National Conference for Community and Justice of Metropolitan St. Louis
East St. Louis Center
St. Louis Promise Zone
Clark-Fox Policy Institute
Social System Design Lab
SouthSide Early Childhood Center
United Congregations of Metro East
Catholic Campaign for Human Development
Action St. Louis
BRAND of St. Louis
Incarnate Word Foundation
Missouri Foundation for Health
Parents United for Change
Melanie West holds a M.A.T in Early Childhood Education from Webster University and has spent the past twelve years in education, in roles with the Special School District of St. Louis, Parents as Teachers, and most recently St. Louis Public School District at Wilkinson Early Childhood Center. She is grateful to be able to support each unique learner in their growth and believes a classroom should be a caring, predictable, and encouraging community. Her studies and experience in the Reggio Emilia practice influence classroom project-based learning.
Katie Rahn is the Executive Director of SouthSide Early Childhood Center in St. Louis, Missouri. SouthSide is the oldest early childhood program in the state and is widely recognized as a model for high quality and innovative programming. Rahn holds a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education and master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction as well as a doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy. Rahn has worked in the field of early childhood as a classroom teacher, center administrator, consultant and a college instructor. She is especially passionate about creating systems-level change that will ensure children from disadvantaged backgrounds have access to quality early childhood services. Currently, Rahn is working with a variety of community partners to increase public and private investment in early childhood across the St. Louis region. She also chairs the early childhood work group for Kids Win Missouri, a statewide child well-being coalition. Finally, Rahn is a member of IFF's Regional Community Advisory Committee.
Yvette A. Levy earned her B.A. in Business Administration-Organizational Studies from Fontbonne University in 2005 and received a M.A. in Special Education from Fontbonne University in 2008. She also holds a M.A. in Elementary Administration from the University of Missouri Saint Louis. Ms. Levy has been the principal at Wilkinson Early Childhood Center in the St. Louis Public Schools District for the past five years. She has taught Gifted Science, Special Education (Autism) and Kindergarten through fourth grades. Ms. Levy will earn her Ed.D in Educational Administration from Maryville University in December 2019.
Birth through Eight Strategy for Tulsa
The Birth through Eight Strategy for Tulsa (BEST) represents an exciting opportunity for Tulsa. BEST is a comprehensive, continuous and integrated approach that focuses on families to help break the cycle of intergenerational poverty. This strategy knits together programs and services to create a seamless continuum of support. Programs, services, community agencies and philanthropies are partnering with Tulsa’s families to build a cycle of opportunity. Over the course of ten years, best is projected to reach 80 percent of the 40,000 children living in poverty under the age of nine in tulsa county annually.
Tulsa Educare is a state-of-the-art early childhood program that provides education and care for approximately 500 children (from six weeks through four-years-of-age) and their families with full day, year-round early childhood education, family engagement services and ongoing health initiatives in three facilities. Those eligible to attend include infants, toddlers, and preschool age children from low-income families. Tulsa Educare is the result of an innovative partnership between public and private entities and is at the forefront of one of the boldest endeavors in the nation: to halt the cycle of poverty through the provision of excellent early education, including a heavy emphasis on parent engagement and ongoing evaluation. By combining best practices in early childhood education and collaborative partnerships with Head Start, the local school district, social service agencies, and healthcare practitioners, Tulsa Educare is able to enhance the early learning curriculum with wrap-around family engagement services. Tulsa Educare is a part of a larger Educare Learning Network of like-minded individuals working together to demonstrate that research-based early childhood education lessens the persistent achievement gap for our nation’s most at-risk young children. The Network’s evidence, practice expertise and dynamic partnerships aspire that all children and families, especially those at greatest risk, will have access to effective early learning and that the first five years of life will be an integral part of the nation’s education system. The national Educare network of early childhood facilities is helping to shape a new model for delivering education and care to children most at risk of school failure and serves as a catalyst for broader change throughout the nation. There are currently 23 Educare schools around the country. Tulsa is the only city in the country with three Educare schools (soon to be four) and Oklahoma was the first state with four Educare schools (including one in Oklahoma City).
ImpactTulsa is an unprecedented partnership connecting over 300 organizations impacting 170,000+ students. Soon after the launch of ImpactTulsa in the spring of 2014, the partners articulated six outcomes along the education pipeline the Tulsa region would remain committed to jointly impacting:
— Kindergarten readiness
— Third-grade reading proficiency
— Middle school math proficiency
— High school completion, college, and career ready
— Postsecondary enrollment
— Postsecondary completion
In an effort to prioritize the work of the collective partnership, three areas of focus for initial action were discussed, selected and approved by the Leadership Council—Kindergarten readiness, 3rd grade reading proficiency, High School Completion – Postsecondary- and Career-ready.
