Improving Systems, Practices and Outcomes

Staff Bios

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Betsy Ayankoya Associate Director

Betsy Ayankoya, M.Ed., currently serves as an Associate Director of the Early Childhood TA (ECTA) Center and is a Technical Assistance Specialist for the WWW: Center for Early Childhood IDEA Data Systems (DaSy)

Betsy specializes in the areas of personnel/workforce development and quality assurance. Betsy has worked with states to evaluate their current personnel and general supervision systems, helping them to identify potential areas for improvement and develop more effective and streamlined processes for ensuring positive outcomes for children and families. Betsy has directed several large national early childhood conferences, working with planners, the Office of Special Education Programs and other stakeholders to develop opportunities for participants to learn from experts in the field, to learn about evidence-based practices and to share experiences with colleagues.

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Denise Binder Technical Assistance Specialist

Denise Binder, M.A., is a technical assistance specialist with 15 years of experience in providing training and technical assistance related to positive behavior support, behavior support planning, implementation of the Pyramid Model within classrooms and programs, and implementation of DEC Recommended Practices. In ECTA, she provided training and coaching to state professional development providers, program coaches, and designed training materials related to classroom implementation of evidence-based practices.

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Mary Cain Web Team

Mary Cain, MA, is a public communications specialist and user experience designer for the Early Childhood TA Center (ECTA) within the WWW: Trohanis Technical Assistance Projects. Her work, as part of the web and product development team, includes user research and testing, content strategy and development, building product prototypes, creating interactive web designs, and maintaining the ECTA website. She has been a major contributor to the online products supporting the RP2 intensive TA work of ECTA Center. She has 15 years of experience working in digital communications and new media, specializing in creating user friendly environments and accessible online content.

Education:

  • MA, Art and Design Education, Rhode Island School of Design
  • BA, Studio Art, Kenyon College
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Debbie Cate Technical Assistance Specialist

Debbie Cate is a technical assistance (TA) specialist with the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute (FPG) at the University of North Carolina (UNC). Her work within the Trohanis Technical Assistance Projects is with the Early Childhood TA Center (ECTA), the IDEA Data Center (IDC), and the North Carolina Early Learning Network (NC ELN). Her current work supports states in their provision of early childhood special education services in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), for children ages birth through grade three and their families. She has extensive experience in developing and implementing state systems and processes to provide effective IDEA preschool services, evaluating and monitoring state and local systems leading to improved results, defining and using state data to inform practice and process, and in strategic state planning to enhance comprehensive early childhood systems, all to support positive outcomes for young children and their families.

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Siobhan Colgan Technical Assistance Specialist

Siobhan Colgan, PhD, is a member of the leadership team for the Trohanis Technical Assistance (TA) Projects at the FPG-CDI at UNC-CH. For more than 45 years, the projects of Pascal “Pat” Trohanis have provided TA following evidence-informed principles of TA. Siobhan is currently Principal Investigator (PI) for the North Carolina Family Survey Project, as well as a Technical Assistance provider for the Early Childhood TA (ECTA) Center, the Center for Early Childhood IDEA Data Systems (DaSy), and the IDEA Data Center (IDC).

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Megan Cox Technical Assistance Specialist

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Matt Coy Administrative Support Team

Matt Coy is a Social Research Assistant and works for the Early Childhood TA (ECTA) Center and the WWW: North Carolina Early Learning Network, within the WWW: Trohanis Technical Assistance (TA) Projects.

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Laura Curtis Project Coordinator

Laura Curtis, M.Ed., is Coordinator of the Early Childhood TA (ECTA) Center and the WWW: North Carolina Early Learning Network, within the WWW: Trohanis Technical Assistance (TA) Projects. For more than 45 years, the projects of Pascal “Pat” Trohanis have provided TA following evidence-informed principles of TA to assist state and local early intervention and early childhood special education (EI/ECSE) agencies to develop and manage effective and efficient systems and implement evidence-informed practices in order to improve services and outcomes for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers and their families.

