Introducing CounciLIVE: Your live stream source on the most important issues & topics in early childhood education today

June 17, 2021

This summer, be inspired to grow, act and excel with the launch of CounciLIVE: the Council for Professional Recognition’s new live broadcast series! Join us to hear from special guest speakers on the most vital topics in early childhood practice, theory, research and advocacy today. Our summer lineup features renowned authors, professors, CEOs and seasoned educators with 20+ years of experience, all of whom are committed to helping you best serve the children in your care. Take a peek at some of our special guests below!

Anchored in our flagship publication, The Essentials for Working with Young Children, each CounciLIVE episode will bring to you a conversation on a CDA® competency standard functional area, such as safety or professionalism, and will explore its importance in relation to current events, educational philosophy and research today. Though Essentials was created for educators seeking to earn the CDA®, its principles and pedagogy are applicable to everyone who works with young children, including parents/families. CounciLIVE is for everyone, too!

Stay tuned for CounciLIVE on 6/29/2021 at 1 PM ET on Facebook Live!


CounciLIVE Special Guests

Dr. Fran Cleland, SHAPE America & West Chester University (Former President, Professor)

Dr. Cleland has been preparing future health and physical educators for 29 years. It is her philosophy that it is critical for teacher candidates to gain both content knowledge and pedagogical knowledge so they, in turn, can help their future K-12 students develop health and physical literacy. She believes in translating theory into practice by providing candidates with multiple field experiences during which they can apply their content knowledge within the K-12 school setting. Dr. Cleland has several years of K-12 teaching experience, has served as a national leader as the former president of SHAPE America, and has presented at international, national, district, state and regional conferences. She holds a P.E.D. in Motor Development & Adapted Physical Education and a M.S. in Physical Education from Indiana University, in addition to a B.S. in Health & Physical Education (K-12) from Purdue University. She has received numerous awards and has authored several publications, including Developmental Physical Education for All Children – Theory into Practice (2017).


Dr. Calvin E. Moore Jr., The Council for Professional Recognition (CEO)

Dr. Calvin E. Moore, Jr., an accomplished leader in early childhood education, was appointed CEO of the Council for Professional Recognition in May 2020. He’s the Council’s first CEO to hold its early education credential, the Child Development Associate® (CDA), and a former member of the Council’s governing board.

Dr. Moore learned the value of early care and education when he participated in Head Start as a child. He also has vast professional Head Start experience, having served in large and small, urban and rural, center-based and family child care-based programs, as well as programs focused mainly on Hispanic families.

Throughout his career, Dr. Moore has held senior roles directing complex federal and state departments that improve outcomes for underserved children and families. Most recently, Dr. Moore was the regional program manager in Atlanta for the Office of Head Start within the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. His responsibilities included providing oversight, monitoring, training and technical assistance to over 350 Head Start and Early Head Start grantees with a portfolio of over $1.6 billion. He’s the author of The Thinking Book Curriculum: For Early Childhood Professionals, Men Do Stay: Recruiting and Retaining Qualified Male Early Childhood Teachers and many other books. Dr. Moore has received a literary award from AIM and New Light Ministries for his book, Agape Declarations, the Maria Otto Award for Leadership from the National Family Child Care Association and the Billy McCain, Sr. Memorial Award from the Alabama Head Start Association.


Dr. Shantel Meek, Children’s Equity Project (Founding Director)

Dr. Shantel E. Meek is a professor of practice and the founding director of the Children’s Equity Project (CEP) at Arizona State University. She manages a budget of over a million dollars, strategic partnerships with CEP partners at 17 universities and non-profit organizations, policymakers, and national organizations, and sets the strategic direction of the CEP. Dr. Meek previously served as a consultant in early childhood policy and strategy at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington D.C. where she advised senior staff on a range of federal and state equity and early childhood policy issues. Prior to founding the CEP, Dr. Meek served in the Obama Administration as a Senior Policy Advisor for Early Childhood Development at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and as a Senior Policy Advisor for Education in the Domestic Policy Council at the White House. She has published pieces in the New York Times and the Washington Post. Dr. Meek holds a B.A. in Psychology and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Family and Human Development from Arizona State University.


