2017 Annual Conference

Welcome to the Conference!

Download, view, and print a program here:
2017 FINAL conference program.

Learning today, Leading Tomorrow

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Student Union Memorial Center
1303 E. University Blvd.
Tucson, AZ 85719

SAZAEYC wishes to express our thanks to Deans Ronald W. Marx and Bruce Johnson as well as faculty and staff from the University of Arizona’s College of Education for sponsoring and supporting this conference.

Register by clicking the link above, or download the registration form, fill it out, and mail it to SAZAEYC Conference, PO Box 68475, Oro Valley, AZ 85737.


This year’s conference will meet in the Student Union with breakout sessions meeting in the College of Education building east of the Student Union.

  • 7:30 am – 8:15 am :: Registration / Networking / Exhibitor Hall
  • 8:00 am – 9:15 am :: Buffet Breakfast / Welcome / Speakers
  • 9:30 am – 11:00 am :: Morning Sessions
  • 11:15 am – 12:45 pm :: Mid-morning Sessions
  • 12:45 pm – 1:45 pm :: Lunch / Special Members Event
  • 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm ::  Afternoon Sessions


The rates outlined below include:

  1. A full 8 hours of professional development
  2. A hot buffet breakfast, including seasonal fresh fruit, scrambled eggs, bacon, home fried potatoes, french toast with butter and maple syrup, a selection of juices, Seattle’s Best regular and decaffeinated coffees, and Tazo teas.
  3. Choose from one of three boxed lunches with an assortment of bottled water and soft drinks, including diet
    • Turkey with brie and horseradish mayonnaise on a freshly baked croissant, along with herbed pasta salad, whole fresh fruit, and a chocolate chip cookie
    • (vegetarian) Avocado, sprouts, sliced tomatoes and cucumbers with cheese on multigrain bread, along with herbed pasta salad, whole fresh fruit, and a chocolate chip cookie
    • (vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free) Mixed green salad with avocado, sprouts, grape tomatoes,  edamame and cucumbers served with balsamic vinaigrette, roasted mushroom salad, and a fresh fruit cup


Register online by clicking the link above. Or download the registration form, fill it out, and mail it to SAZAEYC Conference, PO Box 68475, Oro Valley, AZ 85737. 

SAZAEYC Members: $65
Non-Members: $95
Student*: $55
On-Site Registration Add $10 to listed amount

*Student must provide current identification number. Undergraduate students must be enrolled in nine or more credit hours, graduate students in six or more credit hours, during the Fall 2017 semester to be eligible for the student rate.

SAZAEYC MEMBERSHIP The benefits of membership are endless, including discounts to all SAZAEYC events and this conference. Please contact sazaeyced@gmail.com. Your membership marks the true professional you are by being a part of this premier early childhood education organization.

To become a member, sign up online at www.naeyc.org/membership/join. When signing up for membership, be sure to check the “affiliate” box, and enter SAZAEYC so you can enjoy all the benefits of membership with your local affiliate, including SAZAEYC publications and invitations. For more information email sazaeyced@gmail.com.

A limited number of scholarships for this conference may be available to current SAZAEYC members.

REGISTER ELECTRONICALLY by clicking the link above. Only cash and checks will be accepted by mail. We will have one computer available at the conference for online payments, but cash and checks are recommended for speedier service that morning. Registration will be open until September 8, 2017.

REGISTER EARLY Session requests are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Are you a school district or organization paying with a purchase order? Contact registration by email at sazzyconference@gmail.com or call (520) 777-0867 to ensure all participants are registered without the delay of purchase order processing.

REGISTER BY MAIL Pre-registrations must be postmarked by Wednesday, September 6, 2017. Download the registration form, fill it out, and mail with your payment to: SAZAEYC Conference, PO Box 68475, Oro Valley, AZ 85737.

DIRECTIONS The University of Arizona Student Union is located south of 2nd St. on Mountain Ave. Look for conference signs and friendly volunteers to guide you to conference registration at the Student Union. Breakout sessions meet in the College of Education. Details will be posted on www.sazaeyc.org.

PARKING We recommend that you carpool with friends and colleagues to the conference. Effective July 2016, the 2nd Street garage charges an hourly rate, not to exceed $12 total. Please plan accordingly.

POCKET MONEY Attending the conference offers the opportunity to win door prizes. In addition, plan on bringing some cash to buy raffle tickets and exhibitor offerings.