Onikah Asamoa-Caesar is the Director of Strategic Advisement for the Birth through Eight Strategy for Tulsa at GKFF. She spent her early years working in child welfare in southern California with a focus on improving policies and practices within the foster care system. Onikah moved to Tulsa in 2013 as a Teach for America Corps member. After her service, she worked on various state-level criminal justice policy initiatives under the office of Senator Mike Johnston in Denver, Colorado. She holds a bachelor’s degree in history from California State University at Fullerton and a master’s degree in education from Johns Hopkins University.
Hi everyone! My name is Chris Amirault. I live here in Tulsa, Oklahoma with my wife and younger daughter, where I serve as director of Tulsa Educare MacArthur. From 2016-17, I worked as an early childhood consultant while living in Mexico, focusing on organizational culture, change management, and QRIS system design in Oregon, Rhode Island, and California. For thirteen years prior I was executive director of an NAEYC-accredited program, Brown/Fox Point Early Childhood Education Center in Providence, Rhode Island. During that time, I also taught early childhood education and development courses for area colleges and universities and served as a mentor and coach for providers throughout the community. Prior to that, I was director of the Institute for Elementary and Secondary Education at Brown University, where I taught philosophy of education, among other courses.
In addition to that paid work, I have had an active volunteer life. I was the President of the Rhode Island Association for the Education of Young Children for several years, and I’ve also served as the Chair of the Council for NAEYC Accreditation, a founding facilitator of NAEYC’s Diversity & Equity Interest Forum, and on many other local and state committees committed to my community’s children and families. I currently sit on the NAEYC Affiliate Advisory Council and their Early Learning Systems committee. Finally, over three decades I’ve facilitated workshops on conflict, assessment and instruction, ethics and professionalism, challenging behavior, family engagement, anti-bias education, and equity, presenting at many state, regional, and national conferences.
Hi! My name is Laura Fleming. I joined the Tulsa Educare: MacArthur faculty as the on-site Mental Health Specialist in June 2017. For the preceding 18 years, I worked as a therapist and a Clinical Supervisor for Family & Children's Services, one of the larger non-profit social service agencies in the Tulsa area. I've always been drawn to working in collaborative, community-based programs, so over the last 20 years I have facilitated early intervention parenting groups in Tulsa Housing Authority complexes, provided intensive day treatment services in at-risk elementary schools, and offered infant/early childhood mental health consultation services in local EHS/Head Start centers.
Jessica Smith is the Director of Early Learning at ImpactTulsa who is dedicated to serving children and enhancing education in the Tulsa community. She brings more than fifteen years of public education and nonprofit experience to the organization. Her passion and drive to improve the lives of students are evident throughout her career.
Before joining the ImpactTulsa team, Jessica led a team of 52 people to serve over 1,300 students in 22 Tulsa Public Schools as the Program Director for Reading Partners Tulsa, where student enrollment increased 400% over the 4 years, and student proficiency increased year after year. Prior to joining Reading Partners Tulsa, Jessica was a library media specialist for nine years and was an administrator in TPS for the 2012-2013 school year.
Jessica brings a host of strengths to her role including strategic planning, project management, innovation, relationship building, analyzing and using data for continuous improvement, and communication. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and Master’s degree in Library Media Science from Northeastern State University. She obtained her Elementary Principal certification, holds her National Board Certification in Library Media, and is currently working on her doctoral dissertation with the University of Oklahoma in educational administration, curriculum, and supervision. Jessica is also a proud member of Leadership Tulsa, class of 52.
Andrea Stacy is the Director of School District Support. Andrea graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Northeastern State University in 2006.
Prior to joining the ImpactTulsa team, Andrea worked for nine years as a teacher in Tulsa Public Schools. During this time, she spent three years teaching middle school math at Gilcrease Elementary and six years teaching 3rd-5th grade at Marshall Elementary. Andrea received the honor of the 2014-2015 Teacher of the Year award at Marshall Elementary.
Through her teaching career, Andrea gained experience in administration and student intervention programs. As the teacher in charge, she served as the facilitator of school reform initiatives and focused on driving schoolwide improvement. Andrea has a background in academic and behavioral intervention programs due to her roles as an Internal Behavior Coach and member of the Child Study Team. In these positions, Andrea played a vital role in analyzing student academic, behavioral, social, and emotional processes. These experiences make Andrea an excellent resource for overall student support.
In addition to her teaching background, Andrea brings two years of non-profit experience through Reading Partners as a Program Manager and Deputy Program Director. In this position, she worked closely with 24 Tulsa Public Schools and nearly 1400 community volunteers to serve 1500 students with individualized one-on-one reading instruction.