Dr. Carol Brunson Day, The Council for Professional Recognition (Fellow)

Dr. Carol Brunson Day has spent her career as an advocate for quality early childhood services for young children and families. She retired from the National Black Child Development Institute in Washington, DC in 2011, where she served as CEO and President from 2006 until 2011. Prior to 2006, she served as the CEO and President of the Council for Professional Recognition, the home of the Child Development Associate National Credentialing Program, as well as the National Head Start Fellowship Program. Dr. Day was also the liaison for the international exchange between the schools in Reggio Emilia, Italy and the early childhood community in the United States. In addition to her impressive scholarly contributions to the field, Dr. Day is recognized as a leader in the field of early childhood education. Presently, Dr. Day is a research fellow with the Council for Professional Recognition.

Dr. Day sits on numerous national boards including ZERO TO THREE Editorial Board, National Center for Professional Development and Inclusion National Advisory Panel, and T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center National Advisory Panel. She has spoken at conferences and programs across the United States and internationally, and authored publications on subjects such as professional development, diversity and multicultural education, and cultural influences on development, and has a long history of interest and expertise on African American culture and heritage. Dr. Day received a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education from the Erikson Institute in Chicago and a Ph.D. in Education from Claremont University in Claremont, California.


Dr. Ryan Lee-James, Rollins Center for Language and Literacy (Director)

Dr. Ryan Lee-James is an ASHA certified speech-language pathologist and published author with expertise in language development, language disorders, and literacy in the context of linguistic differences and socioeconomic disadvantage. In her current role as the Director of the Rollins Center for Language and Literacy at the Atlanta Speech School, Dr. Lee-James is responsible for working collaboratively with community-based organizations and key stakeholders to impact language and literacy achievement for our most vulnerable children. Before joining the team at the Atlanta Speech School, Dr. Lee-James had the privilege of training and mentoring graduate level speech-language pathologists as a member of the Communication Sciences and Disorders faculty at Adelphi University in New York.


Dr. Cindy Shackelford, Jefferson State Community College (Department Chair)

Dr. Cindy Shackelford serves as the Department Chair and Program Coordinator of the Child Development program at Jefferson State Community College, also serving Early Childhood/ Elementary Education majors. She is the Program Director for the Alabama Infant/Toddler Professional Development Network (A.I.T.P.D.N) which provides coaching and technical assistance to teachers and directors. She loves all things education and the positive impact it has on children, families and the community. Dr. Shackelford has served in the classroom and in leadership for over 24 years. She has earned her CDA® and B.S., double majoring in both Child Development and Elementary Education. Dr. Shackelford has completed her M.Ed. degree in Early Childhood Education Teaching and Learning /Leadership, an Ed.S. degree in Curriculum and Instruction, a Ph.D. in Early Childhood Education and an Ed.D in Curriculum and Instruction.

She is member of NAEYC (the National Association for the Education of Young Children), currently serving as a higher education peer reviewer, and also partners with the Council of Professional Recognition to help students complete all criteria to complete and renew their CDA at Jefferson State Community College. Lastly, she advocates for all students in dual enrollment programs to assure quality teaching of all diversities of learning. As the owner of Equipping Educators, Dr. Shackelford believes in “equipping students and educators for success through partnership.”


Dr. Bisa Batten Lewis, Ideal Early Learning, LLC (Education Consultant & Trainer)

Dr. Bisa Batten Lewis is a best-selling author, diversely experienced education authority and renowned public speaker. Her publications include education and parenting articles, college textbooks, children’s books and music, early childhood curriculum, and motivational books for educators. Having supervised multiple child development centers, including lab schools, Head Start, and Georgia’s Pre-K, Dr. Bisa offers realistic methods of implementing high-quality research-based curriculum practices.