NE, EE, NA, EA To assist you in making your choices, workshops use the following designations:

  • NE = suitable for New Educators
  • NA = suitable for New Administrators
  • EE = suitable for Experienced Educators
  • EA = suitable for Experienced Administrators

Click Here for a printable
2017 Conference Brochure

MORNING SESSIONS        9:30 am – 11:00 am

#A01  Dr. Bob’s Favorite New Picture Books (NE, EE, NA, EA)

The best and newest children’s picture books will be displayed and shared. Examples of their classroom use will be provided.

Bob Wortman has taught kindergarten/first grade for thirteen years. He was principal and Director of Title I, Early Childhood and Literacy programs in TUSD for eighteen years. He currently teaches undergraduate and graduate literacy courses at the University of Arizona and supervises Early Childhood student teachers.

#A02 Creativity with Upcycled Art (NE)

In this session, you learn how to design your art/craft classes based on desired outcomes. Foremost, you will design and sequence activities that ensure that students learn what you want them to learn while encouraging individual creativity. In addition, you will learn how to use less costly recycled and upcycled materials.

Andrea Edmundson, PhD in Education, has worked primarily as an adult educator for 20 years, teaching adults ways in which to better teach or train others. She currently works as the primary educator at Upcycle Tucson, a creative re-use center that opened Oct. 1, 2016, either teaching art and craft classes herself or helping local artists teach classes. Before returning to Tucson, she worked as an instructor at the U.S. Foreign Service Institute and as the CEO of eWorld Learning. She is also an accomplished mosaic artist, primarily using upcycled materials.

#A03 Devouring Books: Developmentally Appropriate Literacy Practices with Infants and Toddlers (NE, EE, NA, EA)

Join Make Way for Books in celebrating books and literacy with infants and toddlers. Be inspired to create a culture of literacy in your setting with some of our youngest readers. Gather to share ideas and resources to offer children access to books and other literacy materials continuously and encourage them to voraciously consume literature for pleasure.

Daniela Buchberger is pursuing a Master of Arts in Library and Information Science. Daniela’s early childhood education experience includes 20 years of working with children directly and 5 years of peer mentoring. She has facilitated professional development regarding emotional literacy for early childhood programs in 5 school districts. She has presented at the SAZAEYC Annual Conference and the United Way Spring Conference. (Este presentador habla español. Dieser Moderator spricht deutsch.)

Cynnamon Woodberry supports educators and families as a Make Way for Books Early Literacy Coach to create high-quality learning environments and foster children’s literacy and language skills. Using her degrees from the University of Arizona and the University of Phoenix, Cynnamon has supported educators in fostering best practice in their classrooms. She has worked with at-risk adolescents through youth diversion programs offered by Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona. In her work with Child and Family Resources, Inc., she provided support for sexual health awareness and resilience through the GRRRLS Project and also supported the First Things First Great Expectations grant through the infant toddler community of practice, Project BEST.

#A04 A Conversation that Will Bridge the Perceived Gaps between DHS, DES and the Quality Improvement Programs in Arizona (NE, EE, NA, EA)

This session will allow child care providers who are regulated/certified to understand how the quality improvement process supports, enhances and improves the quality of care for children 0–5 in their care.

Andrea Dekker, Child & Family Resources, Quality First; Carol Baker, Pima County Health Nurse; Lorie Jewett, Department of Economic Security; Lisa Emery, Child Care Licensing; Lela Messick, Easterseals Blake Foundation, Quality First; Brenda Mercado, Child Parent Centers, Early Head Start; Kathy Jacoby, Easterseals Blake Foundation, Quality First. This panel of experts has over 50 years of combined experience working in the field of early childhood both on the ground providing direct care for children and at the administrative level. (Este presentador habla español.)

#A05 Connecting through the Challenge: Using Intentional Connection with Hard-to-Reach Children (NE, EE)

What do you do when challenging behavior keeps you from having an individual connection with a child? When it feels like you’re not making progress in helping a child learn and practice self regulation? During this fun and interactive session, you will learn and practice direct, hands-on strategies to rebuild the connection, strengthen the relationship, and support children in developing and practicing their self-regulation.

Leona Pannabecker, LMSW, IMH-E®(III) has been the Mental Health Specialist at Child-Parent Centers, Inc. Head Start for eight years. She has a passion for promoting early childhood social and emotional development and positive, secure relationships between caregivers and children. Leona has experience as an infant, toddler, and preschool teacher, as a home visitor, and for the past ten years as a Mental Health professional with a focus on early childhood.

