2017 Trainer Summit - Speaker Bios

Keynote Speakers


Dr. Jermaine Davis

Before receiving the prestigious College Instructor of the Year Award, Dr. Jermaine Davis worked in corporate America for IBM, Keebler Cookies, and Frito-Lay in the areas of sales, marketing, and management. Now, he’s an award-winning Professor of Communication Studies at Century College and Organizational Leadership at St. Catherine University. Dr. Jermaine has authored10 books including, Get Up Off Your Butt & Do It NOW, The Art of Communicating Effectively with Diverse People, and Leading with Greatness.

Dr. Jermaine was raised in a drug- and gang- infested area on the west-side of Chicago in a single-parent home.  After the tragic loss of six family members to violent deaths, he enrolled in college to change the direction of his life. Dr. Jermaine holds a BA and a MA in Speech Communications, and a Doctorate in Organizational Leadership. He specializes in helping teams and organizations develop healthy communication climates so EVERYONE can thrive and succeed.

Dr. Jermaine is an international speaker and leadership coach that engages audiences with his unique style of speaking known as – EDUTAINMENT – a fun combination of education and entertainment. Prestigious organizations like 3M, Best Buy, Medtronic, Prudential, Crowne Plaza Hotels, Wells Fargo, West Point Military Academy, and Enterprise Rent-A-Car regularly seek out Dr. Jermaine’s expertise in the areas of increasing employee engagement, leadership development, diversity and inclusion, and overcoming workplace burnout.


Session Speakers


Angele Sancho Passe, MA is a consultant and author. She combines expertise in early childhood education content with expertise in human resource development. Her belief in the parallel process for children and adults permeates her work. She is as committed to the learning of children as to the professional development of educators, both American born and immigrant. To that effect, she trains and coaches mainstream educators who work with diverse teachers and children. She also trains and coaches immigrant and refugee educators. Angele has authored several books, including Teaching Dual Language Learners. She has written and delivered training curriculum in English and Spanish in person and online to hundreds of early educators. She has served on the governing board of NAEYC, and is past president of Minnesota NAEYC.


Barbara Wagner has been in the field of Early Childhood for over 20 years. She had held roles such Center base teacher, Family Child Care Provider, Mentor Project Coordinator for the Minnesota Licensed Family Child Care Association, Accreditation Specialist and most recently the Executive Director of MLFCCA. She now spends her time training and consulting throughout Minnesota for a variety of Resource and referral agencies, Pine City Technical College, Eager-to-Learn and child care programs statewide as well as national programs such as the National Association for Family Child Care. She is also currently completing her Master's Degree in Early Childhood Education.


Beth Menninga, MA Ed, is a Project Coordinator at the Center for Early Education and Development (CEED) at the University of Minnesota. Her work focuses on design and delivery of professional development, promotion of Relationship Based Professional Development, and reflective practice and the content areas of early mathematics, early literacy and infant toddler caregiving. Her past experiences in early childhood education include coordinating professional development initiatives on early mathematics and early literacy, as well as a statewide initiative to bring quality training on infant and toddler care to scale; providing training and consultation for programs and educators; and directing and teaching in early childhood education programs serving low-income children and families.


Cindy Goldade, MEd is an International Brain Gym® Faculty Member. She has a master's degree in Pre-K through Grade 6. As owner of Evergreen Montessori School, Cindy taught 3-6 year-old children for more than a decade. Currently she is an independent educator who teaches courses to teachers and adults throughout the upper Midwest. With more than fifteen years applying what she teaches personally, professionally and as a mother of three, Cindy combines her experience with over 1,000 hours of mind/body course work to shape her expertise.


Cory Woosley is the Professional Development Director at the Child Care Aware of MN where she manages an interactive, online learning program and oversees statewide Early Childhood Professional Development. In addition, Cory has been a faculty member at MCTC and DCTC in early education since 1996. Her undergraduate work is in Early Childhood and in 2009 she received an Online and Adult Education Instructional Graduate Degree from Concordia University in St Paul MN. In 2015, Cory was selected as Child Care Exchange Master Leader.


Dawn Braa is an education enthusiast! She has a Master of Arts in Early Childhood Education from the University of Phoenix and continues to update her credentials by staying current in the field through courses, webinars, workshops, research, and conferences.  Dawn has had the opportunity to facilitate learning as a preschool teacher in both metro and rural Minnesota cities. Currently, she is an Early Childhood and Youth Development instructor and has been teaching at the collegiate level, both online and face to face, for 13 years. Dawn believes that teaching is a relationship between teachers and students...teaching and learning from one another. She regularly facilitates adult learning for early childhood educators through local, state, and national training sessions. No matter if she’s facilitating learning in the community or at the college, her goal is to inspire and motivate the learner to be their personal best!