Andrea is the proud mother of her son who attends Jenks Public Schools. In her free time, you can find her at a variety of sporting events cheering him on.
Early Childhood Education Institute
The Early Childhood Education Institute (ECEI) is an applied research group focused on young children, birth to age 8, their families, and early care and education providers. Since 2006 we have conducted a variety of program evaluation projects and launched our own independent research aligned with our vision and mission.
The ECEI was founded in 2006 with one staff member and one evaluation project. Over the past ten years, our projects and staffing have increased exponentially as we build our research capacity. Currently, in 2016-17, we have ten different research projects and 30 full- and part-time staff and graduate assistants.
Lauren Thiesse is the Manager of Continuous Learning and Improvement with ImpactTulsa. She moved to Oklahoma from her home state of Maryland in 2014 after she graduated from McDaniel College with a degree in English. She holds an MPA from the University of Oklahoma- Tulsa. Lauren served as an Americorps member and program manager with Reading Partners. She is passionate about facilitating Collaborative Action Networks to help organizations learn from each other and improve the lives of children and families in Tulsa.
My name is Emisha Young. I joined the E3 family in February 2018 as a Master Teacher. In my role, I provide instructional support, coaching and reflective supervision to 24 classroom staff. I am also the lead trainer and coach for the three Educare classrooms participating in the in the Oklahoma statewide pilot of LENA Grow. I have been in the field of early childhood for nearly 15 years working as a Head Start Teacher, Master Teacher, and New Teacher Coach. I also worked as a director for an NAEYC-accredited child development center and a project director for an early childhood research organization.
Cindy is the Executive Director of Tulsa Educare, an agency operating three high quality early childhood centers for lower-income families and working through community partners to support early education. Formerly, she worked at CAP Tulsa for 12 years in a variety of roles but most recently as the Director of Research & Innovation. She also served on the Board of Education for Tulsa Public Schools from May 2015 to January 2019.
She holds a B.A. in Economics and Mathematics from Emory University in Atlanta and a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of California at Berkeley.
Cindy and her husband Jason have two children Fairlyn and Morgan. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, walking her dog, and practicing yoga.
Sherri Castle, Senior Research and Policy Associate, joined the Early Childhood Education Institute at University of Oklahoma in January 2012. Currently she serves as Principal Investigator for the CAP-Tulsa Program Evaluation Project. Her responsibilities for these projects include overseeing project staff and collaborating on project design, data analysis, and dissemination of findings. Sherri also leads the ECEI Research Infrastructure Team, Project Leadership Team, and Writing Club.
Aunt Jackie’s Family Child Care Home
The center has the capacity to host 12 children (birth-6+ years old). They provide services during daytime hours. They currently are at a 3 star level. The center partners with Impact Tulsa.
Jacqueline Evans has worked in the field of early childhood for thirty years and currently owns and operates a large family childcare home in Tulsa, Oklahoma. For the past 4 years, her home, Aunt Jackie’s Family Childcare, has partnered with Tulsa Educare for the Early Head Start Child Care Partnership grant. Jacqueline’s home is accredited by the National Association for Family Childcare and holds the highest QRIS rating for Oklahoma. In 2012 she received the Family Childcare Home Provider of the Year award.
Prior to owning a family childcare, Jacqueline worked as a Childcare Coordinator for the Salvation Army overseeing daily operations for 4 childcare sites in the Tulsa area. Jacqueline currently serves as a mentor for the local Childcare Resource Center and is very active in her community supporting best practice in family childcare.
Tulsa Public Schools
Tulsa Public Schools believes:
— How children learn in their earliest years plays a key role in their brain development and in the adults they will become.
— Children learn best when they get to explore the world around them, play with others, and learn to speak with and listen to others.
— All children deserve strong learning experiences from birth to lay the foundation for lifelong learning.
Key highlights of their model include:
— Growth-Centered Learning Environments. Early childhood classrooms provide a safe, nurturing environment.
— Age Appropriate Learning. Early learning classrooms provide students with age appropriate, intellectually stimulating experiences, where students play and learn.
— Prepare for Success from Day One. The youngest students in Tulsa will benefit from Birth through Eight Strategy for Tulsa, which aims to increase the percentage of children born healthy, raised in safe and nurturing homes, ready to enter kindergarten, and achieving success by third grade.
Kelly Kane is the executive director of early childhood education at Tulsa Public Schools.
CAP Tulsa, a community action agency, is focused on interrupting the cycle of poverty. We provide high-quality early education services for young children, as well as a range of supportive services designed to improve the economic status of their parents.
