2021 (April & June) 60th Anniversary Early Childhood Conference Featured Presenters
Diana Morelen, (4/17) Keynote Speaker, Assitant Professor (TN)
Diana Morelen's Bio
Diana Morelen, PhD is an assistant professor in the Dept. of Psychology at East Tennessee State University and a licensed clinical psychologist with specializaion in infant mental health and perinatal mental health. She is active in TN's infant mental health association, oversees a trauma-informed parenting program (Mom Power), and is honored to be a co-founder of the regional non-profit: Appalachian Perinatal Mental Health Alliance. Across her teaching, research, and practice, she is committed to creating supportive and reflective relatonships to empower students, parents, and providers to be compassionate, curious, and confident.
Rebecca Isbell, (4/24) Keynote Speaker, Author, Consultant (TN)
Rebecca Isbell's Bio
Rebecca Isbell, EdD is a motivational speaker, prolific writer, and consultant in early childhood education. She served as the Director of the Center of Excellence in Early Childhood Learning and Development and Professor of Early Childhood Education at East Tennessee State University where she was honored as an “Outstanding Teacher.” She is the author of thirteen books and numerous articles related to creativity, learning environments, play, literacy, the arts, and child development. Her most recent book is Nurturing Creativity: An Essential Mindset for Young Children’s Learning, published by NAEYC and co-authored with Sonia Yoshizawa.
Jennifer Thompson, (4/17) EC Teacher, NBCT, STEM Certified (Africa)
Jennifer Thompson's Bio
Jennifer Thompson, MEd has been a teacher of young children since 1998. She holds a M.Ed. in EC from the Univeristy of Alaska Southeast. She won the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching in 2006, was selceted to participate in the SEED conference with 50 national science experts at the University of Northern Iowa, and served as a NSTA Division Director of Preschool and Elementary Science Teaching. Jennifer's passion for science education guides her to experience international teaching in Brasilia, Brazil and currently in Gambia, West Africa.
Margie Brickley, (6/19) Bank Street College Faculty, Infant/T Advisor (NY)
Margie Brickley's Bio
Margie Brickley, MSEd is on the faculty of the Infant and Family Development and Early Intervention program at Bank Street College of Education in NY. She teaches courses in development and assessment and is an advisor to fieldwork students. She holds an Infant Mental Health Endorsement (Level IV Research/ Faculty). Her work experience includes directing early childhood programs (child care centers, teen parent programs, and a therapeutic program), early intervention home visiting, teaching infants and toddlers, and teaching at the community college, undergraduate and graduate school levels.
Jacqueline Grennon Brooks, (6/19) Keynote Speaker, Author (NY)
Jackie Brook's Bio
Jackie Brooks, Ed. D., has served as the founding director of multiple teaching and learning settings and co-founder of a non-profit, interactive children’s museum of science and engineering on Long Island, NY. She holds an Ed.D. from Teachers College, Columbia University, where she researched the development of constructivist teaching; an M.A. in Developmental Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University, where she studied infant/parent relationships; an M.S. in Urban and Policy Sciences from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, through which she analyzed mathematical forecasting models at the Congressional Budget Office; and a B.A. in Education from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, where she learned just how complex teaching really is! Her latest book is Schools Reimagined: Unifying the Science of Learning With the Art of Teaching, co-authored with Martin Brooks. Her latest early childhood book is Big Science for Growing Minds: Constructivist Classrooms for Young Thinkers.
Winnie Wong, (6/19) Founder of Dr. PLAY, Author (Hong Kong)
Winnie Wong's Bio
Winnie Wong, Ed.D., is the Founder and Executive Director of Play Infinity, Dr. PLAY and Dr. PLAY International. She holds an Ed.D., from the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Fall,s IA. She is an author of 6 books related to recreations and games for young children to adults. Winnie teaches at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the Open University of HK, and at HK Polytechnic University. She is also a guest host in local TV programs and writes for local papers and magazines .
Jim Gill, (6/19) Musician, Author (IL)
Jim Gill's Bio
Jim Gill, has been inspiring early childhood professionals and children for decades. He spent twenty years directing programs in music play for families with children with special needs in the Chicago area. His particular writing style—combining word play
and movement opportunities into songs—was developed
through this work. Jim completed his graduate studies in
child development at the Erikson Institute of Chicago with a
special emphasis on the study of play. His work experience
and studies have led Jim to create each of his recordings
and books as an opportunity for playful interactions
between a child and a caring adult.
Alissa Lange, (7/9 STEM Institute) EC STEM Lab Director, Associate Professor of ECE (TN)
Alissa Lange's Bio
Alissa Lange, Ph.D., is the director of EC STEM Lab and an Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education at East Tennessee State University. Prior to this, she was an Assistant Research Professor at the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University, an Institute of Educational Sciences Postdoctoral Fellow, a US Fulbright Scholar to Colombia, and a teacher of children and adults. She has led or co-led multiple grant-funded studies, including the preschool STEM professional development project, SciMath-DLL, funded by the National Science Foundation. Her recent book, Teaching Preschool STEM Classroom: Big Ideas for 3-5-Year-Olds, was published by Teachers College Press in 2019.