Dea Anderson is the Learning Resources Coordinator with Center for Inclusive Child Care. Dea has worked in the field of early childhood care and education for over 30 years. She has been a classroom teacher, assistant director, trainer, coach and consultant. Dea attended Mankato State University in Mankato, Minnesota where she received a Bachelor of Science Teaching Degree in Elementary Education with a minor in Early Childhood Education. She also attended the University of Minnesota completing the Licensure Program in Early Childhood Special Education. In January 2014, Dea graduated from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota with a Master’s of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy with an emphasis in Play Therapy. Dea also completed the requirements for MAIECMH (Minnesota Association for Infant & Early Childhood Mental Health) endorsement and is now IMH-E (II).


Hannah Riddle de Rojas is a founder of SolBe Learning, a Boston-based early education center, having previously worked both as a teacher and center director. She is also a bilingual educator and owner-operator of Semillitas, a Minnesota-based professional development company. In addition, as a Professional Development Specialist, Hannah conducts CDA verifications visits in English and Spanish. Hannah earned a B.S. in Child Psychology and a B.A. in Spanish Studies at the University of Minnesota and has a Master's degree in Adult ESL Education from Hamline University. She is currently attending Walden University to complete her Masters in Early Childhood Education, Administration and Leadership. As at trainer, she enjoys facilitating conversations and learning on the topics of cultural competence and language development.


Heywon Chung shares her twelve years of experience in the field of education with Achieve in her role as a Professional Support Specialist. She is responsible for supporting Achieve approved trainers during the approval and course approval process. She consistently provides one-on-one support to Achieve approved trainers and strives to build excellent relationships. She recognizes the importance of high quality and enjoys helping to guide trainers on their path to success.


Jamie Bonczyk obtained a M.A. in Early Childhood Education Professions from Roosevelt University in Chicago, IL. She has worked in diverse Early Childhood environments including Head Start, State Pre K, and for profit center based care. Ms. Bonczyk has held the roles of assistant and lead teacher, assistant director, compliance monitor, adjunct instructor, and administrator. Ms. Bonczyk believes all Early Childhood Professionals should have self-care strategies woven into their daily work with children and families. To get the word out, she has presented on the topics of implementing Anti-Bias education and how staff beliefs and values impact the workplace for NAEYC. In addition, she conducted a NHSA preconference session called “Wellness at Work: Healthy Practices to Be Your Best When Working With Children.” For her personal self-care plan, Jamie is a student and performer of improvised theater and storytelling. She performs daily for her 4-year-old daughter, Sylvie.


Jim Janececk, DHS Family Systems, Licensing Division. Jim has been with DHS for 21 years. He currently supervises the family child care team in the Family Systems Unit in the Licensing Division. The family child care team oversees the county agencies in their delegated responsibility to license family child care homes. This involves providing technical assistance to county licensors, training county licensors on how to license homes, acting upon recommendations from counties for negative licensing actions, and working with other parts of DHS to coordinate child care services in Minnesota. Prior to working in the Family Systems Unit, Jim was a maltreatment investigator and supervisor in the Licensing Division’s Maltreatment Investigations unit.


Katie Hoffman


Kimberly Stone, MSW, LISW, is a Professional Development Specialist at the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) in the Child Care Services Division. She directs a variety of projects that provide professional development opportunities to early care and education practitioners. Prior to joining early childhood, she worked for nine years in the Child Safety and Permanency Division at DHS as a curriculum coordinator, contract manager and trainer advisor. In the 1990s, she provided in-home counseling to families who received services through child protection then she was the manager for the Support and Advocacy for Independent Living program that served adolescents aging out of foster care in eight counties. Ms. Stone received her master’s degree in Social Work from Augsburg College, Minnesota in program development and administration.


Kristen Wheeler-Highland has been working in the early care and education field for more than 30 years in a variety of roles - teacher, director, trainer, consultant and writer (curriculum and training). During this time I have had the honor of coaching, mentoring and training with many high quality, dedicated and passionate professionals. I have been training and consulting in our field for more than 20 years. During this time I discovered a passion for working with and alongside professionals in the roles of consultant, coach and mentor. I currently hold a position at MnAEYC-MnSACA that allows me to work with Early Childhood Programs dedicated to focusing on and increasing their quality for the children and families they serve.


Kylie Cooper is a Professional Development Advisor for the Metro area. She has served on the Board of Directors for the Minnesota Association for the Education of Young Children – Minnesota School Age Care Alliance for over two years. Prior to her work as an Advisor, Kylie was a toddler and preschool teacher. Kylie has a passion for continuing to support the early childhood profession, by helping those new to the field recognize the impact they have on young lives.


Michelle Beedle is a supervisor at the Department of Human Services (DHS) with the child care center licensing unit. Michelle has been working with licensing for 3 years. During that time, she has worked on various initiatives focusing on systems improvements including extensive work with the Child Care and Development Block Grant act, a pilot program with Develop, and developing an electronic monitoring tool. Michelle has a Birth-Grade 3 teaching license, as well as a master’s degree in early childhood education. Prior to working at DHS, Michelle worked as a teacher, a child care center director, and a higher education faculty.


