Pat Adams has worked in early childhood education for over 20 years, earning a Bachelor of Science in Community Recreation Programs, an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education and a Masters Degree in Human Development. She started her career as a classroom aid in Dillon, Colorado, enrolling in Early Childhood Education classes and moving up to Co-Director and Head Teacher. She moved to Montana with her family to continue her education, while also working in the preschool at the University of Montana. Pat has worked with all age groups of children, from infants to school-age children and their families. For the past 11 years, she has taught Early Childhood Education classes for the University of Montana-Western in Missoula.

Course authored:

  • What's With This Biting?

Anita Bauer has been passionate about Early Childhood Development and Education since the birth of her first child. During the following 32 years, she has added four more children to her flock and dedicated her time to offering high quality learning experiences to many families in the community as child care provider, preschool teacher, and mentor/coach to other Early Childhood Professionals. Along the way, she pursued her dream and received a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. Besides working full time as an Early Childhood Trainer/Professional Development Specialist III and STARS Consultant for Human Resources and Development Council, District 7, in Billings, she also teaches online Early Childhood Courses for the University of Montana Western.

Course authored:

  • No Child Left Inside

Laura Baus has been with the Montana's Immunization Program for over 13 years, as a Health Education Specialist. Prior to that time she was a high school social science teacher and varsity soccer coach at a private high school in Helena, MT.

Laura also has over 7 years of adult education experience as the manager of the Medical Laboratory Internship Program while station at Andrews Air Force Base and the New Haven Military Entrance Processing Station.

She holds a Master's of Science degree in Health Science and a Master's in Health Administration.

Course authored:

  • Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases & Immunizations

Renee Bentham holds a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and a Master's in Education in Curriculum and Instruction. She began her career in early childhood in 1992 as a family child care provider in Minneapolis, Minnesota. From there, she has worked as an Accreditation Coordinator, an in-home consultant for providers, and finally as the Department Manager for the Child Care Resource and Referral agency serving Minnesota's most heavily populated county. Through this work, Renee has had unique opportunities to see early childhood issues from urban, rural, immigrant and refugee perspectives. She has worked with Southeast Asian immigrants and refugees who faced cultural and language barriers with receiving child care; bringing these barriers to the attention of policymakers and funders. In the past, Renee worked for Child Care Resources as the Provider Services Coordinator, where she oversaw and developed training and resources for child care providers. She currently works as an adjunct faculty in the Early Childhood Program at the University of Montana – Western and as a coach/mentor for students who are pursuing AAS and BS degrees in that program.

Course authored:

  • Terrific Twos: A Survival Guide
  • The Image of a Child: Intro to Project Approach

Dr. Julie Bullard is a professor of early childhood education at the University of Montana and the author of the book, Creating Environments for Learning: Birth to Age Eight. The book has been translated into several languages and is used throughout the world. She has provided workshops on environments around the country. Julie is a professor of early childhood education at the University of Montana. She has been facilitating adult learning for over 30 years as a CDA trainer, workshop presenter, and college professor. Julie has been recognized for her innovative teaching methods through two national awards; the Carnegie Professor of the Year for Montana and the 2015 National Early Childhood Educator of the Year by the National Association for the Teachers of Early Childhood Education.

Courses authored:

  • Outdoor Environments

Kati Burton is a registered dietitian nutritionist who loves to help families, caregivers, teachers, and fellow medical providers become reacquainted with preparing and enjoying wholesome food, understanding nutrition, and feeling their best! She currently works for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes as a Guided Care Dietitian and as a private consultant offering nutrition therapy and a number of preventative events and workshops to keep Montana families accessing and eating quality, nourishing foods. Kati’s background includes everything from getting her hands dirty on teaching farms, educating children about fruits and vegetables in classrooms, and providing medical nutrition therapy for the simplest to more complex needs. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA and completed her dietetic internship and supervised practice at Montana State University.

Course authored:

  • FY20 CACFP Director's Training
  • Growing Healthy Youngsters from Seed to Plate
  • Lil’ Kids Cook Too!
  • The Sweet and Sour on Sugar

Tom Copeland has worked in the family child care field for over 35 years. He is a consultant, attorney, trainer and advocate for family child care providers across the country. He is the author of ten books on the business of family child care. He lives in St. Paul, Minnesota with his wife.