#A06 The Whys and Hows: Implementing STEAM into an Early Childhood Classroom (NE, EE, NA, EA)

Children possess a natural desire and innate need to master their environment. STEAM provides multi-sensory stimulation and hands-on experiences, the best conditions for optimal brain development! This bilingual presentation will provide a brief background showing how STEAM aligns with DAP and the latest brain research. It will provide fun hands-on demonstrations, authentic photo documentation and 50 STEAM ideas for you!

Meghann Kjolsrud works at Esmond Station K–8 School in the Vail School District where she teaches 1/2 Day Kindergarten and 1/2 Day KinderPlus for Community Programs. Meghann is currently pursuing a MED with a Specialization in Early Childhood Education. She is passionate about Early Childhood Education and opening doors of communication to enable educators to bring joy and peace to children.

Jane Metzger spent 40 years in the field of Early Intervention/ Early Childhood. Throughout her teaching career, she has served as a special educator, administrator, teacher trainer, inclusion specialist, family resource specialist and parent educator. Her passion continues to be engaging with families and interacting with their young children.

Ana Briceno teaches at Creation School. When not at school she is very active in her children’s elementary school serving on the PTA and spending time each week volunteering in the classrooms. (Este presentador habla español.)

#A07 “How Should I Say This?”: Tips for Holding Difficult Conversations (NE, EE, NA, EA)

Approaching challenging conversations with parents and peers is hard! In this lighthearted and insightful presentation, participants will be able to self-reflect on their personal intentions for holding specific conversations and will gain new ideas and skills for holding difficult conversations with more successful outcomes.

Tessa Brock is a passionate, engaging and inspiring presenter who tackles the tough topics about trauma, communication and positive guidance with a balance of expertise and humor.  Tessa has her Master’s degree, is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and has been the Mental Health Coordinator for Child-Parent Centers (Head Start) for over 16 years where a significant part of her role is supporting classroom teachers, home visitors, and parents with social emotional development for children, to include creating practices of prevention and intervention for children and families. Tessa has also been a Professional Development trainer for Child Parent Centers for many years and trains in many areas, to include Positive Guidance, and Reflective Practice and is a certified trainer for Crucial Conversations, CLASS PreK and Toddler. She is a statewide consultant and National Trainer.

#A08 Advocating for Children: Let’s Do This! (NE, EE, NA, EA)

In this presentation, participants will gain the tools and practice the skills needed to effectively advocate for young children in our community. Participants will learn about NAEYC resources available for advocacy, and gain perspective specific to Arizona from an experienced Arizona advocate. They will have the opportunity to craft an advocacy message, meet with a local community leader, and sign up for future meetings with elected officials and leaders in Southern Arizona.

Ben Alteneder is the Senior Director of Government Affairs for First Things First, as well as the Vice President of Public Policy and Advocacy for the Arizona Association for the Education of Young Children. Emilie Pechuzal is a teacher in an inclusive classroom at the Emily Meschter Early Learning Center in Flowing Wells School District, as well as the SAZAEYC Co-Vice President for Public Policy and Advocacy. Serina Holmes is a preschool teacher, a student, and a community activist. As a member of MEChA de U of A Serina participates in student organized activism for higher education, culture, and history. Ben, Emilie, and Serina are pleased to collaborate on behalf of AZAEYC and SAZAEYC, in order to create a unified voice for advocacy throughout Arizona.

#A09 Meeting LGBTQ and Two-Spirit Students in their Own Space and on Their Own Terms (NE, EE, NA, EA)

Finding effective ways to reach LGBTQ students can be challenging. When the students are members of the LGBTQ community they may bring more challenges. Our services and resources many times fall short of meeting their needs. However, creating a diversity club (i.e. GSA) can be extremely helpful in a school setting. This presentation aims to address those needs.

Melisa Mel taught English, Spanish, Severe Disabilities, and Prison Inmates for 30+ years. Her focus is on LGBTQ issues, vulnerable populations, policing issues, and first responder issues. She holds a BA in English, an MA in ESL, an MA in SPED/ED, and a PhD ABD in Psychology, has published eight books, and leads as the CEO, Founder, and President of her company “From Victim to Survivor, LLC”. Over the years, Mel has been nominated for various national awards and was recently awarded the 2017 AZ Woman of the Year Beth McDonald Award and the Triumph Over Tragedy 2017 AZ Governor’s Award. (Este presentador habla español.)