Dr. Bisa has been conducting CDA training since 2003 and continues to partner with community organizations to ensure minimum out-of-pocket expenses and maximum program quality. She worked as a CTE Instructor in north Georgia, where she served as the district’s ECE Career Pathway Lead, as well as the Health Sciences and Human Services Academy Lead Teacher and sole ECE Instructor at one of its largest high schools. She proudly serves as President of Black Child Development Institute (BCDI)—Atlanta, while continuing to consult with school systems around the country to guide CTE leaders and ECE instructors on how to implement CDA CTE high school programs. Professing as a life goal to advocate for children, Dr. Bisa is actively committed to upgrading the quality of education settings around the world.


Michelle Brown, The Council for Professional Recognition (Executive VP, Programs Division)

Michelle Brown is a nationally recognized early care and education expert and brings three decades of experience to her role as Executive Vice President, Programs Division at the Council for Professional Recognition. As Executive Vice President, Michelle’s responsibilities include work with the Council’s public policy agenda, communications, event coordination, international relations and publications. Michelle began her career in early childhood as a Head Start teacher and Early Childhood Lab School Director in Toledo, Ohio. She continued her work advocating for children and families in positions at the local, state and national levels. Her work in Washington, DC, in fact began at the Council as a participant in the National Head Start Fellowship program. She has held key positions at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Head Start, National Head Start Association and ZERO TO THREE. She earned a bachelor’s degree in child development and family community services and a master’s degree in early childhood special education, both from Bowling Green State University.


Abena Ocran-Jackson, The Council for Professional Recognition (VP of Credentialing)

Abena Ocran-Jackson is the Council’s Vice President of Credentialing. She is responsible for the effective management of all aspects of the Child Development Associate (CDA), new products and services. Abena has over 20 years working in early care and education, in a variety of roles, from preschool teacher, senior director of NAEYC’s Early Learning Program Accreditation and as director of teacher preparation with KinderCare Education. She has been named one of the Exceptional Leaders in the field of early childhood by Childcare Exchange’s Leadership Initiative. Abena has moderated and presented extensively at local, state, and national early childhood conferences. She has a bachelor’s degree in Human Development from Howard University and holds a master’s degree in Nonprofit Management from Trinity Washington University. She is also recognized as a credentialing specialist by the Institute for Credentialing Excellence.


Vilma M. Williams, The Council for Professional Recognition (Manager, Multilingual and Special Programs)

Vilma, who is trilingual in Spanish, English and Portuguese, was born in Lima, Peru and has been in the early childhood education field for over 35 years. Vilma oversees all special programs at the Council, ensuring that multilingual and special programs needs are a top priority in all the Council for Professional Recognition does. Vilma has presented at many events worldwide— in Puerto Rico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Brazil, Panama, Germany, Korea, Japan and the UAE— on a wide array of ECE topics, including curriculum, dual language learning and bilingual/multicultural issues, credentialing, adult/family education, and diversity, equity and inclusion.

Vilma has received numerous awards for her continuous work and dedicated service to the field of early childhood education, particularly for her work with Latinx children, families and communities, migrant communities and indigenous nations in the United States, the military community and for her international work on behalf of the Council for Professional Recognition. In former years, Vilma studied ECE in Washington, DC at Howard University, Catholic University and the University of DC.


Keisha McClendon, The Council for Professional Recognition CDA® Advisory Committee

Keisha, a teacher for over 10 years, is a member of the Council for Professional Recognition’s CDA® Advisory Committee. She is a graduate of Mercer University with a BS in Early Learning and Development, and is presently working on her masters degree in Early Childhood Services from Arkansas State University. Currently, she is a lead PreK teacher at a Head Start program. One of her favorite quotes is: “teachers plant the seeds of knowledge that last a lifetime.”


Aaron “Buddy” Rhodes, The Council for Professional Recognition CDA® Advisory Committee

Buddy, an early childhood educator for over 12 years, is a member of the Council for Professional Recognition’s CDA® Advisory Committee. Currently, he is the Educational Site Manager for The Campagna Center’s Head Start program located in Alexandria, VA. While he volunteered at his church and his mother’s first grade class as a child, he didn’t recognize his calling to work in the early childhood education field until later in his life. Buddy began as an afternoon floater teacher and quickly realized his passion for working with young children, families and his fellow teachers. He is proud to say that “he hasn’t worked a day in the past 12 years because he loves how he spends his days.”


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