseeing 100+ state approved trainers and organizations. She clarifies policies and procedures and recommends approval or denial of trainers and training proposals. Nancy also coordinates and shares information with MSDE staff and branches on programs, regulations and policies that affect service delivery. She deals with programmatic issues, training and funding opportunities, and works closely with Credentialing and the MD Excels divisions. Nancy obtained an Early Childhood Mental Health Certification from the University of Maryland, earned her Master’s in Education/Business from Strayer University, and also has a Teaching Certification K-8 from Keene State College.

Coordinate and share information on programs, regulations and policies that affect service delivery to MSDE staff and Branches throughout the State of Maryland
Communicate and discuss programmatic issues, training, and funding opportunities
Work closely with Credentialing and MD Excels Divisions

Linda Carling

Senior Program Director for Learning, Engagement, and Design/Associate Research Scientist, Johns Hopkins University School of Education CTE

Linda Carling, EdD is the Senior Program Director for Learning, Engagement, and Design at the Johns Hopkins University School of Education Center for Technology in Education (CTE). In this role, she leads the team that designs, builds, and implements high quality learning experiences for a range of initiatives for general and special educators and early childhood providers statewide, including the professional development for Maryland’s Kindergarten Readiness Assessment and Early Learning Assessment. Prior to joining CTE, Dr. Carling was an elementary school teacher for a local school system, a curriculum developer and teacher for eSylvan, and a child care teacher.

Stephanie Cooper

Infant and Toddler Lead Specialist, Project ACT

Stephanie provides early childhood mental health consultation to teachers of children from birth to five. She also provides training and technical assistance to address curriculum and social-emotional development in early childhood educational settings. In addition, Stephanie is a trainer for Project ACT’s training Academy, helping to education childcare providers throughout Maryland.

Lisa Ann Dickinson

President of the Baltimore County Chapter of MSCCA

Lisa Ann Dickinson has been in the field of Early Childhood Education for 28 years. She has taught all levels of development from infancy through college. She spent many years in the classroom as a two-year-old teacher, pre-kindergarten teacher, and infant teacher and has worked in an administration capacity as an Assistant Director and Director. Mrs. Dickinson is currently the Education Coordinator for the Goddard School in Owings Mills. She has served in the past as a Board Member of the Maryland State Child Care Association and has been an active member of the Professional Development Committee for many years. She is currently the President of the Baltimore County Chapter of MSCCA.

Crystal Ey

President and Educational Director, LiteBrite LLC

LiteBrite LLC is an MSDE-approved training and consulting company. At the cornerstone of Crystal’s passion for providing the highest quality professional development is her dedication to children and families. LiteBrite LLC supports our early care community of providers and teachers in all 23 counties and Baltimore City. Crystal is proud to have partnered LiteBrite LLC with Johns Hopkins Center for Technology in Education to support the roll out of the Early Learning Assessment in Maryland. A graduate of Salisbury State University with a degree in Elementary Education, Crystal’s career spans over 23 years as a Harford County public school teacher, homecare provider, owner/operator of The Learning Express early learning program, MSDE Accreditation Validator and certified CLASS observer.

Jennifer Fernandez

Early Learning Project Manager and Trainer, Kiddie Academy

Jennifer works closely with the corporate team at Kiddie Academy to update various operations and educational manuals.  She contributes to newsletters and other communications regarding child development, maintains relationships with educational program vendors, coordinates all training sessions among franchisees and academy directors, as well as helping to ensure ongoing curriculum support and service to franchisees and the academy. Jennifer received an undergraduate degree from Towson University and a Master’s Degree from Capella University.

Gillian Gansler

Vice President, Quality Assist

Gillian Gansler is the Vice President of Quality Assist, an early education company based in Atlanta, Georgia. For over 30 years, Quality Assist has provided professional development, technical assistance and evaluation services to federal and state government agencies, private for-profit and nonprofit organizations, and individual child care and Head Start programs. Quality Assist has developed innovative e-learning professional development courses and systems that are currently being utilized by early education providers across the nation through Quorum, an early education e-professional development program. Quorum is an integral part of the workforce initiatives in Washington, DC. Quality Assist is the e-learning partner of Kaplan Early Learning Company.