Course authored:

  • Family Child Care Contracts and Policies
  • Family Child Care Marketing
  • Family Child Care Record Keeping and Taxes

Cathy Costakis holds a Bachelor's degree in Finance from the University of Illinois and a Master's degree in Health Promotion from Montana State University-Bozeman. Currently, she is the Physical Activity Coordinator for the Montana Nutrition and Physical Activity program (NAPA). NAPA is a statewide obesity prevention program, funded through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), located at MSU. Cathy is responsible for building partnerships statewide to implement evidence-based strategies that address environmental and policy approaches to promoting and supporting physical activity and reducing time spent in front of the television. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the National Society of Physical Activity Practitioners in Public Health and is a member of her local planning board.

Course authored:

  • Young Children Growing Up in the Digital Age

Grace Decker has a Bachelor of Arts in Educational Studies from Brown University. Grace is a Zero to Five Strategic Collaboration Coordinator at the United Way of Missoula County. She was a teacher for 8 years, director, program coordinator, and a youth education specialist. Well versed in a plethora of technical programs, Grace has also volunteered with a variety of organizations including Northside/Westside Neighborhood Leadership, Clark Fork Coalition, Missoula Urban Demonstration Project, Missoula Community Food Co-op, ASUM “Walk-and-Roll”, Zootown Arts Community Center, Home Resource, Missoula Food Bank, Montana Food Bank Network, Missoula Downtown Association, Spirit at Play, and Missoula International School. Grace is a music lover and musician.

Course authored:

  • Gettin' Out There: The How, Why, and Where of Field Trips
  • Together We Grow

Darla Dexter holds a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education. Darla is a Wellness expert for the Montana Project LAUNCH Initiative, MT DPHHS, and the Childhood Services Bureau. She has been a youth development director, paraprofessional, substitute teacher, and a general manager. Darla led state agencies in building infant and early childhood mental health systems and managed the YMCA summer camp for school aged children.

Course authored:

  • Developmental Screening: Develop a process to identify and support individual child development, promote family engagement, and enhance program quality

Khristi Drabbs holds an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education from Dawson Community College and is steadily working towards completing her B.S degree through the University of Montana-Western through online courses. Khristi has worked in the Early Childhood field for about 30 years in various capacities—including her own Family Group Child Care for over 10 years where she is proud of having attained a STAR level 3. She currently works for Hi-Line Home Programs, Inc. as the CACFP Technician and as a Family Support Specialist Assistant for Early Intervention Services. Khristi has facilitated courses for Child Care Training since March 2016 and enjoys helping the providers learn and improve their practices. Khristi and her husband have 5 children, and 2 grandchildren. While her husband and son farm, she and their youngest son raise bum calves and have built up a small cow herd. In her free time (who are we kidding—she has no free time!) she enjoys camping in her retro motor home bus, arts and crafts of many kinds, spending time with her family and friends, and Diet Coke.

Course authored:

  • The Importance of Healthy Fats fo Developing Minds and Bodies

Kaitlyn Emnett is enrolled in the University of Montana's Doctor of Physical Therapy Program. She has a Bachelor's degree in Exercise Science from Eastern Washington University. She has a particular interest in Prevention and Wellness Education, and plans to work with a neurological population as a licensed physical therapist.

Courses authored:

  • Childhood Obesity

Dr. Sue Forest has been involved in the field of early childhood and family for over 4 decades. Over the decades she has been a family day care provider, preschool teacher and director, home interventionist, Early Head Start trainer and consultant, Family Development Specialist, Infant and Toddler Mental Health Specialist, Graduate Faculty in Department of Psychology for Early Intervention Training Program, and Developmental Disabilities Evaluator.

