Voices From the Field: Interview with Meedra Surratte

Supporting Families

Meedra-Surratte

Meedra Surratte is the Executive Director of Parent Information Center of Delaware, Inc. (PIC), serves as the aRPy Ambassador for Delaware and is a proud parent and grandparent. She represents the needs, concerns, and interests of children with disabilities and their families on several statewide councils. Her area of focus lies in education and capacity building, particularly in the areas of special education, family engagement, and strengthening sustaining partnerships between families and schools.

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Voices From the Field: Interview with Lillian Durán

Lillian Durán

Lillian Durán has a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Minnesota and is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Special Education and Clinical Sciences at the University of Oregon and an Associate Dean of Academic Affairs in the College of Education. Her research is focused on improving instructional and assessment practices with preschool-aged multilingual learners. She delivers presentations focused on recommended practices in assessment and intervention with young children of Color with and without identified disabilities who are immigrants and/or speak languages other than English

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Voices From the Field: Interview With Rebecca Vitelli

Rebecca Vitelli is a preschool special education teacher at the Colonial Early Education Program in New Castle, Delaware. Rebecca earned a Bachelor of Science in early childhood education with minors in human development and family studies and disabilities studies and a Master of Education in exceptional children and youth with a concentration in autism and severe disabilities from the University of Delaware. Most recently, she was named the 2020 Delaware Teacher of the Year.

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Voices From the Field: Interview with Paulette Tattersall

Paulette Tattersall

Paulette Tattersall is the Northeast Director of Prevent Blindness, a national organization whose mission is to prevent blindness and preserve sight. She is also Co-Chair of Children’s Vision Massachusetts (CVMA), a 70-member coalition of parents, health professionals, educators and organizations who work together towards building a statewide systematic approach to vision care for Massachusetts children.

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Voices From the Field: Interview with Deborah Jackson

Desmond Jackson

Desmond Jackson

Deborah Jackson is the proud mother of Desmond Jackson, a member of the 2021 USA Paralympic Track and Field Team for the 100m event and the long jump. Desmond was born with a congenital birth defect, which resulted in an amputation when he was nine months old. He was the first above-knee amputee to run on a high school track team in the state of North Carolina. Desmond encourages other individuals with physical challenges to “get off the sideline and into the game!”

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Voices from the Field: Promoting Father Engagement, Interview with Randy Johnson (Pop-Pop)

Randy Johnson and grandson

Randy Johnson is a father and grandfather who was born into a large close-knit family. After graduating from high school, he attended Widener University before serving in the Army for four years. Randy worked in the power generation field for twenty years. He has been married to his childhood sweetheart for over thirty years and they have three children and one grandchild. Randy is known as Pop-Pop to his grandson, and they were featured in episode eight of the Preschool During the Pandemic video series developed by the Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center.

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Voices from the Field: Promoting Father Engagement, Interview with Rich La Belle

Rich La Belle

Rich La Belle is the CEO of Family Network on Disabilities, which has served persons with disabilities and their families throughout Florida and the U.S. for over 35 years. Prior to becoming CEO in 2005, Mr. La Belle practiced law for nearly 20 years, concentrating in the areas of disability law, including special needs trusts. Mr. La Belle and his wife are the parents of four grown children, including those who have disabilities.

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Voices from the Field: Interview with Nicole Brigham and Shelby Fromm

Nicole Brigham and Shelby Fromm

Vanderbilt University and Tennessee State University have partnered on an interdisciplinary personnel preparation grant funded by the Department of Education. The program prepares scholars in the fields of audiology, deaf education, and speech-language pathology to meet the needs of infants and young children with hearing loss and their families. We interviewed one scholar from each university.

Nicole Brigham is a second-year Audiology student at Vanderbilt University on the pediatric specialty track, which involves additional coursework and practicum experience that prepares students to work with infants and children who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Shelby Fromm is a first-year student at Tennessee State University in the Speech-Language Pathology program, while also participating in a collaborative training grant at Vanderbilt University focusing on children with hearing loss.


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Voices from the Field: Interview with Ann Sam

Ann Sam

 

ED: How did you begin your career in early childhood?

During my undergraduate work, I completed an internship at the University of North Carolina’s TEACCH Autism Program. From this experience, I knew I wanted to work with individuals with autism. I began my career as an inclusive preschool and kindergarten public school teacher. As a teacher, I was unaware of many specific interventions or resources used to support the social, language, and behavioral skills of students with autism. Fueled by my desire to support students with autism in classrooms, as well as the teachers serving those students, I began my doctoral program in 2008 at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. I was fortunate to be funded through an Office of Special Education Program leadership grant: Interdisciplinary Preparation in Teaching, Research, and Service focused on Young Children with Autism and Their Families. When I graduated, I accepted a postdoctoral research position at 3C Institute, a small business that focuses on research and development. After completing my postdoctoral work, I returned to the University of North Carolina as a Research Scientist at Frank Porter Graham (FPG) Child Development Institute. At FPG, my work focuses on supporting the use of evidence-based practices for children with autism using a variety of professional development approaches including coaching and interactive, online modules.

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Voices From the Field: Interview with Barbara Cooper

Alabama’s Support for Dual Language Learners

Barbara Cooper

Dr. Barbara Cooper is Secretary of Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education

ED: How did you begin your career in early childhood?

I was called to serve as an educator over 30 years ago and have worked across the entire birth to workforce continuum. On July 1, 2020 I was appointed Secretary of the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education (ADECE) by Alabama Governor Kay Ivey. Previously, I served as the ADECE Director of the office of school readiness where I administered the nationally recognized high-quality Alabama First Class Pre-K program, which has been recognized by the National Institute for Early Education Research as the highest quality state-funded pre-kindergarten program in the country for 14 consecutive years.

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