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Joan Danaher Associate Director

Joan Danaher, PhD, Associate Director, has provided TA to OSEP grantees and held leadership positions in national TA for thirty- eight years. She leads the ECTA Center Web and Product Development Team and co-leads the DEC Recommended Practices (RPs) product team. The ECTA Web Team is responsible for: content development and transformation; digital and multimedia products; digital communications including eNotes and social media; online TA events; the main website and multiple sub-sites; database development for web publishing and information management; and adhering to the highest accessibility and usability standards. The DEC Recommended Practices (RPs) product team develops content and produces resources for practitioners, families, and professional development providers. Danaher initiated and leads the pilot cohort of state "aRPy Ambassadors" who disseminate information about the DEC RPs at the state and local level to promote the use of RPs in state and local improvement efforts. She collaborates with ECTA work teams and topic experts to develop content and designs for TA products and events. She has broad expertise across IDEA Part C and Section 619 having served as senior content editor of the national early childhood TA centers' websites since 1996.

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Sonya Detwiler Information Specialist

Sonya Detwiler, MSLIS, MEd. is an information specialist for the ECTA Center at FPG and member of the Web team. She curates news and data reports for ECTA's eNotes newsletter, manages the listservs, and provides reference and research assistance to staff and listserv subscribers. She manages the staff library, helps maintain ECTA's website content, and manages files for its product database. Sonya has over 15 years of experience as a librarian and bibliographer, and over 7 years of experience working with children in a variety of settings.

Education:

  • MSLIS, Library and Information Science, Simmons College
  • MEd, School Counseling (K-8), University of New Hampshire
  • BA, Developmental Psychology, Simmons College
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Carl Dunst Lead ECTA at Puckett Institute

Dr. Carl J. Dunst is a Research Scientist at the WWW: Orelena Hawks Puckett Institute, in Asheville, NC. Dr. Dunst was the director of the WWW: Family, Infant and Preschool Program, which served the families of young children with disabilities from birth to 5 years of age, for 12 years. He was the principal investigator on the OSEP funded WWW: Training Center on Early Childhood Development; Tracking, Referral and Assessment Center for Excellence; and WWW: Center for Early Literacy Learning (CELL). He has completed numerous research syntheses on evidence-based practices for working effectively with young children with disabilities and their families.

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Davon Embler Product Development Specialist

Davon Embler is the video and multimedia director and web manager at the Orelena Hawks Puckett Institute in Asheville, NC. She specializes in creating evidence-based learning materials for early childhood practitioners and families of young children as part of applied research projects. She is responsible for video and still photography, web-based media, editing, script writing, production design, DVD authoring, and graphic design. She also serves as webmaster. She is a graduate of the University of North Carolina Asheville. She has 18 years experience as director, producer, camera operator and editor producing educational, corporate and promotional video presentations.

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Lise Fox Lead ECTA at USF

Lise Fox, Ph.D., is a Professor in the Department of Child and Family Studies and the Co-Director of the Florida Center for Inclusive Communities, the University of South Florida Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities. She has over 20 years of experience as a researcher, trainer, and technical assistance provider to local programs and state systems on issues related to implementing evidence-based practices within early childhood programs. Dr. Fox provided leadership for the intensive TA provided by ECTA on the implementation of Recommended Practices and the model used for state scale-up and sustainability.

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Sherry Franklin Technical Assistance Specialist

Sherry Franklin is a Technical Assistance Specialist with the Early Childhood TA (ECTA) Center within the WWW: Trohanis Technical Assistance (TA) Projects. She provides technical assistance to Early Intervention/Part C and Preschool Special Education/619 Coordinators in states supporting system change in topics such as early intervention services, governance/leadership, accountability/quality improvement, and service delivery processes. She also currently works as a TA provider for the WWW: Center for IDEA Early Childhood Data Systems (DaSy). Sherry has 25 years of experience as a state Part C local administrator, TA Specialist, and Part C Coordinator as well as a family development administrator for Headstart.

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Margaret Gillis Technical Assistance Specialist

Margaret C. Gillis, Ph.D., is an Early Childhood Researcher and Technical Assistance Specialist in SRI International's Center for Learning and Development. She brings experience in early childhood workforce development, coaching and supervision, early intervention and early childhood special education, home visiting, infant-toddler development and learning, family-professional partnerships, inclusive teaching practices, and evaluation of personnel preparation programs. She uses mixed qualitative and quantitative methods in her research, which has focused primarily on developing the early childhood workforce to provide high quality care, education, and intervention to young children with and without disabilities and their families. She has experience leading and evaluating projects aimed at increasing the quality and quantity of early childhood professionals prepared to work with young children with disabilities in inclusive settings, increasing the knowledge and skills of early childhood program administrators, and implementing early childhood mental health competencies within personnel preparation programs. Her current projects include serving as a Technical Assistance Specialist for the Center for IDEA Early Childhood Data Systems (DaSy) and Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (ECTA), working directly with states to evaluate their State Systemic Improvement Plans and analyze child outcome data for quality and usability.