Gillian has a Bachelors Degree and has worked in early education for over 20 years, including four years at the Georgia Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC affiliate).

Sheila George

Educational Trainer, LiteBrite, LLC

Sheila George graduated from Millersville University with a degree in Education. She has worked as a homecare provider, a preschool teacher and director, a before and after school group leader, a director and coordinator. Sheila has also been a Child Development Specialist and a Harford County public school teacher. She is currently a teacher mentor and coach, a certified PreK CLASS observer, and an adult educator. Sheila also works for Robert Leslie Publishing Company as a consultant and provides professional development training for their curriculum.

Sheila has enjoyed working with children and students of all ages in a variety of educational settings for over 25 years. She has been proud of her work with Johns Hopkins Center for Technology in Education, supporting the roll out of the Early Learning Assessment in Maryland and training trainers for the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment in Maryland and other states. Sheila’s work as an MSDE certified trainer allows her to share her passion for education with individuals dedicated to making a difference in the lives of children.

Sandra Graham

Director of Training, Kiddie Academy

Sandra Graham joined the Kiddie Academy Education Department in May 2017. She brings more than 25 years of experience in teaching, directing, and training in the field of early childhood education. Sandra holds a degree in Speech Language Pathology with a minor in Education. As Director of Training, she organizes the franchisee and director training programs, delivers training throughout the United States in person and via webinar, and develops new training modules for the Kiddie Academy System.

Morgan Horvath

Director, Abilities Network Project ACT

Morgan has been dedicated to meeting the needs of children and families for well over a decade. She completed her bachelor’s degree in psychology at Guilford College before pursuing a master’s degree in Early Childhood Special Education at Johns Hopkins University. Morgan spent many years working directly with children with a variety of disabilities in a special needs school setting, providing instruction and planning to meet their academic and behavioral needs. She also worked with children in their homes and communities as a Behavioral Support Counselor with Abilities Network. In spring 2012, Morgan joined the Project ACT team. She now leads the Project ACT team, ensuring that the providers and families they serve across the state of Maryland receive the high quality coaching and training needed so that children of all abilities can be successfully included in their community settings.

Laura Hutton

Associate Professor and Teacher Education Department Coordinator, Harford Community College

Laura Hutton is an Associate Professor and Teacher Education Department Coordinator at Harford Community College. She has taught a variety of ages including in a multi-age 3-5 year-old preschool classroom. She has a master’s degree in early childhood special education and is a proponent of relationship-focused care and developmentally appropriate practices.

Mary Beth Johnson

Quality Assurance Specialist, Maryland EXCELS

Mary Beth Johnson holds a BS Degree in Elementary Education/Early Childhood and has been in the Early Care and Education profession since 1987. She began her career in Pennsylvania as a Pre-K Teacher at a center in her hometown and eventually became the Director of Education at the center. After moving to Maryland, she was employed at the Council for Professional Recognition (CDA Program) in Washington, DC, as an Early Childhood Specialist/Trainer, where she remained for the next 17 years. Currently, Mary Beth is the Quality Assurance Specialist with Maryland EXCELS in Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot Counties on the Eastern Shore. Mary Beth lives in Queenstown with her husband, two children, one very active black lab, two cats, goldfish, hermit crabs and, occasionally, a rescued turtle.

Nicole Johnson

Accreditation Specialist, MSDE Division of Early Childhood

Nicole Johnson has a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Towson University. She launched her career as an educator within the Baltimore City Public School System teaching second grade for seven years. After that, she worked for Y Head Start Baltimore City at the Y of Central Maryland as the Director of Early Childhood Education and Health Services for 10 years. Currently, Nicole is the Accreditation Specialist for the Division of Early Childhood in the Maryland EXCELS Branch. Nicole is committed and excited to help Maryland programs use the Maryland Accreditation process as a tool for continued self-improvement.

John Lamb

Deputy Chief, MSDE Office of Child Care Subsidy

John is Deputy Chief of the Office of Child Care Subsidy. During his 30 year state career, he has been an advocate for children in need of quality child care and for promoting stability in a child’s early childhood development. In addition to John’s current position, he has worked directly with foster care children as the Assistant Director for a non-profit group home for 11 years, focusing on education and independency by 21. John is very passionate about helping children to become successful and about educating parents on other programs that may help stabilize the family and move them beyond the income limits of the Child Care Subsidy Program. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking and spending time with Peggy, his wife of 35 years.