Course authored:

  • Active, Curious, Willful, Unpredictable Two-Year-Old Children
  • Deliberate Designs - Learning and Play Environments
  • Inexpensive, Safe, Learning and Play Activity Tips from Ms. Sue!
  • Observation: The Why, What, When, Who, Where, How, and Then

Jeri Fowler began her teaching career as a multilevel K-4 teacher for a rural public school in Montana. She worked in the public school system for 6 years. Jeri’s belief in individualized hands on learning for each child brought her to Montessori education. She worked for a Montessori school for 9 years and learned valuable concepts and techniques for improving the development and growth of young children. Her passion for teaching and sharing what she has learned has led her to her current position at the Human Resource Development Council. Her current positions are Early Childhood Specialist, Professional Development Specialist (trainer), New Provider Specialist, Mini Grant Specialist and Inclusion Specialist. She holds a Master’s of Science in Psychology with a specialization in Child and Adolescent Development, a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and a Montessori Teaching Certificate in Early Education 3-6 year olds. Jeri truly enjoys working with and supporting the teachers and providers in Montana.

Courses authored:

  • Montessori Math: What is it anyway?
  • Pathway to Kindergarten

Autumn Gaylor is an Occupational Therapist who was born and raised in northern Illinois. Autumn has experience providing occupational therapy services in diverse clinical and community-based settings ranging from pediatrics to geriatrics and everything in-between. She has worked with children and adults with a multitude of developmental and acquired disabilities to ensure the highest quality of life through use of evidence-based practice. Autumn received her Masters Degree in Occupational Therapy at the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee and spent the following 4 years traveling the United States as a traveling therapist for Advanced Medical, growing her knowledge and expertise in the OT practice. She is dedicated to improving the lives of others and providing the highest quality of care to all populations.

Courses authored:

  • Introduction to Skilled Therapy in a Care Provider Facility and Red Flag Warnings

Michael Gurian is a marriage and family counselor in private practice and the New York Times bestselling author of thirty-two books. As a social philosopher, he has pioneered efforts to bring neuro-biology and brain research into homes, schools, corporations, and public policy. He has worked extensively in Early Childhood programs as consultant and trainer. The Gurian Institute, which he co-founded in 1996, conducts research internationally, launches pilot programs, and trains professionals.

Courses authored:

  • Behavior and Classroom Management Through a Gender Lens
  • How Boys and Girls Learn Differently
  • Strategies for Teaching Our Youngest Boys and Girls

Lucy Hart Paulson, Ed. D., CCC-SLP, is a speech and language pathologist who has worked in public schools for many years , while maintaining a private practice specializing in the treatment of phonological disorders in young children. As an assistant research professor in the School of Education, she shares responsibilities for teacher training, supervising, outreach work, and research. She is the project director for an emerging literacy grant in the Division of Educational Research and Service at the University of Montana -Missoula . The project has developed a model that facilitates the development of emerging literacy skills in language and emerging literacy development , sharing developmentally appropriate activities that enhance emerging literacy skills in young children. She currently manages the Western Montana Scottish Rite Childhood Language Disorders Clinic at the University of Montana, which serves young children with communication challenges.

Courses authored:

  • Hickory Dickory Dock: Talk About Phonological Awareness
  • Literacy-Rich Child Care Environments
  • Print in Preschool

Christy Hill has a Bachelor of Science Degree from Washington State University and has worked in the field of early childhood education in a variety of capacities for thirty-four years. Her experience includes working as a lead teacher in a private non-profit child care center, a Head Start teacher, a Head Start home visitor, the director of a child care center, an early childhood consultant and trainer, an early childhood advocate, and the Executive Director of the Montana Head Start Association. Currently, she is a special projects coordinator for the Early Childhood Project at MSU.

Couse authored:

  • Introduction to the Pyramid Model

Deb Huestis holds Bachelor Degrees in Child Development and Family Relations and Cognitive Psychology from the University of Idaho. She has been involved in the Early Childhood Care and Education field for 19 years. She started her career as a preschool teacher and has worked her way through Education Coordinator of a Children's Museum, Early Childhood Core Instructor for UM Western, coordinator for Montana's Early Learning Guidelines Birth – 36 months, and is currently a PDS III for Child Care Solutions MT.

