Who We Are 2017-09-14T09:36:31+00:00
“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”

—John Fitzgerald Kennedy

“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”

—John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Executive Director, Leading for Children

Judy Jablon

Executive Director, Leading for Children

“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.

Board of Directors

Barbara Bilello

Wealth Advisor, RegentAtlantic

Barbara Bilello is a Wealth Advisor with over two decades of industry experience. Barbara offers her clients financially relevant and measurable strategies designed to meet their multi-generational wealth objectives. Over the course of her career, Barbara has worked at First Albany Corporation, Goldman, Sachs & Co. and U.S. Trust and is an active volunteer with the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network’s Northern New Jersey chapter. 

 Joan Cenedella, Ed.D.

Former Dean of Children’s Programs and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Bank Street College of Education

Joan Cenedella’s work at Bank Street focused on the school as community and professional development. She has been a consultant to the Northampton, MA public schools and Board Chair for the Northeast Foundation for Children. She is currently the Chair of Strategic Planning on the board of the Northampton Community Music Center.

Barbara Bilello

Wealth Advisor, RegentAtlantic

Barbara Bilello is a Wealth Advisor with over two decades of industry experience. Barbara offers her clients financially relevant and measurable strategies designed to meet their multi-generational wealth objectives. Over the course of her career, Barbara has worked at First Albany Corporation, Goldman, Sachs & Co. and U.S. Trust and is an active volunteer with the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network’s Northern New Jersey chapter.

Joan Cenedella, Ed.D.

Former Dean of Children’s Programs and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Bank Street College of Education

Joan Cenedella’s work at Bank Street focused on the school as community and professional development. She has been a consultant to the Northampton, MA public schools and Board Chair for the Northeast Foundation for Children. She is currently the Chair of Strategic Planning on the board of the Northampton Community Music Center.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Samuel J. Meisels, Ed.D.

Founding Executive Director and Professor of Child, Youth, and Family Studies, Buffett Early Childhood Institute at the University of Nebraska

Sam Meisels is a leading authority on the assessment of young children and early childhood development. He served as president for 12 years of Erikson Institute in Chicago, one of the country’s premier graduate schools in child development, and had a distinguished 21-year research career at the University of Michigan, where he was appointed professor and research scientist emeritus. He is the author of more than 200 publications.

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.

Samuel J. Meisels, Ed.D.

Founding Executive Director and Professor of Child, Youth, and Family Studies, Buffett Early Childhood Institute at the University of Nebraska

Sam Meisels is a leading authority on the assessment of young children and early childhood development. He served as president for 12 years of Erikson Institute in Chicago, one of the country’s premier graduate schools in child development, and had a distinguished 21-year research career at the University of Michigan, where he was appointed professor and research scientist emeritus. He is the author of more than 200 publications.

Frances Volkmann, Ph.D.

Harold Edward & Elsa Israel Professor Emerita of Psychology, Smith College

Fran Volkmann taught at Smith College from 1966-2000. She served as Dean of the Faculty from 1983-1989 and acting president in 1990. She has extensive organizational development experience and insight into systems and how they function.

Janet Weinberg, Board Chair

Executive Vice President, Educational Alliance

Janet Weinberg’s portfolio includes oversight of the several community centers located on the lower east side as well as the infrastructure of the agency which is located in 17 sites with a budget of $41M.  She has over 35 years working in healthcare/social services with 30 of those years in supervisory and upper management roles. For ten years, Janet worked at Gay Men’s Health Crisis with her final role as the Interim CEO/COO.

Frances Volkmann, Ph.D.

Harold Edward & Elsa Israel Professor Emerita of Psychology, Smith College

Fran Volkmann taught at Smith College from 1966-2000. She served as Dean of the Faculty from 1983-1989 and acting president in 1990. She has extensive organizational development experience and insight into systems and how they function.

Janet Weinberg, Board Chair

Executive Vice President, Educational Alliance

Janet Weinberg’s portfolio includes oversight of the several community centers located on the lower east side as well as the infrastructure of the agency which is located in 17 sites with a budget of $41M.  She has over 35 years working in healthcare/social services with 30 of those years in supervisory and upper management roles. For ten years, Janet worked at Gay Men’s Health Crisis with her final role as the Interim CEO/COO.

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.

Diana Courson

Diana Courson, M.Ed., is Associate Director of Arkansas State University of Childhood Services, providing training and technical assistance statewide. Diana taught kindergarten and preschool, and served as an administrator in Head Start and in a faith-based child development center. She served on the development teams for the Arkansas Quality Rating Improvement System and for the Arkansas Child Development and Early Learning Standards. Diana is the author and editor of early childhood resource books, newsletters, and workshops, most recently contributing to the NAEYC e-book, Coaching with Powerful Interactions. She was a co-designer of the Arkansas Children’s Program Administrator Credential and continues as a lead instructor for the Credential.

Laura Ensler

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.

Diana Courson

Diana Courson, M.Ed., is Associate Director of Arkansas State University of Childhood Services, providing training and technical assistance statewide. Diana taught kindergarten and preschool, and served as an administrator in Head Start and in a faith-based child development center. She served on the development teams for the Arkansas Quality Rating Improvement System and for the Arkansas Child Development and Early Learning Standards. Diana is the author and editor of early childhood resource books, newsletters, and workshops, most recently contributing to the NAEYC e-book, Coaching with Powerful Interactions. She was a co-designer of the Arkansas Children’s Program Administrator Credential and continues as a lead instructor for the Credential.