#A10 Inclusive Preschool: It Works! (NE, EE, NA)

It has been my joyful privilege to teach in the inclusive preschool setting for over ten years. I share some of the ways that I plan, assess the children, and carry out activities in this setting with tips on how to make it work well.

Jenny Lichtsinn is a preschool teacher for inclusive environments and director of the Continental School District in Green Valley Arizona. Jenny is currently working on a doctoral degree in early childhood education at the University of Arizona.

MID-MORNING SESSIONS        11:15 am – 12:45 pm

#B01 Materials, Stories and Bookmaking (NE, EE)

Using the format of Story Workshop, we will share the use of materials that generate children’s own stories and how a book of stories can be made.

Amanda Beekhuisen, Masters; Bookmaker, Artist, Writer, TCP Studio Teacher at Ochoa

Melissa Ellison, Experience with Story Workshop, 2nd Grade teacher at Ochoa

#B02 Keep Your Phones Out: Providing Engaging Professional Development Using Technology (NA, EA)

Learn how to use digital media and other technology to add life to your professional development sessions. Bring your smart phone!

Mona Qafisheh’s career in early childhood began as a toddler teacher in 2001. Over the last fifteen  years she has gained experience working in various teaching and leadership positions. Mona is currently the Quality Assurance Manager with First Things First and holds a Master of Education in Early Childhood Education from NAU. Mona delivers professional development to early childhood educators and leaders across the state. Her philosophy on professional development is that working with kids is fun, so professional development should be too.

#B03 The First 1,000 Days: Laying the Foundation for the Future (NE)

In this session participants will discuss the specific needs of infants and toddlers during the first three years of life. We will also focus on the adult’s role during each of the ages of infancy as well as how we can support healthy social-emotional development.

Connie Espinoza has been in the Early Care and Education field for over 20 years. In that time, she has worked as a family child care provider, family educator, and education specialist. In the last 12 years, however, Connie has had the privilege to work directly with child care providers offering professional development and technical assistance. She has presented at several local and state conferences and will be presenting at the NAEYC’s Annual Conference for the third time in November. (Este presentador habla español.)

#B04 “Is Sam Safe? Is She Sorry? Is She Making You Sad?” Rethinking How We as Adults Can “Use Our Words” for Maximum Meaning and Impact (NE, EE)

We will engage in a reflective discussion about common “go-to” phrases adults often use with children. When are these phrases necessary and how are they impacting the social and emotional growth of children? Are we, as caregivers, being heard? And are we truly listening? Child caregivers will gain an increased awareness about how to deliver words with maximum impact and meaning, so that children can follow suit!

Anna Mello-Lewis and Molly Knipe are Mental Health Consultants with the Smart Support Division through Easter Seals Blake Foundation. Anna holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and a Licensed Master’s of Social Work Degree. In addition to raising four children of her own, Anna has previous experience working as a teacher in the public school system and as a child and family therapist. Molly holds a bachelor’s degree in English, a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, and a Masters in Counseling Psychology. Prior to joining the Smart Support team she has worked as a school counselor, a high school psychology teacher, a writer, and a child and family therapist. They are both skilled collaborators, as anxious to learn as they are to teach.

#B05 Leadership as a Way of Thinking: Understanding the Vital Role You Play (NA, EA)

Discuss strategies and help identify leadership strengths and areas of growth to support practices for administrators, teacher engagement and relationship building with families. Learn strategies to promote creating an environment that empowers a sense of community, equity and collective impact. Embracing strengths based approach, that no matter where you enter the conversation, you can always continue to grow as a leader.

Leia Wilson, Patti Gleason and Stacey Utley connected through the Leadership in Action Program where they have since become skilled trainers in Early Childhood Education Leadership. Each of the participants has a reputation of leading skilled Early Childhood Development teams and improving the quality of care for children in the state of Arizona. Leia Wilson holds a B.S. in Sociology currently completing her M.A. Degree Forensics and Child Psychology; Patti holds a B.A. in Elementary Education and a M.A. in Early Childhood Education Curriculum and Instruction; and Stacey holds a B.B.A. in Business and a M.A. in Education.

#B06 The Importance of Children’s Work in the Block Area: Process over Product (NE, EE)

It’s a project in a play-based classroom, where students are able to practice language, math and social skills through building with blocks, Legos and unifix cubes.