Courses authored:

  • Fundamentals of Family, Friend, and Neighbor/Relative Care Exempt Providers Orientation
  • LCP Orientation
  • Making Math Count
  • STARS to Quality Essentials

Alisha Johnson has a degree in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Rochester and a Creative Writing degree from the University of Montana. A perpetual student, she is also currently enrolled in two programs at the University of Montana. She will complete her Master of Public Health degree in the spring of 2018 and receive her Master of Business Administration in 2019. For the past nine years, she has worked at the Missoula City-County Health Department as a Registered Sanitarian with a focus on food and consumer protections. She currently leads the food safety education, plan review, and whoesale food, and special processing programs, and she is Missoula's FDA standardized inspector. From 2008 to 2012, Alisha headed the health department's childcare inspection program and drafted the state's first drop-in childcare regulations which passed in Missoula County in 2012. In 2015, she became a Registered Environmental Health Specialist with the National Environmental Health Association and has been President of the Montana Environmental Health Association since 2016. Prior to joining the health department, she worked in research in vaccine biology and biochemistry, and biophysics. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, writing, spending time with her corgi, and home improvement projects.

Course authored:

  • Food Safey in Child Care

Ann Klaas hold a Bachelors’ degree in Psychology from Alfred University (NY) and a Masters’ degree in Family and Consumer Science/Early Childhood option. She ran a Family Child Care Home for 6 years prior to accepting a job at the local Resource and Referral Agency, Child Care Connections, where she served as the trainer in Provider Services for 11 years. Ann has been employed at the Montana Early Childhood Project for 12 years as the Professional Development System Coordinator. As a part of that work she has presented at many local, regional and national conferences over the years.

Course authored:

  • Foundations for Trainers
  • Introduction to Reggio Emilia
  • Training Strategies

Erin Lavender has spent 30 years in the field of Early Childhood Education, receiving her Bachelor's degree in Education from The University of Texas at Austin, and a Master's in Early Childhood Curriculum and Instruction. She has taught pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, third grade, and Head Start. In June 2004, Erin was hired by the State of Montana as the Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems Coordinator, where she provided training and technical assistance as an independent contractor to Head Start and other early childhood programs. Currently her work includes teaching Early Childhood Classes in Helena as an adjunct faculty member of the University of Montana-Missoula.

Course authored:

  • Explore the World: Science and Young Children

Lucy Marose holds a B.A. in Social Work and a M. Ed. in Early Childhood Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Special Education. Lucy began her career in education teaching in a Head Start classroom for several years. When her children were young, Lucy provided in-home child care, later completing the Graduate Preparation Project through Child Care Plus+ and the University of Montana-Missoula. She has worked as a Contract Program Evaluator and an Accreditation Observer for the National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC), and an Early Childhood Project Longevity Clause Observer. Lucy has been with Child Care Resources for almost three years, working as the Infant/Toddler Coordinator, an Inclusion Specialist, an Early Childhood Specialist, and a Professional Development Specialist. She also teaches both classroom and online courses for the University of Montana-Western.

Course authored:

  • Positive Guidance in Early Childhood Settings
  • Tips, Tricks, and Strategies for Working with Temperaments

Kayla Martin Kayla grew up in Montana and moved to California to attend college. She earned her bachelor's degree in psychology through Pepperdine University and is currently working on her Masters of Science in Human Nutrition through the University of Bridgeport. Kayla is currently working as a Nutrition Educator for the EFNEP program through Montana State University. She is passionate about providing access to quality resources and nutrition education to all people!

Course authored:

  • Balanced Blood Sugar for a Balanced Life
  • Intuitive Eating and Body Positivity in the Classroom
  • Mood and Food
  • Staying Healthy

Aubrie McArthur After completing her bachelor’s degree in Family and Consumer Sciences: Child Development and Family Relations at the University of Idaho in Moscow, ID, Aubrie McArthur began her career in Early Childhood Education in a preschool classroom in Great Falls, Montana. Later she served as the Toddler and Preschool Lab School Coordinator for the College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls, ID. Currently, Aubrie is the State Program Specialist for the Idaho Child Care Program at the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, where she enjoys writing policy and supporting child care providers as they navigate state subsidy and quality programs. In her spare time, Aubrie enjoys spending time with her family, baking/cooking, and walking her Goldendoodle in the foothills of Boise, ID.!