Laura Ensler

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.

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.

Tychawn Johnson

Tychawn Johnson is an experienced early childhood graduate instructor, coach, consultant, and workshop leader. Rooted in the importance of child development, assessment, teacher-child interactions and experiential learning, Tychawn is dedicated to making an impact on the lives of young children through the reflective practice of their teachers. She has extensive experience facilitating workshops and professional learning communities, staff development trainings, and mentorships.

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.

Tychawn Johnson

Tychawn Johnson is an experienced early childhood graduate instructor, coach, consultant, and workshop leader. Rooted in the importance of child development, assessment, teacher-child interactions and experiential learning, Tychawn is dedicated to making an impact on the lives of young children through the reflective practice of their teachers. She has extensive experience facilitating workshops and professional learning communities, staff development trainings, and mentorships.

Monica McCarthy

Monica McCarthy is an early childhood and special education expert with 30 years of experience in the field. For the past 18 years, Monica has been an independent consultant, designing and providing professional development workshops, resources, and curriculum, technical assistance, and coaching for early childhood and special education professionals across the nation. Her passion is including and supporting all children to be successful in early care and education programs.

Nichole Parks

Nichole Parks is the Quality Rating Improvement System Coordinator with Arkansas State University Childhood Services. Her primary role is coordination of trainings, coaching, assessments and initiatives for early childhood program administrators.  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.

Monica McCarthy

Monica McCarthy is an early childhood and special education expert with 30 years of experience in the field. For the past 18 years, Monica has been an independent consultant, designing and providing professional development workshops, resources, and curriculum, technical assistance, and coaching for early childhood and special education professionals across the nation. Her passion is including and supporting all children to be successful in early care and education programs.

Nichole Parks

Nichole Parks is the Quality Rating Improvement System Coordinator with Arkansas State University Childhood Services. Her primary role is coordination of trainings, coaching, assessments and initiatives for early childhood program administrators.  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.

Staff


Gretchen Henderson

Program Associate

Gretchen Henderson 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.


Jennifer Michael

Program Associate

Jennifer Michael, program associate for Leading for Children, believes that relationships with children, adults and families are at the core of effective teaching and learning. During the past ten years Jennifer has been a classroom teacher, an instructional/pedagogical coach, and early intervention therapist/team supervisor. In addition, she provides consultation to programs using the Work Sampling System. She brings expertise about the Reggio Emilia approach with a focus on creating engaging and inspiring environments.


Jessica Dowshen, LMSW, MSEd

Program Associate

As both a social worker and an early childhood professional, Jessica has always focused on families within the context of their community. She believes that a solid foundation can be built for young children, regardless of their circumstances, through strong positive relationships. Jessica has embraced the work of Powerful Interactions as a model to support meaningful interactions between individuals and to build quality early childhood programming. Jessica spent the first 10 years of her professional career conducting research and producing educational content for a variety of media outlets. The following years have been spent in the community implementing home-based services and consulting to support initiatives that develop and realize quality programming for our youngest citizens and their families.


Khaatim Sherrer El

Senior Project Associate

Khaatim brings fifteen years experience working in the education and community development fields. He led a successful school readiness initiative in metro Atlanta funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. He went on to launch the first co-located early childhood center and elementary school with the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Atlanta Civic Site as a Pre-K to 3rd grade model. Khaatim returned to his native Newark, NJ to launch the philanthropy administering the $100M gift from Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg to turnaround the city’s schools. There he was responsible for the foundation’s programmatic agenda, including developing a multi-million dollar philanthropic investment strategy, managing the Early Childhood Education portfolio. He now leads his own consulting practice, ResultsDriven Consulting, specializing in strategy development, capacity building and cross-sector collaboration.

Gretchen Henderson

Program Associate

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.

Jennifer Michael

Program Associate

Jennifer Michael, program associate for Leading for Children, believes that relationships with children, adults and families are at the core of effective teaching and learning. During the past ten years Jennifer has been a classroom teacher, an instructional/pedagogical coach, and early intervention therapist/team supervisor. In addition, she provides consultation to programs using the Work Sampling System. She brings expertise about the Reggio Emilia approach with a focus on creating engaging and inspiring environments.

Jessica Dowshen

Program Associate

As both a social worker and an early childhood professional, Jessica has always focused on families within the context of their community. She believes that a solid foundation can be built for young children, regardless of their circumstances, through strong positive relationships. Jessica has embraced the work of Powerful Interactions as a model to support meaningful interactions between individuals and build quality early childhood programming. Jessica spent the first 10 years of her professional career conducting research and producing educational content for a variety of media outlets. The following years have been spent in the community implementing home-based services and consulting to support initiatives that develop and realize quality programming for our youngest citizens and their families.

Khaatim Sherrer El

Senior Project Associate

Khaatim brings fifteen years experience working in the education and community development fields. He led a successful school readiness initiative in metro Atlanta funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. He went on to launch the first co-located early childhood center and elementary school with the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Atlanta Civic Site as a Pre-K to 3rd grade model. Khaatim returned to his native Newark, NJ to launch the philanthropy administering the $100M gift from Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg to turnaround the city’s schools. There he was responsible for the foundation’s programmatic agenda, including developing a multi-million dollar philanthropic investment strategy, managing the Early Childhood Education portfolio. He now leads his own consulting practice, ResultsDriven Consulting, specializing in strategy development, capacity building and cross-sector collaboration.