Vanessa Rodriguez This presentation is based on a project done in a play-based classroom. It reminds us of the importance of children’s work and how much time they can put in a project, and how much learning occurs during the process.

#B07 It’s Not Just About “Behavior Management”: Strategies for Emotion Coaching and Increasing Self-Regulation (NE, EE, NA, EA)

Challenging behaviors can be difficult. It can sometimes be hard to know how to support a child in an intense moment. As educators, we strive to support children to learn to understand and regulate their powerful emotions. In this lighthearted and informative workshop, we will explore strategies for Emotion Coaching and increasing self-regulation skills.

Tessa Brock is a passionate, engaging and inspiring presenter who tackles the tough topics about trauma, communication and positive guidance with a balance of expertise and humor.  Tessa has her Master’s degree, is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and has been the Mental Health Coordinator for Child-Parent Centers (Head Start) for over 16 years where a significant part of her role is supporting classroom teachers, home visitors, and parents with social emotional development for children, to include creating practices of prevention and intervention for children and families. Tessa has also been a Professional Development trainer for Child Parent Centers for many years and trains in many areas, to include Positive Guidance, and Reflective Practice and is a certified trainer for Crucial Conversations, CLASS PreK and Toddler. She is a statewide consultant and National Trainer.

#B09 There Is No “I” In Inclusion (NE, EE, NA, EA)

Sometimes it feels like “us” and “them” when it comes to inclusion. We’ll offer two critical perspectives to ensuring inclusion is a team effort, as well as guide critical thinking to create inclusive classroom settings.

Erin Aguilar is an Inclusion Specialist and Educator for the Easter Seals Blake Foundation. She coordinates the Inspire Inclusion Community of Practice, part of the UWSA/FTF Great Expectations Professional Development Grant, promoting and supporting inclusive practices in early childhood programs. She is passionate about advocating for children with special needs and supporting teachers in creating classrooms that provide the necessary access, participation and support for full inclusion.

Adiba Nelson is author of the children’s book Meet ClaraBelle Blue, and forthcoming 50. Adiba is also a contributing writer with online magazines Everyday Feminism, My Brown Baby, and The Huffington Post, as well as a columnist with the local paper Tucson Weekly. She is an active voice in the Body Positive community, and recently gave her first TEDx talk. As a parent to a child with cerebral palsy, she is also a staunch advocate for inclusion in all facets for individuals with special needs.      

#B10 Wellness Education Taught Through Holistic Modalities (NE, EE, NA, EA)

Teachers and administrators working with young children will learn basic wellness modalities which have been shown by research to be effective in contributing to health and wellness through a holistic approach. These modalities include: Tai Chi Chih; often referred as “Joy through movement”, it is easy to learn and it can be done sitting or standing. Finger Holds for balancing emotions. Pal Dum Gum (yoga and Tai Chi chih) movements for energy flow, and Leadership dance.

Candy Kennelly: I feel it is important to remember every child is unique with individual learning styles, diverse abilities and backgrounds. It is my role to promote wellness through holistic modalities to improve learning, mental focus, and to promote emotional balance. I earned my degree in Early Childhood Development through the College of Education at Northern Arizona University and studied under Patricia Mathes Cane, Ph. D. Founder of Capacitar International a project in Multicultural Education that focuses on health and wellness for young children.

AFTERNOON SESSIONS        2:00 pm – 3:30 pm

#C01 On the Write Path (NE, EE)

Young learners begin to develop “writers’ voices” as they experience the joy of language, the fun of writing, and the confidence of authorship. In this session, you will learn easy and practical ways to encourage collaborative writing in your centers as well as how to incorporate “quick write” activities during found moments of your day. You will also explore and evaluate examples of quality children’s literature that will inspire conversation, dictation, and independent writing.

After earning her B.A. in Psychology and a California Teaching Credential from Occidental College, Debbie Lingrey taught lower primary grades in Arizona and Texas, and then taught pre-K for 15+ years in Houston, Texas. As part of her ongoing work with Rice University’s early literacy outreach program, School Literacy and Culture (SLC), she taught the Summer Creative Writing Camp classroom for entering kindergartners for seven years. Debbie continues to consult with SLC and co-leads “Writing Across the Curriculum,” an annual three-day SLC summer workshop for teachers of young children.