Course authored:

  • It's Not Magic: Using Curriculum and Assessment

Shelly Meyer has a Bachelor's degree in Nursing from Montana State University and a Bachelor's degree in Speech and Hearing Science from Colorado State University. She has been Board Certified in Community Health Nursing since 1994. Shelly has been employed as a Public Health Nurse by Missoula City-County Health Department since 1992. She has coordinated a federal grant project for the state, Healthy Child Care Montana, as well as working in more traditional public health roles, such as well child clinics, infectious disease investigation, early childhood developmental screening, and HIV testing and counseling. Since 1992, Shelly has also specifically provided Child Care Health Consultation services in conjunction with Child Care Resources in Missoula. Those services include working with child care providers, children, and families to identify risk factors, develop policy, assess, educate and refer children to additional health or community resources. She has received additional training in inclusion through Child Care Plus + and First Start, in child care health consultation through the National Training Institute for Child Care Health Consultation, and in child development through NCAST. She has presented on the state, regional, and national levels for the Montana Nurses' Association, the Montana Public Health Association, NACCRRA, the National American Indian Child Care Conference, and HRSA grantee meetings.

Course authored:

  • Healthy Smiles: Promoting Oral Health in Child Care
  • Medication Administration in Child Care - Part 1
  • Medication Administration in Child Care - Part 2
  • Medication Administration in Child Care - Refresher
  • Safe Sleep in Child Care

Jessica Miller received a B. A. in Psychology from the University of Montana in 1999. Jessica worked as the Executive Assistant at Child Care Resources for over four years, where her experience provided detailed involvement in the various programs CCR offers. Jessica was very involved with CCR's Online Training program and edited all course content and managed the administrative features of the site. Presently, she works as the Office Manager for the Public Works Department at the City of Missoula.

Courses authored:

  • Beyond the Belly: The How and Why of Food Variety
  • Meals Without Squeals

Cynthia O'Dell obtained her doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of Montana in 2010. She served as a dean of education at the Salish Kootenai, special service coordinator at Flathead Head Start, and a special needs teacher at Son-Rise Program. Cynthia co-authored Learning Inventory of Kindergarten Experiences and Play, Language and Drawing Representational Behavior Scale. She developed grants ranging from trainings to support and serves on Montana’s State Consortium on Educator Effectiveness.

Courses authored:

  • Montana Early Learning Standards

Joshua Parks is a graduate of the University of Montana. He holds a B.A. in French literature and is currently a graduate student at the Université de Toulouse II-le Mirail in the south of France. The son of a childcare provider, Joshua developed an interest in food at a very young age, preparing his first helping of escargot (snails in a black butter garlic sauce) at thirteen. Pursuing French as a means to enter a culinary profession, he was quickly sidetracked by a love of literature. Although not his career, cuisine and nutrition continue to be a life-long passion. In between term papers he is most often found taking courses from professional chefs in the French city of Toulouse.

Courses authored:

  • High Energy with High Fiber

Trish Pierson received her Master of Fine Arts in Writing for Children from Vermont College in 2002. Her degree allows her to combine her two favorite things: writing and learning about/working with children. She's taken courses in child development, education, psychology and science, in addition to courses in children's literature. She began working for Child Care Resources in 2001, and during her tenure, wrote courses for early child care professionals, allowing her to learn even more about children and child development.

Courses authored:

  • Brain Development I – The Beautiful Brain; Brain Development II – Building a Better Brain; The Early Learning Environments: Floors, Ceilings, and Walls
  • Us and Them: Exploring Diversity in Early Childhood Programs

Sharon Rhodes holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Early Childhood Education and a Master's of Education degree in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Special Education. Sharon’s 30 year career in the field of early childhood has included teaching in early childhood classrooms, administrating her own child care center, directing a Bright Horizons child care center, and working as a Professional Development Specialist for Great Falls CCRR. Sharon currently teaches early childhood classes online for the University of Montana Western.

