A New Team. An Expanded Mission. A Commitment to Partnership.

We are excited to share our staffing plan with you.

Progress is continuing on our Partnerships for Early Learners expansion at Early Learning Indiana. As we add statewide support services, many new faces – and some very familiar faces – are joining our team. Though our work is diverse, we have one central goal: to assure the highest level of early childhood education for children in Indiana.

Our current team status can be seen below. Four out of our six leadership team positions are filled and we have promising candidates for the remaining two roles. In the last month, our primary focus has been on filling the roles that manage core services to two primary groups: child care resource and referral program staff and Indiana’s diverse early education professionals.

StaffProgresstoDateWe are pleased to announce this staffing plan for our Partnerships in Early Learning team.

Robin Bueckers will provide team-wide support to Partnerships for Early Learners as an Executive Assistant. In this capacity, she will support our statewide teams focused on early learning professionals and programs, families and decision-makers.

Our Statewide Local Child Care Resource & Referral Support Services team, led by Mindy Bennett, the team’s Senior Director, will welcome:

Lynn Lines will be our Paths to QUALITY™ and Training Support Specialist, joining us after several years with IACCRR. She will be responsible for supporting Paths to QUALITY™ participants and maintaining Training Central data and operations.

Rene Withers will be our Paths to QUALITY™ Coaching Specialist, bringing her experiences with Child Care Answers as a Coaching Coordinator and Master Coach.  Her core responsibility will be to assure coach reliability across the state, as well as effective support of Paths to QUALITY™ coaches including training and professional development.

Amy Torres is transitioning from her current role as Child Care Answers’ Bilingual Support Manager to the statewide team’s Hispanic Provider Support Specialist. In this role, she will develop resources, coordinate statewide efforts, and monitor delivery of the Hispanic Outreach with the overarching goal of in extending support services for Spanish-speaking providers, families and children throughout Indiana.

Traci Marshall will be transitioning from IACCRR to become a SDA Support Specialist. She will work hand-in-hand with three local CCR&Rs to support their effectiveness, addressing challenges and promoting opportunities, as well as connecting them to other supports, such as trainings and tools, as opportunities arise.

Our Workforce Development & Quality Improvement team, led by Rena Broadnax, the team’s Director, will welcome:

Cherita Toussen-Bowens will join us to the role of Deputy Director of Quality Improvement Services. Cherita will manage a team of three managers that will focus on supporting programs, leveraging her diverse experiences in centers, Head Start programs, CCR&R services, workforce development and quality improvement.

Beth Riedeman joined the Partnerships team in March as the Manager of Workforce Initiatives. She manages workforce development-related partnerships and projects across the state, focusing on learning communities and cohorts, strengthening the pipeline of early childhood educators and promoting workforce initiatives.

Emily Rouge is our Paths to QUALITY™ Fellow. She works with internal and external partners to design an improved PTQ rating system to best reflect current research about what level of program quality is necessary to advance child and family outcomes. This is a two year role with year one largely focusing on strengthening PTQ to support higher quality preschool and pre-K in the state of Indiana.

Joslyn Hurm-Sullivan will assume the role of Deputy Director of Training & Professional Development, following her successes as Child Care Answers’ Professional Development Coordinator. She will manage the day-to-day responsibilities of training platforms, such as Training Central, coordinate content development, and respond to the evolving needs of users. She will also play a critical role in the implementation of statewide conferences and partnerships around content and delivery.

Ginger Caylor will become Manager of Registered Ministry Support. She is currently Child Care Answers’ Registered Ministry Coach. She will support early learning programs within registered ministry settings through quality improvement efforts, particularly advancement on Paths to QUALITY, as well as workforce initiatives.

Carmen Garcia-Harris will step into the role of Manager of Public School Support. In her new role, she will support school districts and pre-school programs with a wide range of support as they work to improve quality, expand their programs and improve their workforce.

Our Family Engagement team will welcome:

Amy VanBruggen will join our team as Manager for Consumer Education. Amy will build on her successful management of Indiana’s Consumer Education Line. In addition to ensuring that families can make informed decisions about child care, she will also support program information updates.

Starr Burton, Joan Davis, Rebecca Heerdt and Jennifer McQueen will also join Early Learning Indiana’s statewide team as Consumer Education Specialists. Their work with families is a central piece of effective family engagement for the state, and they will bring the skills that they have previously utilized at IACCRR.

Our Statewide Outreach & Leadership Services team, led by Kofi Darku, the team’s Director, will welcome:

Vanessa Phillips will be the Lead Organizer for our Pre-K expansion field team. She will lead our field organizers as they surface and expand support for early education support, specifically around Pre-K expansion, in several Indiana communities. This role and the Field Organizer roles are supported by private philanthropic resources.

Lauren Alayza, Angela Skwarcan and Jessica Millen will serve as Field Organizers on our Pre-K expansion field team. They will be charged with building momentum for greater pre-K support across the state and activating core stakeholders in that expansion work.

We will share more information about our Data-Informed Practice and Communications & Engagement teams in the coming weeks, as well as ongoing updates about additional new members of our Partnerships for Early Learners staff.

A note on office locations: 
While Early Learning Indiana undergoes this significant expansion, our Partnerships for Early Learners team will be situated in two locations. Our data, communications and outreach staff will be located at the English Foundation Building at 615 N. Alabama in Indianapolis, while staff supporting child care resource and referral agencies and workforce development and quality improvement efforts will be located at 3901 N. Meridian St, Suite 200 in Indianapolis.


Cover image by Flickr user Daniel R. Blume, Creative Commons license.