Cathy Lancelotta

Conscious Discipline Certified Instructor

Cathy Lancelotta is a Certified Conscious Discipline Instructor and Director of Heritage Preschool at Heritage United Methodist Church in Overland Park, Kansas. Cathy has worked in the field of early childhood for 25 years and has been a Certified Conscious Discipline Instructor since 2006. Cathy holds a Bachelor’s Degree of Science in Family Life and Environment from Louisiana State University. She is a member of the ACEI (Association for Child good Education International), NAEYC, and Mid-America AEYC as well as the Christian Early Childhood Association of Greater Kansas City.

Debbie Langer

Training Approval Specialist, MSDE Office of Child Care

Debbie has a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Concordia University of Portland, Oregon and is also completed 9 semester hours of Guidance Counselor Graduate Training Courses,
Currently, Debbie is the Training Approval Specialist – MSDE Office of Child Care where she coordinates and shares information on programs, regulations and policies that affect service delivery to MSDE staff and branches throughout the State of Maryland. Debbie focuses on programmatic issues, training, and funding opportunities, and works closely with Credentialing and MD Excels divisions.

Meghan Leach-Gwynn

Quality Assurance Specialist, Maryland EXCELS

Meghan has an M.Ed in Early Childhood from Towson University and my BS in Early Childhood Program Administration from Cazenovia College in NY. She has been in the early childhood field for more than 15 years with experience teaching all age groups, the majority of her career spent as a center director. In 2017, she joined the Maryland EXCELS team as a Quality Assurance Specialist for Baltimore County.

Rosemary Lober

Quality Assurance Specialist, Maryland EXCELS

Rosemary is a graduate of Towson University with dual degrees in both early childhood and elementary education. She has spent more than 25 years in the field as a teacher, mentor, center director, and most recently as a Quality Assurance Specialist with Maryland EXCELS. Her focus is on ensuring best practices and offering guidance and instruction for children, families, and teachers. In addition to her formal position, she also serves on the Project Act Advisory Board as well as the Harford Community College Early Childhood Advisory Council. She continues to be immersed in realm of early childhood in her most important role…mom to two young boys.

Jill Lyons

Infant Toddler and Inclusion Program Specialist, Montgomery County Childcare Resource and Referral Center (MCCRRC)

In her role with MCCRRC, Jill responds to child care provider requests for individual technical assistance related to business development program improvements, and professional development. She also provides technical assistance aligned with Maryland EXCELS in the form of case management, site visits, phone calls, emails, and one-on-one meetings and group sessions. Jill also develops training modules for MSDE approval and delivers training to child care providers.

Isaac Meyer

Managing Partner, Compass Government Relations Partners

Isaac Meyer is a seasoned government relations consultant with ten years of experience working with nonprofits and corporations to meet their advocacy and public policy goals. Isaac is currently a Partner at Compass Government Relations Partners in Annapolis Maryland. Prior to that, he worked with Alexander & Cleaver; was a principal at INM Consulting, a management consulting firm focused on helping nonprofit organizations maximize their government relations operations; and served as Government Relations Manager for Service Corporation International (SCI) after successfully representing their interests in Maryland as a member of the Alexander & Cleaver team. Before joining SCI, Isaac was a government relations consultant for Alexander & Cleaver. Isaac regularly worked with clients to create their public policy agenda and secure state operating and capital budget funding.

Isaac is a graduate of Towson University in Maryland where he received a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. While at Towson University, he created the student legislative advocacy program on behalf of the Student Government Association. During his two-year term as Director of Legislative Affairs, Isaac cultivated relationships with champions in higher education and drafted the first student-written legislative agenda in the State of Maryland. Isaac graduated from the University of Maryland Smith School of Business with an MBA in June 2018.

