“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”

—John Fitzgerald Kennedy

WWA Head Retouched
“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”

—John Fitzgerald Kennedy

WWA Head Retouched

Executive Director, Leading for Children

Executive Director, Leading for Children

Judy Jablon

“The richest opportunities in early childhood education come when educators at all levels can draw on their own wisdom to have more meaningful — and genuine — interactions.”

 Educator, consultant, author, speaker, facilitator, coach, innovator, mentor, leader. There are few roles that Judy Jablon has not played in her 35 years in early childhood education. Judy is driven by a quest to provide the best possible early learning experience for children, and at the same time to create environments where educators thrive.

Judy's compelling mission in early learning has taken her all over the world — to classrooms, administrative offices, and state houses. She has stood on stages, sat at board tables with renowned leaders and worked one-on-one with providers in widely diverse settings. To each one of these interactions, Judy brings curiosity, warmth, humor and the ability to help each person connect with their own innate wisdom.

In a field too often driven by the latest "new tool," Judy believes that practitioners can do extraordinary things with any toolset if they are empowered to act in systems that nurture optimism and openness. Judy founded Leading for Children to facilitate the development of committed, enlightened leadership at all levels of the educational system. Her work breaks down traditional silos, and encourages educators to strengthen and transform the culture of early childhood learning. The result: consistently improving outcomes for our children everywhere – at home, in school and in the community.

Judy started her career as a classroom teacher at the School for Children at Bank Street College of Education. She transitioned from direct service with children to work with pre-service and in-service teachers as an adjunct instructor teaching curriculum at Bank Street’s graduate school. As an advisor and educational consultant, Judy has worked on a wide range of transformative projects, including Bank Street’s curriculum guide, Explorations, and The Work Sampling System, a cutting-edge national early childhood performance assessment. Judy is the author and primary author of numerous publications and videos, including Powerful Interactions and Coaching with Powerful Interactions. Her work has taken her from rural Arkansas to Shenzhen, China and many places in between.

Staff

Laura Ensler

Director of Strategic Partnerships

Laura Ensler is a consultant to public, private and not-for-profit organizations in early care and education. She provides guidance on instituting change management strategies, developing new and innovative systems, assessment and evaluation. In 2013, Ms.Ensler developed, founded and opened, in partnership with the City of New York, a state-of-the-art Birth to 5 Early Childhood Center and Early Education Leadership Institute co-located at PS/IS41, a K-8 public school in Brownsville, Brooklyn. She also consults with Powerful Interactions™. Ms. Ensler is a professor at CUNY’s School of Professional Studies, and an adjunct at NYU and Bank Street College of Education. In addition, she provides search and coaching services to the early childhood education field.

Lauren Farmer

Administrative Assistant

Lauren believes that all children have the capacity to thrive when nurtured by an empathetic and encouraging community of caregivers. Lauren worked as an early educator and preschool administrator for five years before earning a master’s degree in Nonprofit Management from Northeastern University. Her passion for early education was solidified after she transitioned to the field of human resources and become an HR Business Partner for Goodwill. She knew her next adventure would be in pursuit of positive outcomes for young children. Lauren is thrilled to use her administrative skills to support a mission close to her heart.

Gretchen Henderson

Associate Director of Operations

Gretchen has more than 15 years of experience in project management, with a strong focus on systems development. Before joining Leading for Children she worked in the fields of medical communications and book publishing. A proud mother of two successful learners, she is passionate about improving outcomes for children nationwide.

Monica McCarthy-Aton

Senior Facilitator

Monica is an early childhood and special education expert with over 30 years of experience. For over 20 years, Monica has been an independent consultant, designing and providing professional development workshops, resources, curriculum, technical assistance, and coaching for early childhood and special education professionals across the nation. For several years, she has been supporting early childhood professionals to use a powerful interactions approach with children, families, and colleagues to promote program quality. Monica has been a preschool special educator, early intervention program director, education specialist at 2 state departments of education, and coach on a university affiliated preschool inclusion project. Her passion is inspiring and supporting adults to provide the highest quality of care and education for all children, regardless of individual differences.