CAP Tulsa’s Theory of Change: Combining high-quality early education for young children with supports that promote nurturing parenting and family financial stability will ensure that children reach their full developmental potential by the end of third grade. CAP Tulsa’s Results Map captures the positive conditions that support a child’s long-term journey toward achieving economic success as an adult–so that their children are not also born into poverty.
Their four areas of focus include:
- Child Success: ensure children receive high-quality education and care services from birth through third grade
- Family Success: partner with families to create a nurturing and secure environment for their children
- Community Success: work collectively with other organizations to improve the broader system supporting child and family success
- Organizational Success: optimize process management and resource stewardship while providing a great place to work
All of CAP Tulsa’s current interactions with families unfold across a spectrum of both time and level of engagement:
- Before a child is ever enrolled in CAP Tulsa’s Early Childhood Program
- During a child’s enrollment
- After a child grows beyond preschool
Karen Kiely, CAP’s Chief Operating Officer, joined CAP Tulsa in 2008 and was named chief operating officer in 2009, assuming responsibility for day-to-day operations of the agency, as well as strategic planning. During her tenure, Kiely has seen CAP Tulsa named “Best Non Profit to Work For” by the Non-Profit Times three years in a row. CAP Tulsa has also received a Mosaic Award for Top Inclusive Workplace Culture from the Tulsa Regional Chamber for three consecutive years.
Prior to joining CAP, Kiely spent seventeen years at The Bama Companies, Inc., in a variety of leadership roles in both the U.S. and Beijing, China. Before joining Bama, Kiely spent five years in international banking with Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company in New York, Taipei and Hong Kong. Kiely holds an MBA from Oklahoma State University and a B.S. in economics from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Hello My name is Cindee Bergren. I have worked with Tulsa Educare for 18 years as a Curriculum Specialist, Literacy Mentor, Master Teacher and now currently Assistant Director at Educare McArthur. I worked for Children's World for 8 years as their Quality Assurance and Accreditation Specialist based out of Golden, Colorado. I have also served as a School Director for the University of Tulsa's Child Development Center for 9 years and have enjoyed a full 35 years in the Early Childhood Field of Education. I reside in Broken Arrow with my Husband of 37 years. We are the proud parents of 2 children and 3 grandchildren.
I have also had side jobs. I worked with NAEYC and served as a NAEYC Validator for 15 years. In my work as a Validator I observed AirForce and Army early childhood facilities in Japan, Germany. I have also taught early childhood classes to adult students at Tulsa Community College.
Kyleigh Brewer is a PreK teacher at Eugene Field Elementary.
Delia Kimbrel holds a Ph.D. in Social Policy from the Heller School of Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. Delia brings an array of experience in research design, advanced analysis, and program evaluation in economic development, housing, and education policy.
For ten years, Delia worked at the Institute on Assets and Social Policy leading multi-year, formative, impact, and cost-benefit evaluations of federal HUD, housing-based, self-sufficiency, economic service, and asset-building initiatives for low-income families throughout Massachusetts and Maine.
As a Harvard University, Rappaport Public Policy Fellow, she worked in the Bureau of Rental Assistance at the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). Delia also was a doctoral fellow at MDRC, a leading education, and social policy research organization based in New York City. In Tulsa, Delia’s work has focused on leading the research, data analysis, and evaluation efforts at Growing Together (GT). While at GT, Delia developed and implemented a research and evaluation agenda that builds the evidence-base of Growing Together’s theory of change, and led the analysis of data across GT’s strategic areas related to education, housing, and community vibrancy.
Delia brings a trained, critical eye for analyzing student and academic performance data as well as evaluation expertise for assessing the impact of innovative strategies and interventions being tried and tested in schools across the country.
Jordan Sheffield-Mix is the Program Manager for ECE.
Dan Botting brings a strong analytical eye with a focus on the big picture to ImpactTulsa. As a member of the Research and Analysis team, Dan will use his background in advanced analysis, research, program evaluation, and education policy to support our partners throughout the Tulsa community.
Prior to ImpactTulsa, Dan was a policy fellow at The Education Trust – Midwest. While there, he worked to improve education for all students in Michigan by focusing on state level policies. He did this by evaluating current policies and comparing them to best practices across the nation and internationally. This included assessments of Michigan’s school accountability system under the Every Student Succeeds Act and Michigan’s school finance system. Once the background work was done, Dan helped to facilitate discussions between Educators and Policy Makers to address these issues.
Dan received Bachelor’s degrees in both Economics and Finance from Calvin College. He also holds both a Master in Public Policy from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and a Master in Applied Economics from the University of Michigan. Dan is also an Education Pioneers Fellow. On top of this, Dan has been committed to the communities he’s lived in, serving as a big brother through Big Brothers Big Sisters, an ESL teacher, an after-school program leader, and a one-on-one tutor for middle and high school students.