Janice A. Nieliwocki

Child Care Specialist, Ronald V. McGuckin & Associates

Janice is a cum laude graduate of the University of Scranton where she obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree in Human Services.  Janice’s entire professional life has been focused in the field of education. Her career took a slightly different path when she joined Ronald V. McGuckin and Associates in January 2005. Bringing her practical classroom experience to the field of child care law, Janice now lectures nationally on various child care issues, including employment law, human resources, school readiness, and other theoretical and legal aspects surrounding early childhood education.  Janice is a contributing writer for The Child Care Professional Experience, a quarterly online journal for child care providers. She regularly assists clients with regulatory compliance including the writing of Plans of Correction when agencies are at risk for license revocation.  Janice received recognition from Pennsylvania Pathways and was awarded the status of Special Discipline Trainer (SDI-3243000).

Jennifer Nizer, M.Ed.

Director, Office of Child Care, Maryland State Department of Education

Jenn Nizer has her Master’s in Education from Towson University. She has spent the better part of two decades being an advocate for child care programs, teachers, children and families. She has been a Director for Johns Hopkins Bayview Child Development Center and adjunct faculty for CCBC colleges in Maryland. Jenn served as President of the Maryland State Child Care Association (MSCCA) for almost 7 years. She worked as a curriculum specialist in Florida and recently moved back to her home state to accept the position of Director of the Office of Child Care at the Maryland State Department of Education. Jenn’s Dad was a Maryland teacher and she is excited to be back in a leadership role in Maryland to make a difference for children and providers/teachers.

Nicole Pierre

Educational Trainer, LiteBrite, LLC

Nicole is an Educational Trainer for LiteBrite, LLC. She graduated from Louisiana State University with a degree in Communications and worked in the marketing field for several years before deciding to open her own family child care business. Nicole returned to college to pursue her degree in Early Childhood Education and expanded her work in the field of family child care by obtained accreditation by the National Associations for Family Child Care (NAFCC). After her career as a family childcare provider, Nicole has worked serving the childcare community assisting providers in providing quality child care from starting their business to achieving accreditation.

Nicole worked as a technical assistance specialist, training support, and training coordinator for the Maryland Child Care Resource Network for over 8 years and now works as an independent and contract trainer across the state of Maryland. In addition, she enjoys being an NAFCC observer and observer trainer supporting the field of family child care. Nicole continues to attend professional development workshops and develop training to meet the needs of the child care community in Maryland and at various conferences and events. She focuses on supporting diversity and inclusion, developmentally appropriate practice and professionalism in early childhood education. She has a passion for helping educators continually provide quality care and believes high quality personal development is the foundation of a well-rounded early educator.

Jane Plum

Conscious Discipline Certified Instructor

Sonia Pruneda-Hernandez

Professor and Early Childhood Program Coordinator, Montgomery College

Professor Sonia Pruneda-Hernandez is the Early Childhood Program Coordinator for Montgomery College Rockville and Takoma Park Campuses.  Sonia earned her M.S. from Nova Southeastern University and her B.A. from the University of North Florida.  She is a current doctoral candidate of early childhood education at Walden University.  Sonia started her career in early childhood education with the Navy Child Care Programs in Jacksonville, Florida and continued in the ECE field directing and training in Child Care Centers for the Department of Defense – Naval Support Activity Naples, Italy and then government centers in Rockville, MD.  She has worked extensively throughout her career assisting child care centers through the NAEYC Accreditation process.

Professor Pruneda-Hernandez is the Co-Advisor of the MC Early Childhood Education Club, which has received numerous awards.  She is one of the lead developers of the Advancing Child Care Teachers Towards Completion (ACCTTC) Initiative and is the MC Coordinator for the Maryland State Department of Education Child Care Career and Professional Development Fund.  Professor Pruneda-Hernandez has been teaching early childhood education classes at Montgomery College since 2006.  She was awarded the MC Faculty Outstanding Service Award in 2015 and the NISOD of Excellence Award in 2016.  Professor Pruneda-Hernandez was also the recipient of the American Association of Community College Dale P. Parnell Distinguished Faculty designation for 2018.  Her key role is supporting Early Childhood Educators with pathways that lead them to create high quality environments for young children birth through age 5.

Thea Quible

Quality Assurance Specialist, Maryland EXCELS

Thea Quible has been working in the field of early childhood education for the last 19 years. Early on in her career, she had the opportunity to impact children and families as a Pre-K teacher, child care center director as well as an early childhood coordinator while working with Early Head Start. More recently, Thea has had the opportunity to support early childhood educators while working as a Technical Assistant and Education Director with Arundel Child Care Connections. In her current role as a Quality Assurance Specialist for Maryland EXCELS, she is now able to impact the lives of children, families, AND early childhood educators! Her goal is to empower you so that you can be the best early childhood educator you can be and, in turn, impact the families and children enrolled in your programs.

