About Us

The 2015 Institute of Medicine report Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8: A Unifying Foundation provided a blueprint for action to advance the early care and education workforce with a set of recommendations directed to stakeholders at local, state, and national levels. To facilitate the implementation of the recommendations at the state level, the National Academy of Medicine’s (NAM’s) Innovation to Incubation program launched the B8 State Pathways to Implementation Project.

In 2016, the Director of the Innovation to Incubation Program at the National Academy of Medicine, who had worked on the national report, reached out to the McKnight Foundation and asked if they would financially support a Minnesota team.  The McKnight Foundation agreed to support Minnesota’s participation in the second co-hort of states working with the Innovation to Incubation Program.  The goal of this program is to develop state-specific plans to implement some of the recommendations from the national report.  The National Academy of Medicine required that each state select a team of 8 to 10 people to participate.  That team, initially known as the B8 Workforce Core Team, began meeting in September 2016.

The National Academy of Medicine also required that each state convene a larger advisory committee.  Minnesota chose to use the existing P3 Design Team as the advisory committee.  The McKnight Foundation, together with the West Central Initiative, continued to support this work to transform Minnesota’s early childhood workgroup.

As participants in the B8 State Pathways to Implementation Project, self-assembled state “teams” met regularly to discuss challenges and opportunities for implementing the report’s recommendations in their specific state contexts. Participants learn from each other and from experts in the field to inform the development of tailored state action plans and generate strategies for stakeholder engagement.  Minnesota worked with teams from Colorado and Nebraska.

So far, eight state and regional teams have participated in the B8 State Pathways to Implementation Project: California, Colorado, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska, Virginia, Washington State, and a regional team representing Maryland, Northern Virginia, and Washington, DC.

The work of Transforming Minnesota’s Early Childhood Workforce (TMECW) project is currently led by a Leadership Team.

Current TMECW Leadership Team Members:

Abigail Latham, Early Childhood Student Worker with the Minnesota Department of Education 

Ann McCully, Executive Director of Child Care Aware of Minnesota. Ann is the Co-Team Lead for TMECW.

Carmen Cook, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Metro State University 

Christine Empanger, is contracted with the group to manage Community Communications

Cisa Keller, M.A., is the Senior Vice President of Early Childhood Quality Development at Think Small.

Debbie Hewitt, is an Early Childhood Specialist at the Minnesota Department of Education. 

Deborah Schierbeck, MA, is a Child Development Instructor at Hennepin Technical College.  Professor Schierbeck represents ACCESS, the professional organization for early childhood faculty from two-year colleges.

Dianne Haulcy, President and CEO of The Family Partnership

Emma Kurth, Early Childhood Education Business Support Specialist with the Minnesota Children’s Cabinet

Heather Charmoli, Program Administrator of MNAEYC

Jennifer Moses, Children’s Cabinet Manager of Governor Tim Walz’s Children’s Cabinet

Kelly Kazeck, Preschool Development Grant Workforce Specialist with the Minnesota Department of Education 

Layna Cole PhD.,  is an Associate Professor in the Department of Professional Education at Bemidji State University. Professor Cole represents MnAECTE, the Minnesota Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators, the professional association for early childhood faculty from 4-year colleges and universities.  

Megan FitzGibbon, State Financial Aid Manager with the Office of Higher Education 

Michelle Hersh Vaught, JD, is a Rulemaking Specialist at the Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board

Milton Rodriguez, is the Center Manager for the Tri-Valley Opportunity Council in their Head Start program

Nancy Jost is the Director of Early Childhood at the West Central Initiative. Nancy is the Co-Team Lead for TMECW.

Nick Henderson, is the Social Service Program Advisor at the Minnesota Department of Human Services

Nikole Logan, Ed.D, represents Voices and Choices for Children and Children’s Defense Fund MN

Oriane Casale,  Assistant Director of the Labor Market Information Office of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).

Scott Parker, is a Supervisor in Child Development Services at the Minnesota Department of Human Services.

Teresa Ripple, Associate Professor, Montessori Program Director at St. Kate’s University 

Past  Team Members:

Christa Anders

Sara Benzkofer

Sharon Bergen

Melvin Carter

Hope Doerner

Rae Jean Hansen

Molly Harney

Dianne Haulcy

Kelly Monson

Zina Noel

Temi Ogunrinde

Rozalyn Zuest

Provided Technical Assistance:

Kimber Bogard, PhD., is the Former Director of  Innovation to Incubation at the National Academy of Medicine.  She provided technical assistance to the B8 Workforce Core Team through September of 2017.

The P3 Design Team served as the Advisory Council for the work of the B8 Workforce Core Team within the year of the NGA.

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