Courses authored:

  • Building Partnerships with Families
  • Building Skills Through Block Play
  • Discussing Equity in Early Childhood Education
  • Exceptional Early Childhood Environments: Practices that engage, enrich and empower
  • GETTING REAL: Discussing Equity in Early Childhood Education
  • I DO THAT! Linking Early Childhood Theories to Practice
  • Is This Appropriate? Understanding Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Education
  • Leading the Way: Defining Your Leadership Role in Early Childhood
  • Let's Think About It! Fostering Critical Thinking Skills in Early Childhood
  • Loose Parts- Explorations with Infants and Toddlers
  • Loose Parts- Inspired Play Experiences With Found Objects
  • Loose Parts STEM Explorations
  • M'mm-M'mm Good! Creative Snacks!
  • Open Ended Art: The Power of the Process
  • Protecting Children from Harm
  • “THAT’S SCARY!” Supporting Young Children During Scary Times
  • What’s Your Intention? Applying Intentionality to Your Early Childhood Practice

Celine Riccardi has a Bachelor of Science Degree from Montana State University and has worked in the field of early childhood education since 2012. Her experience includes working as a program assistant at the Office of International Programs, a student ambassador, early childhood teacher, and currently works with the Montana Early Childhood Project. She has volunteered at the Montana Raptor Conservation Center as well as the Bridger Canyon Fire Department.

Courses authored:

  • Introduction to the Montana Early Childhood Project

Lori Rittel holds a Bachelor of Science in Home Economics - Pre-Dietetics, and a Master of Science in Food Science and Nutrition. She has worked with families and children in the nutrition field for over 15 years, starting her career as an instructor in the Food Science Lab at Montana State University after earning her Bachelor's degree. Lori has worked as a community nutritionist, a nutrition consultant, a public health nutritionist and a food columnist. She worked as a Public Health Nutritionist for the State of Montana Child and Adult Care Food Program for over four years, developing and presenting numerous trainings. She is currently employed by the Montana WIC Program in Helena as a Public Health Nutritionist.

Courses authored:

  • Fit is Fun
  • Fun Snacks with A, C, and I
  • I Don't Like That! A Guide to Picky Eating
  • My Pyramid: The New Food Pyramid & Cooking with Fruits and Veggies
  • Save Money with Low-Cost, Nutritious Meals

Kelly Rosenleaf has been the Executive Director of Child Care Resources since 1996. Prior to joining Child Care Resources, Kelly directed several non-profit organizations, including a micro-enterprise program. In that capacity, Kelly offered business consulting and facilitated financing to very small businesses, including child care. Kelly brings over 25 years of organizational management experience, including personnel management, marketing, financial management and advocacy work to her position at Child Care Resources. She has developed and delivered training specifically for the early childhood industry on these topics.

Course authored:

  • Personnel Management for Child Care Centers

Kami Ryles holds a Bachelor of Science in Health and Human Development with a Family and Consumer Science Option from Montana State University. Kami is a Family Services Coordinator with Child Care Connections. She is a Level 6 on the Montana Early Care & Education Practitioner Registry and a Level III Early Childhood Professional Development Specialist of Montana. In the past, she was a Hawthorne CAP Mentor and provided one-to-one mentor with children to increase their academic and social competency.

Course authored:

  • Best Beginnings Scholarhip Basics for Providers

Lauralea Sanks has been in the Early Childhood Education field for over 20 years, working with children from the age of two weeks to eight years old. Lauralea holds a Bachelor's degree in Social Work, an Associate's degree in Early Childhood Education and a Master's Degree in Early Childhood Education with an emphasis in Special Needs. More than half of her career has been spent working exclusively with infants and toddlers. She and her husband are both Infant/Toddler Certified and operate their own National Association for Family Child Care accredited infant and toddler program in Missoula, Montana. She has been a mentor in Child Care Resources' Infant/Toddler Mentoring Program and Accreditation Mentoring Program for the past seven years. She loves learning and reading about new ideas or perspectives, and plans to work in the Early Childhood Education field all her life.