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Alison Gunn Evaluation Specialist

Alison Gunn, MPH, serves as the lead evaluator for the WWW: Center for IDEA Early Childhood Data Systems (DaSy Center) and on the Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (ECTA). She works to evaluate the Technical Assistance services and products provided across all states and territories served by IDEA. Trained as a public health researcher, Alison uses program planning, implementation, and evaluation skills to design robust evaluation plans that accurately capture the impact of the Centers' work for dissemination, reporting to funders, and for continuous quality improvement. She is proficient in SAS, SPSS, EpiInfo, Atlas Ti, Survey Monkey, Qualtrics, and MS Office.

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Kathy Hebbeler Lead ECTA at SRI International

Kathleen Hebbeler, Ph.D., is a Program Manager at SRI International. She has over 30 years of experience in research and evaluation of education, health, and social programs for young children and their families. She has directed large-scale projects involving quantitative and qualitative methods for federal and state agencies and private foundations. Currently, Dr. Hebbeler co-directs the Center for IDEA Early Childhood Data Systems (DaSy Center). The DaSy Center provides technical assistance to early intervention and preschool special education state agencies in building coordinated early childhood data systems and in using the data to address key policy and programmatic questions. Previously, Dr. Hebbeler directed the Early Childhood Outcomes (ECO) Center which was a 10-year effort to build the capacity of states to report high-quality data on outcomes for young children with disabilities and their families. Dr. Hebbeler has authored numerous papers and presented at many national meetings in the areas of early care and education including home visiting, child development, early intervention, general and special education, assessment, standards, accountability, and community collaboration. As a member of the National Research Council's Committee on Developmental Outcomes and Assessment for Young Children, she was a contributing author to the 2008 report, Early Childhood Assessment: Why, What and How? Dr. Hebbeler earned her Ph.D. in human development and family studies from Cornell University.

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Peggy Hensley Administrative Support Team

Peggy Hensley provides technical support for the Early Childhood TA Center (ECTA) with the Trohanis Technical Assistance Projects. For more than 45 years, the projects of Pascal "Pat" Trohanis have provided TA following evidence-informed principles of TA to assist state and local early intervention and early childhood special education (EI/ECSE) agencies to develop and manage effective and efficient systems and implement evidence-informed practices in order to improve services and outcomes for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers and their families.

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Cherie Hipps Web Team

Cherie Hipps, MIS, is the web developer for the Early Childhood TA (ECTA) Center within the WWW: Trohanis Technical Assistance (TA) Projects. She supports the organization by creating web applications that increase efficiency and knowledge sharing. Her specialties include back-end web development, ASP, ColdFusion, PHP, MySQL, JavaScript, HTML, CSS, and accessibility.

Cherie developed, and regularly upgrades, the Conference Planning and Management Application (CPMA) used for national conferences. It is highly customizable and has features allowing for personalized correspondence with presenters and attendees, registration, managing session planning and status, receipt and web publishing of presentation materials, facility-related information such as meeting room assignments and signage, follow-up correspondence with attendees.

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Robin Howse Product Development Specialist

Robin B. Howse, Ph.D. is an associate research scientist with the Puckett Institute. She completed graduate work at Wake Forest University and the University of North Carolina Greensboro. She has overseen research and evaluation projects with children, youth, and families both in North Carolina and nationwide. Much of Dr. Howse's work has included identifying the strengths and interests of children and families while working to increase learning opportunities for young children. Dr. Howse has been involved in the development of learning materials for both parents and teachers who provide care for children ages 0-5.

