Anti-Bias and Equity: September 29 & 30

Louise Derman-Sparks has worked for 60 years in the field of early childhood care and education. A faculty emeritus of Pacific Oaks College she also was a preschool teacher and childcare center director. Louise authored, and coauthored several books, including: Leading Anti-Bias Early Childhood Programs: A Guide to Change, Anti-Bias Education for Young Children & Ourselves; “What If All the Kids are White ?” Anti-bias/Multicultural Education with Young Children and Families; Teaching/Learning Anti-Racist, and Anti-Bias Curriculum : Tools for Empowering Young Children. She gave conference keynote addresses and workshops through-out the United States and internationally. A former member of the Governing Board of the National Association for the Education of Young Children, Louise received the McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership’s “Visionary Leader” award in 2012 and an honorary doctorate from Banks Street College of Education in 2021. Louise is a parent of two adult children, Douglass and Sean.

Debbie LeeKeenan is a lecturer, consultant and author. She has been in the field of early education for over 50 years, as a former preschool, special education, and elementary school teacher. Debbie was director of the Eliot-Pearson Children’s School at Tufts University from 1996 to 2013, and a member of the early childhood faculty at Tufts University, Lesley University and the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. She is co-producer of the award winning film, Reflecting on Anti-bias Education in Action: The Early Years,” (April 2021). Her co-authored books include: From Survive to Thrive:  A Director’s Guide for Leading an Early Childhood Program and Leading Anti-bias Early Childhood Programs: A Guide for Change, and articles in Young Children and Child Care Exchange. Debbie is a Chinese -American of immigrant parents, and part of a multi-ethnic family.


Advancing ECE as a Profession: October 20 & 21

Rhian Evans Allvin serves as the chief executive officer of NAEYC. She began at NAEYC in August 2013 and she is responsible for guiding the strategic direction of the organization as well as leading implementation. During Rhian’s tenure, NAEYC has gone through a dramatic structural transformation to reverse 15 years of membership decline, better serve members nationally and at the state and local levels, exert strong policy and advocacy leadership, provide thought leadership and unequivocal guidance through the development of position statements and streamline the early childhood program accreditation system to decisively and accessibly define early childhood program quality. Also during this time, NAEYC conceptualized and convened Power to the Profession, a national collaborative between 15 organizations representing the early childhood field which resulted in the release of a Unifying Framework to create an aligned professional field of practice for early childhood educators. (continue reading full bio here)

Marica Cox Mitchell is the Director, Early Learning at the Bainum Family Foundation. She will lead the Foundation’s efforts to build quality, comprehensive early childhood services in the District of Columbia and in other communities throughout the country. Before joining the Foundation, Cox Mitchell worked for the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), where she most recently served as Deputy Executive Director, Early Learning Systems. In this role, she led a portfolio encompassing public policy and advocacy, accreditations of early learning programs, higher education accreditation and the Power to the Profession initiative. Prior to that, was Senior Director, NAEYC Accreditation for Higher Education Programs. She also worked for the District’s Office of the State Superintendent of Education from 2009 to 2012 — serving as Director, School Preparedness Division and Supervisor, Professional Development Unit. She began her career as a teacher — working in various early learning settings as well as with young children birth through age 8. Cox Mitchell holds a Master of Science in Educational Administration from the University of Scranton as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education from the University of the District of Columbia.

Yvette Sanchez Fuentes is a nationally recognized early childhood expert who has been influential in driving effective policy and practice change in Head Start, Child Care and workforce through the intentional engagement of stakeholders. Yvette has dedicated her professional career to understanding how policy, research and implementation impact lifelong outcomes for young children and their families struggling with adversities including low-income, migrant and seasonal farm workers, immigrant communities, American Indian and Alaska Native, and dual language learners. Yvette served as the Director of the Office of Head Start, a Presidential Political Appointee at the United States Department of Health and Human Services. In her role as Director, Ms. Sanchez Fuentes led the Administration’s critically important mission of enriching the quality of early childhood development for our nation’s most vulnerable children. Yvette currently serves as Early Childhood Support for the Delaware Department of Education.

Ashley Williams is CSCCE’s Director of California Policy and Educator Engagement Programs. In her role, she tracks, analyzes, and translates state ECE policy development with a particular focus on issues related to the early education workforce, connects with national policy and develops educator engagement strategies. She is the former Associate Director of EDvance, an ECE teacher preparation program at San Francisco State University (SF State). Over the past 17 years, Ashley has worked in several roles in ECE including serving as a Jumpstart Corps Member where she started her ECE journey. She continued on to become a preschool teacher, Head Start center director, and early childhood teacher educator at the undergraduate and master’s level at SF State. She has experience with ECE policy and systems work, serving as the Senior Quality and Workforce Analyst for the San Francisco Office of Early Care and Education. Her professional work also extends internationally as she co-led a study abroad service-learning program in ECE settings in South Africa and New Zealand. Overall, Ashley’s daily work and research are rooted in contributing to ECE systems in ways that explicitly reveal, dissolve, and resolve systemic inequities that cause harm to children, families, and the educators that work with them- especially when they are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. She earned her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership at SF State where she also earned her BA in Child and Adolescent Development and an M.A.Ed. with an emphasis on Early Childhood Education.


Mental Health and Resilience: November 8th & 9th

Kheya Ganguly brings a wealth of personal and professional experience to the table. She is currently the Director of Trauma Prevention and Resilience Development for the State of Vermont and is based out of the Department of Mental Health. Kheya began her career working as a Childcare Resource and Referral Specialist. She has working for non-profits, colleges, school systems, and Designated Mental Health Agencies. She is an experienced teacher and trainer and has worked with all age groups. She created curriculum for teachers, parents, medical and education professionals and courses for both undergraduate and graduate students. Kheya is a passionate advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion as well as creating locally sourced food systems, social justice, professional ethics and women’s studies. Kheya has a solid background in collaborative consultation and coaching and excels at building consensus. Kheya has experience in higher education working as a writing tutor, academic advisor, and admissions advisor, as well as experience teaching undergraduate courses in Counseling and Human Development. Kheya is a graduate of NVU – Johnson (2000) with a BA in Psychology and the University of South Florida (2002) with a MA in School Psychology/Curriculum & Instruction, Kheya. She is the recipient of an ALANA award recognizing excellence as a minority student and a USF University Fellowship for academic achievement. Her work and research interests include Trauma and Resilience, Human Sexuality, Psychology, Women’s Studies, and Race/Culture. Born in India, and raised in both India and the United States, she has traveled extensively over the world. She speaks Bengali and English.