Courses authored:

  • Expressive Language in Early Childhood
  • Full Spectrum Support
  • Infant Safety Essentials
  • Receptive Language – The Ability to Comprehend Information
  • Shattered Spectrums – The Complexities of Autism

Rhonda Schwenke has worked in the early care and education for close to 20 years. She started her career in Billings where she worked in child care programs, and was the Lead Professional Development Specialist for Family Connections MT prior to taking the Program Specialist position with the Early Childhood Services Bureau. Rhonda grew up on a ranch in central MT where she still loves to spend time. She currently lives in Choteau, MT with her husband and 2 year old daughter, while their oldest daughter is going to college in Great Falls.

Course authored:

  • Child Abuse and Neglect: Mandatory Reporting in Child Care
  • New Staff Health and Safety Orientation

Carmen Byker Shanks holds a PhD in Human Nutrition and is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. She is Associate Professor of Food and Nutrition and Sustainable Food Systems at Montana State University (MSU). There, she teaches, conducts research, and provides outreach. She co-leads the Food and Health Lab at MSU, where her focus is on improving diets for positive health outcomes. Visit http://www.montana.edu/food-health-lab/ for more information.

Course authored:

  • Montana Moves
  • Vegetable Variety

Barb Sherrill worked in Montana's public school system as a primary teacher and program coordinator for over 30 years. Barb also taught adult education and presented many workshops for teachers throughout Montana and the U.S. Barb holds a B.S. and a Master's of Human Services. Barb worked with child care providers and developed curriculum with Child Care Resources in Missoula, Montana for five years. Barb is currently the Director of Early Head Start in Missoula.

Revised

  • Explore the World: Science and Young Children
  • Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder
  • Taking Back Childhood: A Proven Roadmap for Raising Confident, Creative, Compassionate Kids

Debra Taylor-Cragg has her Master's degree in Communication Studies with an emphasis in Family Communication and Education Communication. For 16 years she was an adjunct professor in the Communication Studies Department at the University of Montana, as well as working as the Keeping Everyone in Childhood Programs (KEEP) Coordinator for Child Care Plus+. Debra has taught elementary students in several Montana communities and school systems, including a rural school with 52 children in grades K-8. Much of her work has been with primary grades, involving remedial support for children from transient families, children learning English as a second language and children waiting for special education services. Debra has also been an Early Childhood trainer for Child Care Resources. Presently, she works in the Adult Education Department for Missoula County Public Schools.

Course authored:

  • Focus on Curriculum: The Learning Cycle

Irene Tiefenhaler holds a Master’s Degree in Curriculum & Instruction with an emphasis in Advanced Early Childhood Education from the University of Montana and Bachelor’s Degrees in Organizational Communication and Elementary Education. She has been involved in education for over 20 years in both the elementary school classroom and over ten years as a Center Director of an early childhood education program. Irene has served as a past President and Vice President of the Missoula chapter of AEYC. She has been a Professional Development Specialist and STARS Consultant at Child Care Resources since 2017.

Course authored:

  • Sources, Signals, and Solutions: Food Allergies and Intolerances

Jennifer Williamson works as a Professional Development Specialist for Child Care Resources. Jennifer has worked in early childhood education since 1997. Her experience varies from family home child care provider, Assistant Director of NAEYC accredited Montessori preschool, to Quality Coaching, parenting class coordination, professional development coordination, conference planning, work in both the Language Arts and Math classrooms of Adult Basic Education, and a thorough knowledge of the Pyramid Model (CSEFEL). Jennifer has worked with children with special needs ranging from both physical and cognitive delays to learning differences and behavior challenges. Jennifer earned a B.A. from the University of Montana and achieved a Level VI on the Child Care Practitioner's Registry through the Early Childhood Project at Montana State University-Bozeman. She also is a member of the Trainer Registry.