Nichole Parks

Associate Director of Programs

Nichole was previously the Quality Rating Improvement System Coordinator with Arkansas State University Childhood Services. Her philosophy is that by nurturing the growth and development of program leaders, we create pathways to sustainable quality and develop programs deserving of our children. During her 23 years in early childhood education she’s taught preschool, served children and families as the Infant and Toddler Director of a NAEYC and state accredited program, and served as a mentor for directors leading their programs through quality accreditation.

Christine Shrader

Senior Facilitator

Christine has been in the field of early care and education for more than 25 years.  Her experience includes teaching, managing, and assessment within early care settings.  She has spent the last 10 years coaching, mentoring, and facilitating learning for early childhood educators in effective practices to strengthen and sustain the relationships needed for learning.  As Director of Coaching in Arizona's QRIS system, Christine supported the implementation of Powerful Interactions to not only impact the quality of adult-child interactions, but also to enhance engagement of statewide leadership.  She believes that little humans are the best kind and that they deserve authentic, caring, curious, and loving adults who see their competence and foster their growth.  It takes time and practice for adults to master those skills, and she is committed to supporting educators to that end.

Joelle Wheatley

Associate Director of Strategy

Joelle is committed to transforming outcomes for children and their families by fully supporting the adults in their lives. She designs and implements a strategic vision for the organization to ensure that Leading for Children is consistently delivering high-quality professional learning experiences to educators and caretakers.

Joelle has worked in strategy and evaluation for nearly 20 years. Most recently at 3Si, a social sector consulting firm, she worked to implement and improve outcomes at The Washington State Division of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF), The Seattle Department of Education and Early Learning (DEEL), the City of Chicago, and the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation (BMGF). Prior to joining 3Si, Joelle designed an evaluation strategy for the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, worked on statewide policy education evaluations at Policy Studies Associates, and conducted a qualitative study of outcomes for the Robin Hood Foundation.

Laura Ensler

Director of Strategic Partnerships

Laura Ensler is a consultant to public, private and not-for-profit organizations in early care and education. She provides guidance on instituting change management strategies, developing new and innovative systems, assessment and evaluation. In 2013, Ms.Ensler developed, founded and opened, in partnership with the City of New York, a state-of-the-art Birth to 5 Early Childhood Center and Early Education Leadership Institute co-located at PS/IS41, a K-8 public school in Brownsville, Brooklyn. She also consults with Powerful Interactions™. Ms. Ensler is a professor at CUNY’s School of Professional Studies, and an adjunct at NYU and Bank Street College of Education. In addition, she provides search and coaching services to the early childhood education field.

Lauren Farmer

Administrative Assistant

Lauren believes that all children have the capacity to thrive when nurtured by an empathetic and encouraging community of caregivers. Lauren worked as an early educator and preschool administrator for five years before earning a master’s degree in Nonprofit Management from Northeastern University. Her passion for early education was solidified after she transitioned to the field of human resources and become an HR Business Partner for Goodwill. She knew her next adventure would be in pursuit of positive outcomes for young children. Lauren is thrilled to use her administrative skills to support a mission close to her heart.

Gretchen Henderson

Associate Director of Operations

Gretchen has more than 15 years of experience in project management, with a strong focus on systems development. Before joining Leading for Children she worked in the fields of medical communications and book publishing. A proud mother of two successful learners, she is passionate about improving outcomes for children nationwide.

Monica McCarthy-Aton

Senior Facilitator

Monica is an early childhood and special education expert with over 30 years of experience. For over 20 years, Monica has been an independent consultant, designing and providing professional development workshops, resources, curriculum, technical assistance, and coaching for early childhood and special education professionals across the nation. For several years, she has been supporting early childhood professionals to use a powerful interactions approach with children, families, and colleagues to promote program quality. Monica has been a preschool special educator, early intervention program director, education specialist at 2 state departments of education, and coach on a university affiliated preschool inclusion project. Her passion is inspiring and supporting adults to provide the highest quality of care and education for all children, regardless of individual differences.

Christine Shrader

Senior Facilitator

Christine has been in the field of early care and education for more than 25 years.  Her experience includes teaching, managing, and assessment within early care settings.  She has spent the last 10 years coaching, mentoring, and facilitating learning for early childhood educators in effective practices to strengthen and sustain the relationships needed for learning.  As Director of Coaching in Arizona's QRIS system, Christine supported the implementation of Powerful Interactions to not only impact the quality of adult-child interactions, but also to enhance engagement of statewide leadership.  She believes that little humans are the best kind and that they deserve authentic, caring, curious, and loving adults who see their competence and foster their growth.  It takes time and practice for adults to master those skills, and she is committed to supporting educators to that end.