#C02 Engaging Young Children in Dynamic Thinking (NE, EE)

Systems thinking is a valuable set of skills that allows students to organize and expand their thinking. This session will introduce and showcase the impact of several systems thinking visual tools on the cognitive and emotional development of young children. Participants will see examples of how children use tools that help them make connections, draw patterns of change over time, and identify how actions produce consequences.

Jennifer Dooley is currently a kindergarten teacher. She has taught at the preschool through middle school levels with a majority of her teaching years spent working in early childhood (PreK–2nd). She has participated and shared strategies and techniques for incorporating Systems Thinking in early childhood education through webinars as well as at national and local conferences.

#C03 Making Connections between Mathematics and Literacy (NE, EE, NA, EA)

This session will explore fun and interactive ways to create powerful connections between mathematics and literacy that support school readiness.

Esther Leyva-McGee: I have more than 25 years of experience in early childhood and am currently employed at Child-Parent Centers as an Education Specialist. I earned an A.A.S. in Early Childhood Education degree through Pima Community College, B.A.S. in Early Childhood Education at the University of Arizona and am currently working on a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership with an emphasis on Early Childhood Education at Northern Arizona University. I am passionate about mathematics in early childhood education and committed to the understanding of mathematical concepts and how young children best learn these concepts. My dream is to say goodbye to rote memorization of mathematical facts forever and enter a new era of exploring ways that mathematics can be rigorous, fun and creative for young children and teachers! (Este presentador habla español.)

#C04 Neurons in the Nursery: How Infants and Toddlers Learn STEM Concepts through the Six Discoveries of Infancy (NE, EE)

This engaging session will take participants on a journey of discovery through the lens of infants and toddlers. Participants will consider how the six Discoveries of Infancy—Learning Schemes, Cause and Effect, Use of Tools, Object Permanence, Spatial Awareness, and Imitation—support STEM learning and development in the infant and toddler years.

Amber Jones is an early education consultant bringing more than a decade and a half of experience working with infants and toddlers. She is a past SAZAEYC and AZAEYC board member, a First Things First Pima North Regional Partnership Council Member, and Coordinator of the Infant and Toddler Community of Practice with Great Expectations for Teachers, Children, Families and Communities. She is a certified Program for Infant Toddler Care Facilitator and mother to two young children.

#C05 Why the Seven Essential Skills Are So Essential (NE, EE, NA, EA)

Download the handouts here.

This workshop will introduce participants to the 7 Essential Life Skills as written in Ellen Gallinsky’s Mind in the Making. Specific focus will be given to the research behind this work and the links between these skills and executive functions. We will draw connections between how the 7 Essential Life Skills support our lives as adults, and why they are essential for developing children.

Shannon Warren is a doctoral student in Family Studies and Human Development at the University of Arizona’s Norton School. Shannon has 15 years of professional experience in education that includes teaching in elementary and early childhood, as well as strengths-based quality improvement coaching and professional development facilitation. Shannon strives to bring child development research to the adults who work directly with children.

#C06 Classrooms Where Foster Children Thrive: How Teachers Can Use Trauma Informed Care to Nurture These Unique Learners (NE, EE)

Learn some of the experiences that shape foster children’s lives, and how these experiences influence them as early learners. We will talk about how early trauma and attachment disruptions affect behaviors in the classroom, and how teachers can provide corrective experiences and nurturing environments for foster children. We will also explore ways teachers can forge relationships with guardians so that they can help advocate for these vulnerable children.

Molly Knipe holds masters degrees in creative writing and counseling psychology. She currently works with Smart Support as an early childhood mental health consultant, and has also worked as a school counselor, a high school psychology teacher, a writer, and a child and family therapist. As a child and family therapist, Molly spent seven years working with children and families involved in the Arizona foster care system.

#C07 Powerful Presentations (NE, EE, NA, EA)

Powerful Presentations is an interactive workshop where participants will learn the fundamentals regarding the creation and delivery of a topic to a large audience. Participants will learn strategies to engage the adult learner such as brain-based interactions, hook, slide presentation, body language, gestures and overall maintenance of an audience.