Donna Satterlee, EdD

Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore

Donna works full time at the University teaching courses in Human Ecology and Child Development.  She has 20 years of experience as an early childhood development specialist focusing on experiential learning. Her research using the natural environment as a platform for learning to learn has led to several articles for the National Association for the Education of Young Children, coauthored by Grace Cormons. Donna is currently the president of the Eastern Shore Chapter of the Maryland Association for the Education of Young Children, hoping to advance the professionalism of early childhood education.

Lauren Spigelmyer

Executive Director, The Behavior Hub Non-profit

Having been in education for over 10 years, Lauren has the knowledge and experience to back her thoughts and to build quality, child-driven profiles for each client. Being an adventurer, Lauren loves to find nontraditional solutions and make sure that boundaries are being pushed.

Her passion for children and whole health inspired her to open The Behavior Hub Non-profit with the goal of teaching people how to communicate and connect with each other and children in a more dignifying way. She wants children to know how to lead their best lives in all domains of well-being (mental, emotional, and physical).

Syretha Storey, PhD

Director, NASA Goddard Child Development Center

Dr. Syretha Storey has been in the field of early childhood education for more than 30 years.  During this time, she has been a teacher, child care center director, trainer and family child care director.  She also has significant experience as a post-secondary educator.  Through her company, The Child Care Company, Dr. Story brings her knowledge and expertise to early childhood programs throughout the state as an MSDE approved trainer.  Dr. Storey is currently the Director of NASA Goddard Child Development Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.  She manages an online Directors group as a way to facilitate partnerships between center-based child care programs in the state of Maryland. Dr. Storey is also the President of the PG County Chapter of The Maryland State Child Care Association (PGMSCCA) and Secretary for MSCCA.

Kelly Summy

Project Administrator, Johns Hopkins University School of Education CTE

Kelly Summy is a Project Administrator at the Johns Hopkins University School of Education Center for Technology in Education (CTE). She focuses on creating and presenting professional development related to the Early Learning Assessment (ELA) and Kindergarten Readiness Assessment (KRA). Prior to joining CTE, Ms. Summy worked as an early childhood ESOL teacher, general educator, and interventionist in Baltimore City Public Schools. Ms. Summy studied linguistics and neurobiology at Harvard University and holds an M.S. in Education from Johns Hopkins University.

Lavonne Taylor

Owner and Director, Forest Hill Nature Preschool

Lavonne has been an early childhood educator for more than 20 years and worked in the public school system and the Archdiocese of Baltimore before opening her own center in 2013. She currently serves as the President of the Harford County Director’s Association, as an elected Member-at-Large on the Maryland State Child Care Association Board, and is a member of the Advisory Board for Abilities Network. Lavonne is dedicated to maintaining play in early childhood programs and is passionate about environmental education and nature play opportunities for children.

Kristen Thompson

IT Manager, Johns Hopkins University School of Education CTE

Kristen Thompson, M.S., is the Technical Project Manager at the Johns Hopkins University School of Education Center for Technology in Education (CTE). In this role, she manages CTE technology products, including the Ready for Kindergarten Online System and related technologies that support Maryland’s Kindergarten Readiness Assessment and Early Learning Assessment. Previously, she managed and supported the development and delivery of professional development initiatives at CTE. Prior to working at CTE, Ms. Thompson worked as a director of a youth program, as well as a child care teacher.

Marisol Torres-Crespo, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Hood College

Marisel N. Torres-Crespo is originally from Puerto Rico but moved to Maryland in 2012 to teach at Hood College in Frederick, MD.  She received her BA and MA degree in Elementary and Early Childhood Education from the University of Puerto Rico and her Ph.D. in Curriculum & Instruction Early Childhood Education from Penn State University.

She has been teaching at college level since 2002 in universities in Puerto Rico and also at Penn State. Her teaching style is a collaborative one, in which every member of the learning community has something important to add and share.  Everyone will learn from everyone.  She also worked as an Academic Consultant for Publishing Companies and Head Start. Her research interests are play, arts, gender roles, STEM in early childhood, multiculturalism, and lately, technology in the early years.