Course authored:

  • A Better Approach to Feeding: Ellyn Satter's Division of Responsibility
  •  Around the Table
  • Gluten Free Guide
  • Going City Green
  • Managing Your Child Care Business - CACFP Program Management
  •  YIKES Disaster Planning: Emergency Preparedness

Larry Williams graduated from the University of Montana with a B.A. in Business Administration-Finance Emphasis in 1997. In addition to eight-and-a-half years in banking, Larry spent three-and-a-half years as a Loan Fund Manager at Montana Community Development Corp (MCDC), a non-profit organization serving the needs of small businesses in Western Montana. During his time at MCDC, Larry worked with the Montana Child Care Resource & Referral Network to establish and administer the Child Care Loan Fund for child care providers statewide. He has trained business owners to the professional level in QuickBooks, the Microsoft Office products suite, and several other software applications. Larry has been a presenter at Child Care Resources' Spring Conferences teaching basic Excel skills as well as Quick Books. He is a firm believer in, and a dedicated practitioner of, the “Keep It Simple” philosophy. Larry is currently Vice President in Commercial Lending at Community Bank-Missoula, Inc.

Course authored:

  • Basic Bookkeeping Practices for Your Child Care Business

Amy Foster Wolferman, M.Ed., serves as Associate Director of the National Native Children's Trauma Center. She provides training and technical assistance to educators, families, and community members in trauma informed care, secondary traumatic stress interventions, Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), bullying prevention and suicide prevention. Her primary area of focus is on helping schools support the social and emotional needs of students. Ms. Foster Wolferman also serves as a Montana Behavioral Initiative (MBI) Consultant for the Office of Public Instruction where she supports schools in Montana in the implementation of PBIS. She has a background in teaching, early childhood education, special education, and working with youth in the outdoors. She is a certified trainer in the Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) and Suicide Alertness for Everyone (safeTALK) interventions, as well as the Steps to Respect Bullying Prevention Program.

Course authored:

  • Building Skills and Safe Spaces

Leann Worden received a B.A. in Psychology with an emphasis in Child Development and a Minor in Human and Family Development from the University of Montana. She has taught in a variety of early childhood programs, recently serving as the Director of a licensed preschool program. Leann served as an Education Manager at a Head Start program for six years where she achieved NAEYC Accreditation for the program and over-saw all State Licensing Requirements, Head Start Performance Standard implementation and services to low-income children and their families. Her experience also includes providing training and technical assistance to other early childhood professionals and licensed child care facilities. She is a Certified Playground Safety Inspector with the National Playground Safety Institute. Leann has spent the past two years achieving reliability in the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale, Infant/Toddler Environment Rating Scale, Family Child Care Environment Rating Scale, Program Administration Scale, and the Business Administration Scale. Currently she is working with the Early Childhood Services Bureau as The Best Beginnings Program Specialist who over-sees the Montana Quality Rating System (QRIS) and its implementation.

Course authored:

  • The Environment Rating Scales (ERS)

Marjorie Vegoren has worked in the field of early childhood for 21 years and has worked as a legally unregistered provider, family and group home provider, center director, and Head Start preschool teacher. She holds a BS in ECE with an emphasis on inclusion and exceptionality. Marjorie is a Professional Development Specialist level II. In addition to presenting trainings in program and business administration, child guidance and curriculum, Marjorie has developed trainings in business administration, licensing regulation and curriculum. Education, from babies to grown-up caregivers, is a passion of Marjorie’s. Working with children, families and providers is rewarding and she plans to continue this work for the remainder of her career. In her free time, Marjorie enjoys spending time with friends and family, hiking, baking and reading.

Course authored:

  • A Beautiful Mess: Arts for Infants and Toddlers
  • Ethics in Early Childhood Education
  • How to Make a Profit in Child Care
  • Look Who's Talking: Language Development in Infants and Toddlers
  • Look Who’s Talking Too: Language and Literacy Development in Preschoolers!
  • Responsive Lesson Planning for Infants and Toddlers
  • Top Tips for Tiny Tummies

Clair Yenish acquired a master’s in human development from the Washington State University. Clair taught at the Washington State University and Spokane Falls Community College. She was a Pyramid coach, professional development specialist, early childhood instructor and consultant, and a teacher. She ran workshops and trainings including “Create a Learning Environment that Respects Diversity”, “Look, Watch, See, and Record”, “Fostering Language Development”, “Building Better Brains”, “Creating Environments to Support Literacy” and All CSEFEL/Pyramid Consortium Pyramid Module 1-3 trainings.

Course authored:

  • Pathway to Kindergarten
Last modified: Friday, September 10, 2021, 3:33 PM