Michelle Gallagher received her Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education with a minor in Communications from the University of Oklahoma and a Master’s Degree in Special Education from Charleston State University. In her professional career, she taught pre-K, Kindergarten, First, Second and Third grade over the course of twenty years. She also taught Brain Based Teaching at the University of Central Oklahoma for six years. Currently, she is the Home Based Coordinator at Child Parent Centers. One of her responsibilities include developing meaningful and purposeful trainings for the Family Educators within the agency. She has also developed and delivered trainings for administrators and for use across the entire agency. As a trainer, Michelle’s focus has always been on creating a useful, interactive and fun training. Her hope is for participants to walk away with meaningful information that can be used immediately, all while having a great deal of fun!

Juliana Olivarez received an AA in Pre-School Education from BYU Idaho and a BAE in Elementary Education from Arizona State University. She continued her education, obtaining an English Language and Early Childhood Endorsement. She is currently working on a Master’s Degree in Deaf Studies. In her professional career, she has taught preschool and kindergarten for 19 years both in the private and public sectors. She currently works as a Curriculum Coach at Head Start, working with classroom staff who teach 3–5 year olds and Family Educators who work with children from birth to five years of age. Her role includes preparing and implementing curriculum experiences, identifying and attending community field trips, behavior management, individualization and parent engagement. She has created and presented many trainings and workshops to increase the knowledge and implementation of staff. Over the year, she has found out just how important it is that trainings and presentations are hands on, engaging learning experiences in which staff walk away with information or learning experience that they can use immediately.

#C08 Creating the Play Space: Provocations, Materials and the Environment (NE, EE, NA, EA)

Explore ways to incorporate open-ended, process-focused materials and experiences into your program. Learn how to collect recycled and natural materials, while embracing materials already available to you.

McKenzie DeCoite is a Mixed-Age teacher at Valley View Learning Center. She has her degree in Early Childhood Education from Western Washington University. Her teaching passions include Reggio-Inspired learning environments, parent relationships and project-based curriculum.

#C09 Trauma, Resilience and Self Care—OH MY! (NE, EE, NA, EA)

Do you ever feel frazzled and exhausted by supporting those who have been impacted by trauma? Staff often experience frustration and burnout when dealing with challenging behaviors that are a result of trauma. In this interactive and empowering session, we will explore the key concepts of trauma and resiliency while addressing the critical aspects of self care, and how to implement them for ourselves, as well as with those we support.

Tessa Brock is a passionate, engaging and inspiring presenter who tackles the tough topics about trauma, communication and positive guidance with a balance of expertise and humor.  Tessa has her Master’s degree, is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and has been the Mental Health Coordinator for Child-Parent Centers (Head Start) for over 16 years where a significant part of her role is supporting classroom teachers, home visitors, and parents with social emotional development for children, to include creating practices of prevention and intervention for children and families. Tessa has also been a Professional Development trainer for Child Parent Centers for many years and trains in many areas, to include Positive Guidance, and Reflective Practice and is a certified trainer for Crucial Conversations, CLASS PreK and Toddler. She is a statewide consultant and National Trainer.

#C10 Building Bricks for Student Engagement and Motivation (NE)

Delivering practical, powerful, research-based strategies for student engagement and motivation. Learn core components to maximize student’s growth and individual success.

Adrienne Barker has over 35 years in business, speaking and educational training. Adrienne is certified to teach Instructional Strategies for Student Motivation and Engagement. Adrienne delivers with passion and power. Adrienne is the host of the radio show Adrienne’s P’s & Q’s. Adrienne is also an International Etiquette and Protocol Consultant.

#C11 Higher Education: Finding Your Path (NE, EE, NA)

Taking the next step in your educational journey can sometimes feel overwhelming. You may wonder: What are the differences between the ECE degrees offered at community colleges and universities? What do all those acronyms mean? How do I even start? In this interactive and informative session, participants will learn about a few differences between ECE degrees that are offered in the Tucson community. Time for questions and answers will be offered to provide an opportunity for participants to ask questions about ECE programs available at Pima Community College and the University of Arizona. Participants will have the opportunity to engage in personal professional planning, reflect on their long term professional goals, short term next steps, and use the information from the session to create an intentional plan of study. This session will provide the information, tools, and motivation you need to take the next step in your professional journey!

Donna Jurich is the director of early childhood and elementary education programs in the College of Education at the University of Arizona. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Arizona in teaching and teacher education. While her primary focus has been preparing elementary educators since returning to Arizona in 2008, she has been on a very steep learning curve on early childhood education. She thanks all the members in the Southern Arizona early childhood community—program directors, teachers, coaches, and colleagues—who have graciously provided mentoring. Currently, Donna is a member of the Pima Community College ECE Advisor Committee and First Focus on Kids.