In addition to being an Associate Professor and Early Childhood Education Program Coordinator at Hood College, she is the Director of the Onica Prall Child Development Laboratory School. That gives her the “best of two worlds” – little kids in the morning and big kids in the afternoon! 

Lacey Tsonis

Assistant Deputy Director Resource and Referral Services, Maryland Family Network

Lacey has worked with children, families, and within the child care world for over 15 years. She started as a School-Age Director and Summer Camp Director, before moving on to the Howard County Child Care Resource Center as the Professional Development Coordinator. In her role at Maryland Family Network, she assists in the oversight and management of the Maryland Child Care Resource Network, as well as working tirelessly to advocate for the children, families, and early care and education professionals throughout Maryland. She received her Bachelor’s in Child & Family Studies from Albright College in Reading, PA.

Carlena Vaden

Trainer, MSDE and Founder, Divine Illumination Agency

Carlena Vaden holds a BA in Political Science from Morgan State University, a MEd from Strayer University with a concentration in management, and is pursuing an EdD in Education Leadership and Management from Capella University. She has provided leadership training and professional workshops for public and private educational organizations and at national conferences. Ms. Vaden has been highlighted in the Early Childhood Report, February 2017 issue on leadership and professional development. Carlena is also a Maryland State Department of Education approved trainer. It is her desire to see that all students are given the proper tools and support needed to be successful in their educational journey.

Carlena has over 15 years of experience in the education field and is currently in the dissertation phase of the doctoral program. She has led and pioneered several different school based and non-school based projects that increased leadership functionality and brought moral support to institutions. These projects included, but were not limited to, seminar sessions, consulting of leadership services, and educational consulting for instructional and managerial support.

Sharon Vance

Quality Assurance Specialist, Maryland EXCELS

Sharon holds a BS in Early Childhood Education and has been working with early childhood and school-age children in licensed care since the late 80’s as teacher, director, coordinator, trainer, advocate, and general jack of all trades. For the last five years she has been a Quality Assurance Specialist working with child care providers in Carroll County and around the state providing assistance with Maryland EXCELS and other quality improvement initiatives.

Robert Wagner

Education Program Specialist, MSDE Division of Early Childhood

Robert Wagner works in the Division of Early Childhood Development at the Maryland State Department of Education. As an Education Program Specialist, he oversees the implementation of the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment and the Early Learning Assessment. He works with the early childhood supervisor in each of the 24 school districts with grant funding for professional development. Prior to his current position, he worked with Anne Arundel County Public Schools as a teacher in general education and special education for 11 years before becoming an elementary school principal for 22 years. Mr. Wagner was the NAESP National Distinguished Principal for Maryland in 2011.

Rene’ D. Williams, M.Ed.

Branch Chief, MSDE Office of Child Care

Rene’ D. Williams, M.Ed., is the Chief of Child Subsidy for Maryland’s CCDF Lead Agency, the Maryland State Department of Education. Rene’ considers the Child Care Subsidy Voucher as “A Child’s First Scholarship” on their path to self-sufficiency and to becoming a life-long learner and contributor. Two decades of her work has focused on the management and implementation of State and/or County Child Care Subsidy (CCS) Programs and the provision of support services to those committed to advancing equal access to high quality, affordable, early care and education. Because she believes a solid educational foundation breaks generational-poverty and is the cornerstone for building a stronger nation, her primary interest is identifying child care subsidy barriers within four (4) key areas that impact continuity of care: Parents, Providers, Payment and Policy.

Andrea L. Zabel, M.Ed.

Quality Measurement Specialist, Maryland EXCELS

In her role as Quality Measurement Specialist with Maryland EXCELS, Andrea trains contracted assessors to reliability on the ITERS-R, ECERS-R, SACERS-u, FCCERS-R and Pre-K CLASS observation tools. She assigns assessors to conduct observations at programs participating in Maryland EXCELS. In addition, Andrea reviews, edits and sends site visit Summary Reports to programs. She participates in Maryland EXCELS Leadership Team projects, collaborates with statewide Quality Assurance Specialists, and represents Maryland EXCELS at state and local meetings and events.