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Laura Hudson Social Research Assistant

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Barb Jackson Consultant

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Elizabeth Jones Data Analyst

Elizabeth Anne Jones, Ph.D. is a member of the evaluation team working for the Trohanis Technical Assistance(TA) Projects at the FPG-CDI at UNC-CH. She specializes in program evaluation, and participates in the evaluation design for the ECTA and DaSy Centers. She designs, administers, and analyzes evaluations using the methods of online survey, focus groups and interviews to capture information from both clients and staff about the technical assistance process and impacts. The evaluation results are used for Federal reporting, technical assistance planning, and continuous quality improvement. Elizabeth is also responsible for the creation and management of databases in which the evaluation data are stored and analyzed. In the dissemination of evaluation results, Elizabeth writes formal reports, prepares presentations to staff, and facilitates staff discussions on improving the quality, relevance, usefulness, and provider expertise of the technical assistance.

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Allison Jones Technical Assistance Specialist

Allison Jones has worked in the field of early childhood for 20 years in the areas of childcare, state pre-k, early intervention, technical assistance, and research. As a Research Associate with the Orelena Hawks Puckett Institute, Allison has collaborated on several federally-funded initiatives aimed to support practitioners and families of young children with disabilities. Ms. Jones's work scope involves the development of tools, resources, training, and technical assistance to support the adoption of evidence-based practices used in the home, classroom, and state-wide professional development to increase positive child and family outcomes.

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Christina Kasprzak Director

Christina Kasprzak, MA, is Director of the WWW: Trohanis Technical Assistance (TA) Projects at the FPG-CDI at UNC-CH. Under Christina’s leadership, the Trohanis TA Projects assist state and local early intervention and early childhood special education (EI/ECSE) agencies to develop and manage effective and efficient systems and implement evidence-informed practices in order to improve services and outcomes for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers and their families. For more than 45 years, the projects of Pascal “Pat” Trohanis have provided TA following evidence-informed principles of TA.

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Grace Kelley Technical Assistance Specialist

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Alex Lazara Web Team

Alex Lazara, BA, has been a Web Developer/Designer and Multimedia Lead at the Trohanis TA Projects at FPG Child Development Institute for ten years. He is responsible for the look, feel, function and accessibility of the website and multiple sub-sites such as: the ECTA Center's products and resources to promote the use of the DEC Recommended Practices and the ECTA Center's System Framework for Building High-Quality Early Intervention and Preschool Special Education Programs. He brings audio and video production and graphics expertise to collaborations with content experts to produce high-quality, accessible online TA events such as the Engaging Families and Creating Trusting Partnerships to Improve Child and Family Outcomes Webinar Series. He is an expert at content transformation for digital formats and interactive design. His understanding of and commitment to the mission of the TA center increases the efficiency of the content to product cycle. He created "aRPy" and he is a former teacher.

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Lisa Levin Operations Coordinator

Lisa Levin is the Business Operations Coordinator of the Trohanis Technical Assistance (TA) Projects.

For more than 45 year, the projects of Pascal "Pat" Trohanis have provided TA following evidence-informed principles of TA to assist state and local early intervention and early childhood special education (EI/ECSE) agencies to develop and manage effective and efficient systems and implement evidence-informed practices in order to improve service and outcomes for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers and their families.

Education:

  • BS, Social Work, University of North Carolina, Greensboro
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Anne Lucas Technical Assistance Specialist

Anne Lucas is a Technical Assistance Specialist with the Early Childhood Technical Assistance (ECTA) Center within the Trohanis Technical Assistance Projects and with the Center for IDEA Early Childhood Data Systems (DaSy). She provides technical assistance to Early Intervention/Part C and Preschool Special Education/Section 619 Programs nationwide. Her TA focuses on promoting system change efforts around such topics as accountability and quality improvement, early intervention services including early childhood transition, and finance. Anne has over 40 years of experience in early intervention and early childhood special education as an occupational therapist providing early intervention and early childhood services, an early intervention program administrator, a state Part C Coordinator, and a national technical assistance provider.

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Jackie Marshall Data Systems Specialist

Jackie Marshall is a member of the evaluation team working for the Trohanis Technical Assistance (TA) Projects at the FPG-CDI at UNC-CH. She specializes in data systems design, data analysis, program evaluation, and participates in the evaluation design for the ECTA Center. She designs, administers, and analyzes TA documentation data using the methods of MySQL and online survey software (Qualtrics) to capture information from staff about the technical assistance provided (e.g., numbers and types of services, TA provider hours, topical focus of TA, partners involved, etc.). The TA documentation results are used for Federal reporting, technical assistance planning, and continuous quality improvement. Jackie is also responsible for the creation and management of databases in which the documentation data are stored and analyzed. In the dissemination of documentation results, Jackie writes formal reports, prepares presentations to staff, and facilitates staff discussions on improving the quality and accuracy of the technical assistance documentation.