Nancy Hafner, M.Ed. Early childhood care and education has been Nancy's career and passion for over 30 years. Her experiences in educating others range from our youngest infants, to college students, to adult educators. As a Master Trainer with MNCPD, she delivers and develops content via classroom, Eager-to-Learn, and Anytime Learning. She is also an RBPD Specialist with endorsements in Accreditation, Inclusion Coaching, Health & Safety, Infant/Toddler and CLASS. Currently, Nancy is working and advocating for high quality early learning in West Central MN as the Community Engagement Specialist with Willmar Public Schools.


Rachel Daley earned her M.A. in Education from Concordia University. After obtaining an A.S. degree in child development and a bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education. In addition to teaching at MSC Southeast, Rachel’s career experiences include family childcare, nanny, director of religious education, childcare trainer, preschool teacher, foster parent, behavior coach and substitute teacher.


Raelene Ostberg is a Master Trainer with MNCPD, Parent Educator with Early Childhood Family Education, and Founder of Thriving Together, LLC, an organization with the goal of bringing critical, life-changing information and proven strategies to those doing the important job of raising our next generation. From Keynote to breakout, her engaging and inspiring trainings bring tangible tools that can be applied right away, personally and professionally. Participants appreciate Raelene’s enthusiasm, energy, and theatrical storytelling that bring these relevant research-based methods to real-life application. Raelene Ostberg obtained her BA in Theater and M.Ed. in Family Education from the University of Minnesota. Raelene has worked for twenty years to develop and deliver educational experiences designed to lower stress and increase success for all in order to ensure we thrive together – young children and the parents, providers, teacher, and other early childhood professionals who care for them.


Sarah Mulso My early childhood career covers nearly 20 years and includes being an assistant director at a child care center, a preschool half-day teacher, a toddler teacher and an adjunct faculty in the area of Child and Family Studies. I am passionate about children and supporting them in play based, developmentally appropriate ways. Over time, this has spread to providing support and education to providers. Giving children the best start means that teachers and providers needs to be confident in their practices and be able to share the "why" of the important work that they do each day. My best training to keep me grounded has come from my own children-because as we all know, experience is our very best teacher!


Scott Parker is the Supervisor of the Child Development Services Unit at the Minnesota Department of Human Services which directs state and federal funding to support child care quality and professional development. Prior to working at DHS, Scott worked in the Child Care Aware system in Minnesota and in Washington State. He has also been a child care center director, preschool teacher, and school age care program coordinator.


Sharon Bergen is an Early Childhood and Youth Development Instructor at Dakota County Technical College. In addition, I currently facilitate several on line courses through Eager to Learn and consult as a developer of online and face to face training materials for Child Care Aware, DHS, and other entities. My academic background is in early childhood education and in adult learning and performance improvement. My career includes over thirty years of work in a wide range of early childhood programs and roles including leadership of a nationwide training and quality improvement department for a large child care organization. I recently authored my third book for the early childhood profession, The Early Childhood Staff Guide.


Sheryl Warner has a 30 year career in Early Childhood including roles as teacher, owner, mentor, trainer and author. Her work experiences include daily interactions with children ages infant to school age, mentoring providers to quality, and authoring and presenting training for Minnesota and NAFCC. She has established and served on non-profit boards and works locally, statewide and nationally to advocate for family child care, the providers who open their homes to children and the families who depend on them for quality and accessible care.


Tara Hudson has been with Achieve since February 2014. Her role as Professional Development Coordinator allows her to provide personalized individual support to Achieve approved trainers. She takes pride in carefully reviewing course content proposals to ensure the availability of quality learning and professional development opportunities for practitioners. Her commitment to looking after children’s best interests along with her respect for the ECE workforce, guides her path in supporting Achieve trainers and their achievement goals.


Troy Dvorak holds a Master's degree in clinical psychology and is an adjunct professor of psychology at Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC). Prior to the twelve years he has spent at MCTC, Troy worked as a psychometrist at a mental health clinic in Canada for 7.5 years, providing psychological assessment and treatment to children, teens, and families. Troy is the author of Psychological Keys to Student Success. Despite its deep roots in research and practice, the book is specifically written for students as a helpful guide for self-reflection and the development of stronger personal and thinking skills (“non-academic factors”). Online, Troy has developed a Twitter and Facebook following where he offers insights and tips to students and educators. His online persona reflects his love of 80s hard rock and "hair" metal. He is the RockinPsychProf. You can also visit his website.


Vicki Hawley received her M.S. in Child Development/Family Science from North Dakota State University. Her work as a writer, adult educator, and early childhood consultant reflects a perspective from 15 years as a classroom teacher and home visitor. Vicki’s most recent work at the U of MN weaves universal multicultural instructional design for adult learners into curriculum development and supporting teachers and coaches in high quality interactions as measured in the CLASS.


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Speaker Biographies