Donna Cohn graduated with a BS in Sociology/Social Work/ Religion/Philosophy from Catawba College in Salisbury, North Carolina; completed a Masters in Organizational Management in 1994 from University of Phoenix and a Masters in Early Childhood Education in 2010 from NAU. She has been in the field of Early Childhood since 1984, and is currently the Child Development Associate Program Coordinator at Pima Community College, having worked at PCC since 1995.  She believes that it is vital to provide an educational foundation that all children, parents and educators can be proud of today, tomorrow and in the future.

Monica Brinkerhoff is a life-long learner and champion of leadership in ECE. She has been in many roles in the early childhood system: parent, early childhood teacher, child care center director, early childhood quality improvement and professional development coordinator, and adjunct faculty at Arizona State University School of Social Work, the University of Arizona, and Pima Community College. She works to build organizational and individual capacity through mentoring, coaching, advocacy, and engaging professional development. She serves as the Director of Organization and Employee Development at Child-Parent Centers, Inc. where part of her role is to help connect teachers to degree programs. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Utah and a Master’s of Social Work from Arizona State University.


#C12 The Arizona Early Childhood Career and Professional Development Network—Navigating the Website and Using the Tools (NE, EE, NA, EA)

The Arizona Early Childhood Career and Professional Development Network is an integrated professional development system for all Arizona early childhood professionals working with and on behalf of young children. In this presentation, we will cover the components of the Network, focusing particularly on the Workforce Knowledge and Competencies, and how they identify the basic knowledge, skills and abilities needed for professionals across all sectors of the early childhood field.

Kristine Nishimura: I am a Regional Outreach Coordinator for the Arizona Early Childhood Workforce Registry, serving the Cochise, Pima and Santa Cruz Counties. In addition to working in the higher education field, I have over 10 years of experience in the early childhood classroom as a lead teacher. I hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Education and am currently pursuing my Master’s Degree in Early Childhood at the University of Arizona.

Dawn Wilkinson: I am a the Professional Development System Specialist for First Things First. Over the past 21 years, I have gained experience as a teacher, director, instructor, and now state leadership. My Bachelor’s degree is in Elementary Education with a concentration in Early Childhood and a Minor in Business Administration and my Master’s degree is in Early Childhood Education.

 TWO HOUR SESSIONS       9:30 am – 12:45 pm

#D01 Reimagining Literacy with Perspective, Music, and Culture (NE, EE, NA, EA)

Experience a very active and joyful session that will show you how to elevate the learning of children and adults with organic and research-based strategies. Learn how to embrace multiple perspectives and be honoring to bilingual settings as we build thinking and language skills.

Enrique Feldman is the founder and director of education for the Global Learning Foundation, (www.globallearning.foundation) formerly the F.A.M.E. Foundation. He is also a public speaker (www.enriquecfeldman.com) and a performing artist (www.hankfeldman.com). He has been an innovative leader in early childhood education since 2001. He leads many workshops and keynotes across the country, including the keynote for the 2017 International Literacy Association, the keynote for the 2017 New York AEYC, and the Keynote for the 2017 North Carolina AEYC. (Este presentador habla español.)

#D02 Learn the Signs. Act Early. Understanding Developmental Milestones, Autism and Quick Tips for Talking with Parents (NE, EE, NA, EA)

Learn the Signs. Act Early. materials enhance parent-engaged developmental monitoring and have been shown to change parent behavior. Over 90% of families said that LTSAE materials encouraged them to take action if they ever had a concern about development, said LTSAE made them more likely to contact their child’s doctor if they had a concern, said LTSAE made them more likely to contact early intervention services if they had a concern. This training is designed to provide tools that may improve parent engagement in services aimed at improving developmental outcomes.

Kyle Lininger graduated from Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College of Education and Human Development and the College of Arts & Science with baccalaureate degrees in cognitive studies and Spanish literature. In 2012 Kyle earned a master’s degree in public administration from the School of Government and Public Policy at the University of Arizona. He is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and delivers ABA services to children (ages 2–21) on the autism spectrum. He is Director of Behavioral Intervention Services at Intermountain Centers for Human Development. He serves as Arizona’s Act Early Ambassador for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, State Representative for Autism Society of America, and is a Commissioner with the City of Tucson’s Commission on Disability Issues. (Este presentador habla español.)