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Katrina Martin Technical Assistance Specialist

Katrina Martin, Ph.D., works with the Center for IDEA Early Childhood Data Systems (DaSy) and the Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (ECTA) providing technical assistance to states to support their early childhood systems. Dr. Martin works with state leadership teams to develop infrastructure, data systems, and enhanced professional development to improve child outcomes measurement and inclusion of children with disabilities. In her previous work Martin managed a teams of research assistants' children with and at risk for Autism Spectrum Disorders. Dr. Martin's research projects have focused on early identification of Autism Spectrum Disorders and early intervention provided in natural environments. Dr. Martin has expertise in the areas of early childhood special education, differentiated instruction in inclusive classrooms, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and typical and atypical social and emotional development. Dr. Martin received her Ph.D. in Education from the University of California, Berkeley and completed a post-doctoral fellowship in Neurodevelopmental Disorders at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

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Katy McCullough Technical Assistance Specialist

Katy McCullough, MA, is a Technical Assistance Specialist with the Early Childhood TA (ECTA) Center within the WWW: Trohanis Technical Assistance (TA) Projects. She provides technical assistance to Early Intervention/Part C and Preschool Special Education/619 Coordinators in states supporting system change in topics such as early intervention services, finance, and early childhood inclusion. She also currently works as a TA provider for the WWW: Center for IDEA Early Childhood Data Systems (DaSy) and on the content development team for the WWW: Recommended Practices (RP) Modules. Previous projects include Office of Special Education (OSEP) National Regional Resource Center Program (Mid-South) and SpecialQuest Birth-Five.

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Mary Peters Technical Assistance Specialist

Mary Louise Peters, MSE, is a technical assistance specialist with the WWW: Trohanis Technical Assistance (TA) Projects at the FPG-CDI at UNC-CH. Mary has been working with the Early Childhood Technical Assistance (ECTA) Center and related projects since 2010. This work is with national partners and states in their provision of special education services for children ages birth through five years and their families with a focus on inclusion, personnel development, and quality standards. Additionally, she has supported child outcomes measurement, evidence-based practices, state systems improvement, planning, evaluation, implementation, system framework, state capacity, implementation science, implementation of IDEA B-5, and data use for informed decision making.

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Melissa Raspa Consultant

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Kaki Roberts Product Development Specialist

Kaki Roberts is a writer and graphic designer at the WWW: Orelena Hawks Puckett Institute in Asheville, NC, where she specializes in creating evidence-based learning materials for early childhood practitioners and families of young children as part of applied research projects. She is a graduate of the University of Georgia and of Boston University. A former teacher of children and adults with developmental disabilities, Kaki worked in public school classrooms in Tennessee and Massachusetts and in a special education center while serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Cuenca, Ecuador. She also has worked as a staff reporter on news dailies and weeklies, and as a freelance writer.

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Abby Schachner Technical Assistance Specialist

Abby Schachner, Ph.D., is a Senior Early Childhood Researcher in SRI's Center for Learning and Development in the Education Division. She brings over 10 years of experience in the field of early childhood education and development. Dr. Schachner has extensive experience providing technical assistance (TA) to states around child outcomes measurement, data use, program evaluation, and facilitating stakeholder meetings. Her research expertise includes designing research and evaluation projects; coding, analyzing, and interpreting data; recruiting participants and coordinating data collection; collecting survey, interview, observational and extant data; providing training and technical assistance on data analysis and program evaluation; and disseminating findings in multiple formats for diverse audiences.