Nichole Parks

Associate Director of Programs

Nichole Parks was previously the Quality Rating Improvement System Coordinator with Arkansas State University Childhood Services. Her philosophy is that by nurturing the growth and development of program leaders, we create pathways to sustainable quality and develop programs deserving of our children. During her 23 years in early childhood education she’s taught preschool, served children and families as the Infant and Toddler Director of a NAEYC and state accredited program, and served as a mentor for directors leading their programs through quality accreditation.

Joelle Wheatley

Associate Director of Strategy

Joelle is committed to transforming outcomes for children and their families by fully supporting the adults in their lives. She designs and implements a strategic vision for the organization to ensure that Leading for Children is consistently delivering high-quality professional learning experiences to educators and caretakers.

Joelle has worked in strategy and evaluation for nearly 20 years. Most recently at 3Si, a social sector consulting firm, she worked to implement and improve outcomes at The Washington State Division of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF), The Seattle Department of Education and Early Learning (DEEL), the City of Chicago, and the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation (BMGF). Prior to joining 3Si, Joelle designed an evaluation strategy for the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, worked on statewide policy education evaluations at Policy Studies Associates, and conducted a qualitative study of outcomes for the Robin Hood Foundation.

Facilitation Team

As the mission of Leading for Children gains momentum, we have assembled a team of highly-skilled early-learning professionals from around the country who work with us to support you and your organization.

Jonathan Fribley

Jonathan Fribley supports the growth of early educators and young children as a consultant, coach, mentor and trainer. His work addresses adult-child interactions and relationships, early language and literacy, assessment and children’s thinking. He develops and leads workshops, coordinates projects, and collaborates with early educators and administrators. He has assisted public schools, Head Start agencies, nonprofit organizations, childcare providers, charter schools, and state agencies in over 20 states.

Jill Fowler Gunderman

Jill Fowler Gunderman has been working with Powerful Interactions for five years, coordinating a state-wide project to support teachers and administrators in their understanding and implementation of Powerful Interactions. Jill has presented at local, state, regional, and national conferences on Powerful Interactions and Coaching with Powerful Interactions.  As the Coordinator for the Continuum for Effective Teaching at Arkansas State University Childhood Services, she leads a team of coaches and professional development providers as they deepen their understanding and practice of Powerful interactions.

Serene Stevens

Serene Stevens is committed to supporting leaders at all levels in the early childhood field. She has 20 years of experience which includes teaching, leading as both an education and program director, coaching with the New York Professional Development Institute, and serving as an Adjunct Lecturer at the Borough of Manhattan Community College. In addition to her work in Early Childhood, she also enjoys spending time with her family, growing and learning together.

Jonathan Fribley

Jonathan Fribley supports the growth of early educators and young children as a consultant, coach, mentor and trainer. His work addresses adult-child interactions and relationships, early language and literacy, assessment and children’s thinking. He develops and leads workshops, coordinates projects, and collaborates with early educators and administrators. He has assisted public schools, Head Start agencies, nonprofit organizations, childcare providers, charter schools, and state agencies in over 20 states.

Jill Fowler Gunderman

Jill Fowler Gunderman has been working with Powerful Interactions for five years, coordinating a state-wide project to support teachers and administrators in their understanding and implementation of Powerful Interactions. Jill has presented at local, state, regional, and national conferences on Powerful Interactions and Coaching with Powerful Interactions.  As the Coordinator for the Continuum for Effective Teaching at Arkansas State University Childhood Services, she leads a team of coaches and professional development providers as they deepen their understanding and practice of Powerful interactions.

Serene Stevens

Serene Stevens is committed to supporting leaders at all levels in the early childhood field. She has 20 years of experience which includes teaching, leading as both an education and program director, coaching with the New York Professional Development Institute, and serving as an Adjunct Lecturer at the Borough of Manhattan Community College. In addition to her work in Early Childhood, she also enjoys spending time with her family, growing and learning together.

