Promising Practices in Early Educator Preparation: Supporting a Strong, Diverse Workforce

Forum Presentation

Promising Practices in Early Educator Preparation: Supporting a Strong, Diverse Workforce

What would it take to increase the qualifications of the early learning workforce, while maintaining the field’s racial, ethnic, linguistic and cultural diversity? This session will share the stories of three innovative programs striving to prepare an effective, stable and diverse educator workforce for young children. Presenters will address how these programs attract and support educators of diverse backgrounds, describe challenges and offer recommendations for state policy.

Presenter Biographies

19_Jessica-Barajas.pngJessica Barajas
Jessica is a Research and Policy Associate at the Learning Policy Institute and part of its Early Childhood Learning and Deeper Learning Teams. Previously, she worked as an early childhood educator at the Stanford Bing Nursery School and at The Primary School in East Palo Alto, schools dedicated to meeting the needs of the whole child using a play-based, mixed-aged environment and an integrated health and education model respectively. Before becoming an educator, she was a researcher at Stanford’s Understanding Language Initiative focused on meeting the needs of English Language Learners. Barajas holds a master’s degree from the Stanford Graduate School of Education, a bachelor’s degree from Swarthmore College and a California teacher certification in Child Development.

19_Danielle-Loughridge.pngDanielle Loughridge
Danielle is the Pathways Director of EDvance at San Francisco State. EDvance develops and implements pathways and services that support ECE professionals to move toward degree attainment. In her role, she oversees and implements a coaching framework that supports upper-division students with analyzing teacher practice through self-reflection and structured methods for feedback. She has been in the Early Care and Education field for more than 25 years, starting off as an Instructional Aide for San Francisco Unified and continued in the field as a Preschool Teacher and Assistant Program Director. Danielle also has experience facilitating Professional Learning Communities (PLC) for First 5 California and served as the Lead Principal Consultant with i3 Institute on inquiry, intention and innovation. Danielle is in her final semester in the San Francisco State Masters of Education Program. Her work is rooted in promoting change through the work of educators using inquiry-based learning and reflective practices to, first, look within in order to bring transformation to our communities.

19_Hanna-Melnick.pngHanna Melnick
Hanna is a Research Analyst and Policy Advisor at the Learning Policy Institute where she co-leads the Early Childhood Learning team. She is the lead author of Understanding California’s Early Care and Education System and Building an Early Learning System That Works: Next Steps for California. She is also a member of the Deeper Learning team, with a focus on school climate and social-emotional learning. Previously, she taught elementary school in the Bay Area. Melnick holds a master’s degree in Public Policy from the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley and a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University.

19_Nicole-Porter.pngNicole D. Porter, EdD
Nicole is currently an Associate Professor of the Education/Child Development Department as part of the Business, Education and Professional Programs at Skyline College. Nicole has more than 20 years of experience in developing and facilitating programs for young children, college students and families. Passion and commitment to serving children and families has been the driving force in her educational and professional journey. Her previous experience also includes working with community-based organizations, local educational agencies as well as the federal government. Nicole holds a doctorate in education (EdD) in Educational Leadership and a master’s degree in Cross-Cultural Education. Nicole is a servant leader and strives to see her colleagues and students become “Producers of Education.” Her recent study of race, ethnicity and culture has led her to further working in developing, “Critically Reflective Cultural Educators.”

19_Randi-Wolfe.pngRandi Wolfe, PhD
Randi is President of Early Care and Education Pathways to Success (ECEPTS), an organization dedicated to developing, expanding and replicating Early Educator Apprenticeships in California and nationally. ECEPTS reflects and extends Wolfe's work during the past 12 years that focused on designing and implementing large-scale ECE workforce development initiatives, engaging diverse stakeholder groups (e.g., ECE employers, workforce development agencies, institutions of higher education, labor) and advancing systemic efforts to strengthen the delivery and impact of child care and early education. Before moving to California in 2007, Wolfe was an Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education at Northern Illinois University for 10 years. Randi has an EdM from the University of Illinois and a PhD from Northwestern University.