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Evelyn Shaw Technical Assistance Specialist

Evelyn Shaw, M.Ed., is a technical assistance specialist at FPG where she works on the WWW: Early Childhood Technical Assistance (ECTA) Center and the WWW: Efficacy Study of Elementary Learners with ASD (TESELA). As a technical assistance specialist with ECTA, she is the topic specialist on ASD and early identification and works on issues related to child find and use of data to target improvements. For TESELA, she conducts program assessments and provides training and support for elementary school sites. She has worked in technical assistance for 28 years. Her research interests focus on the translation of research on evidence-based interventions and practices to implementation of these practices at multiple levels (e.g., home, community, provider, program, and state). She worked on the WWW: Comparison for Two Comprehensive Treatment Models for Preschool-Aged Children with Autism grant to evaluate comprehensive treatment models for young children with ASD, monitoring fidelity of implementation of treatment models. On the WWW: National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders and WWW: ASD Toddler Initiative, she worked with states to develop training, technical assistance, and on-going coaching for their demonstration sites in early intervention and/or school programs with emphasis on increasing the quality of the program environment, scaling functional, measurable IFSP/IEP goals, and implementation of evidence-based practices with fidelity. For WWW: Promoting Use of Evidence-Based Practices for Children and Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder and their Families in Saudi Arabia, she provided consultation services to the Center for Autism Research Staff in Saudi Arabia and developed and conducted training.

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Barbara Smith Lead ECTA at UC Denver

Dr. Smith's areas of interest include policy, leadership, collaboration, and professional development in early childhood. She received her master's and doctorate in early childhood special education and public policy from UNC-Chapel Hill. She has been an early childhood teacher; Executive Director of WWW: DEC; Policy Specialist, WWW: CEC; Program Specialist, WWW: OSEP; and currently, Research Professor, School of Education and Human Development, WWW: University of Colorado Denver. She developed the Collaborative Planning Model for cross-systems planning and has worked with WWW: NAEYC and other organizations on guidelines that support quality inclusive early childhood environments. She worked on two national TA centers related to building state capacity to address children's social emotional development and challenging behavior: the WWW: Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CSEFEL), and the WWW: Technical Assistance Center on Social Emotional Intervention (TACSEI). She serves on the Leadership Team of the ECTA Center.

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Donna Spiker Principal ECTA at SRI International

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Phil Strain Principal ECTA at UC Denv

Phil Strain has worked in the field of early intervention since 1974. He is the author of over 300 scientific papers and he serves on the editorial boards of over a dozen professional journals. His primary research interests include intervention for young children with early onset conduct disorders, remediation of social behavior deficits in young children with autism, design and delivery of community-based, comprehensive early intervention for children with autism; and analysis of individual and systemic variables affecting the adoption and sustained use of evidence-based practices for children with severe behavior disorders. Phil recently served as faculty on two national training and technical assistance centers related to children's social emotional development and challenging behavior: the WWW: Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CSEFEL), and the WWW: Technical Assistance Center on Social Emotional Intervention (TACSEI) as well as other national centers related to autism, social competence and behavior.

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Judy Swett Technical Assistance Specialist

Judy Swett is the Early Childhood Coordinator at PACER Center in MN and brings 21 years of experience providing individual assistance to parents of young children with disabilities or developmental delays. In that role, she provides information and advocacy, designs and presents trainings to parents and EC professionals regarding early intervention, early childhood special education services, inclusion, childcare and the ADA, parent leadership and the role of families as stakeholders. She is also a TA Specialist at the ECTA Center where she has been involved in many tasks and workgroups related to family involvement, design of the ECTA Systems Framework, Child Outcomes, Early Intervention services and Inclusion. For the last three years, she has provided intensive TA to states in regards to the COS process, Inclusion, and needed changes to state infrastructure, policies and procedure to support systems change in these two areas.

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Cornelia Taylor Technical Assistance Specialist

Cornelia Taylor, Ph.D., is a senior researcher at SRI's Center for Learning and Development. Dr. Taylor brings expertise in assessment, including item-response theory and classic testing theory. Dr. Taylor is an experienced provider of technical assistance, having worked with numerous states on interpreting and using early childhood data. She also supports states in state accountability progress reporting (APR) data on outcomes and other indicators. Dr. Taylor currently leads the outcomes measurement workgroup and the State Systemic Improvement Planning workgroup across the Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center and The Center for IDEA Early Childhood Data Systems. Dr. Taylor support the development and delivery of TA on evaluation for two of the Cross State Learning Collaboratives supported by the National Center for Systemic Improvement. Dr. Taylor led the extant data collection of the Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences-funded project examining the validity of the child outcomes summary (COS) process, and collaborative data collection for the Office of Special Education Programs-funded Model Demonstration Projects on providing assistive technology to young children with disabilities. Dr. Taylor has led and supported several other research projects at SRI, including the Connecticut Standards Alignment project and the Texas Early Intervention Service Intensity study. Dr. Taylor earned her Ph.D. in Early Childhood Special Education at Vanderbilt University.