Board of Directors

Andrew Davis

Chief Partnership Officer, Shine Early Learning

Andrew Davis works with programs nationwide to focus on closing the achievement gap. He brings a deep understanding of corporate education and their foundations. As an advocate for children, a public speaker, and general problem-solver, Andrew shares the best of what he has observed from programs across the country striving for lasting, positive change.

Margo L. Dichtelmiller, Ph.D., Board Chair

Professor Emeritus, Department of Teacher Education, Eastern Michigan University

Margo Dichtelmiller has provided professional development experiences to educators across the country and is the author of numerous publications including The Power of Assessment and Work Sampling System.

Andrew Davis

Chief Partnership Officer, Shine Early Learning

Andrew Davis works with programs nationwide to focus on closing the achievement gap. He brings a deep understanding of corporate education and their foundations. As an advocate for children, a public speaker, and general problem-solver, Andrew shares the best of what he has observed from programs across the country striving for lasting, positive change.

Margo L. Dichtelmiller, Ph.D., Board Chair

Professor Emeritus, Department of Teacher Education, Eastern Michigan University

Margo Dichtelmiller has provided professional development experiences to educators across the country and is the author of numerous publications including The Power of Assessment and Work Sampling System.

Vik Gupta, Board Treasurer

Vik Gupta Consulting

Vik Gupta is a consulting director of finance to a number of non-profits. He devises and implements robust financial systems, strengthens internal controls, and is responsible for overall financial strategy. He advises start-up non-profits on risk and compliance matters as well as the role of finance in effective mission delivery.

Robin Hancock

Dr. Robin Hancock is an educator, researcher, documentary filmmaker, and consultant. Her research centers on the value of teaching global citizenship education to very young children.  Dr. Hancock's most recent book, "Global Citizenship Education: Resources and Strategies for Educators and Communities" will be released through Taylor and Francis in December 2020. Robin is the producer of a docuseries about global citizenship for young children titled World Class Trip, which is currently in production.

Vik Gupta, Board Treasurer

Vik Gupta Consulting

Vik Gupta is a consulting director of finance to a number of non-profits. He devises and implements robust financial systems, strengthens internal controls, and is responsible for overall financial strategy. He advises start-up non-profits on risk and compliance matters as well as the role of finance in effective mission delivery.

Robin Hancock

Dr. Robin Hancock is an educator, researcher, documentary filmmaker, and consultant. Her research centers on the value of teaching global citizenship education to very young children.  Dr. Hancock's most recent book, "Global Citizenship Education: Resources and Strategies for Educators and Communities" will be released through Taylor and Francis in December 2020. Robin is the producer of a docuseries about global citizenship for young children titled World Class Trip, which is currently in production.

Alison Masutani

Vice President of Operations, Partners in Development Foundation

Alison Masutani  manages the Tūtū and Me Traveling Preschool, which serves thousands of Native Hawaiian 0-5 year-old children and their caregivers. This program has become a national model for outreach to native peoples, especially those living in rural and remote areas. She oversees the implementation of programs and all related issues including staffing, fiscal needs, quality assurance, and efficiency.

Renée Skolaski, Board Secretary

Executive Director & CEO, Help for Children

Since 1998, Help For Children (HFC), has worked to prevent and treat child abuse both at home and abroad.  A global foundation, historically supported by the alternative asset management industry, Help For Children provides grants to effective child abuse prevention and treatment interventions across three continents, in seven countries and 13 cities, making the world a safer place for children.

Alison Masutani

Vice President of Operations, Partners in Development Foundation

Alison Masutani  manages the Tūtū and Me Traveling Preschool, which serves thousands of Native Hawaiian 0-5 year-old children and their caregivers. This program has become a national model for outreach to native peoples, especially those living in rural and remote areas. She oversees the implementation of programs and all related issues including staffing, fiscal needs, quality assurance, and efficiency.

Renée Skolaski, Board Secretary

Executive Director & CEO, Help for Children

Since 1998, Help For Children (HFC), has worked to prevent and treat child abuse both at home and abroad.  A global foundation, historically supported by the alternative asset management industry, Help For Children provides grants to effective child abuse prevention and treatment interventions across three continents, in seven countries and 13 cities, making the world a safer place for children.