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Myrna Veguilla Technical Assistance Specialist

Myrna Veguilla, MSMS and MPH, is a social and behavioral research who 6 years of experience working with research and development teams on funded projects related to healthcare parity for individuals with disabilities, providing specialized training to health care in issues of developmental disabilities, early childhood screenings and support to Latina families, conducting research on the implementation of the Pyramid Model, and guiding programs in their use of data decision making. In ECTA, she has developed tools, materials, and reporting systems that local programs can use for data decision-making.

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Megan Vinh Associate Director

Megan Vinh PhD, is a member of the leadership team for the WWW: Trohanis Technical Assistance (TA) Projects at the FPG-CDI at UNC-CH. Currently, Megan serves an Associate Director at the Early Childhood Technical Assistance (ECTA), the co-PI of the WWW: Early Childhood Recommended Practice Modules project (RPM), and the evaluation lead for the WWW: Center for IDEA Early Childhood Data Systems (DaSy). In her role at ECTA, she provides leadership, technical assistance, and evaluation support around improving state early intervention and early childhood special education service systems, increasing the implementation of effective practices, and enhancing outcomes of these programs for young children and their families. Megan specializes in program evaluation and supporting states with systems change around access and equity issues, including reducing early care and education suspensions and expulsions and increasing high quality inclusive opportunities. As the co-PI for the RPM project, she provides leadership and content expertise for the development of interactive, online modules that support faculty and professional development providers with embedding the WWW: DEC Recommended Practices into their coursework and training.

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Christine  Wagner Web Team

Christine Wagner is a Tech Support Analyst for the Trohanis TA Projects. She specializes as a designer creating and producing online learning modules, as well as web and print materials, for the Early Childhood TA (ECTA) Center, the North Carolina Early Learning Network, and the DEC RP Modules project. She has also worked on online learning modules for Washington, Delaware, and Minnesota, and was the Website Manager for the ECO Center. She earned her BFA from Washington University in St. Louis.

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Sharon Walsh Consultant

Sharon Walsh has provided consultation on the implementation of IDEA for over 30 years. She is a consultant on the Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (ECTA) and the Center for IDEA Early Childhood Data Systems (DaSy). Sharon is also the Governmental Relations Consultant for the Division for Early Childhood of CEC (DEC) and the IDEA Infant and Toddler Coordinators Association (ITCA). Sharon worked in a large suburban school district, for OSEP projects including The Data Accountability Center (DAC) and the National Center for Special Education Monitoring (NCSEAM) as well as for the National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE).

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Kathy Whaley Technical Assistance Specialist

Kathy Thompson Whaley has worked for the FPG Child Development Institute since 1994 as a Technical Assistance Specialist in OSEP funded projects (ECTA Center, DaSy, NECTAC and NECTAS). She works directly with state Part C and Section 619 Coordinators and other personnel responsible for the design and implementation of service systems in the states. Her responsibilities have included participation in work teams addressing implementation science, DEC Recommended Practices, Early Childhood Data Use, the State Systemic Improvement Plan (SSIP) and early childhood collaboration with states participating in the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Grants program. At the ECTA and DaSy Centers, she is the topic chair for the personnel development issue team and is a key issue specialist for early childhood transition. She is the Inclusion Team Co-chair and is leading a variety of TA efforts to support early childhood inclusion such as the IDEA Early Childhood Inclusion Community of Practice and the Inclusion Co-hort Intensive TA initiative.

Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center

  • CB 8040
  • Chapel Hill, NC 27599-8040
  • phone: 919.962.2001
  • fax: 919.966.7463
  • email: ectacenter@unc.edu

The ECTA Center is a program of the FPG Child Development Institute of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, funded through cooperative agreement number H326P120002 from the Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education. Opinions expressed herein do not necessarily represent the Department of Education's position or policy.

  • FPG Child Development Institute
  • IDEAs that Work