The Early Childhood Institute at SJSU is pleased to welcome its inaugural Advisory Board. The board contributes in many ways to the vision, mission, and goals of ECI, including guiding our advocacy work, giving feedback about our early learning and care trainings and education programs, and informing our areas for future research. We appreciate their collective dedication, expertise, and positive impact on our work and across the early education landscape.
Araceli has focused the past 15+ years of her career in the areas of early childhood development and community and family engagement. As the San José Public Library’s early education manager, Araceli has led the design and implementation of multiple, high-quality early learning and development programs for infants, toddlers, preschool children, and their caregivers. Providing equitable access to early learning opportunities has long been at the core of her work. In the diverse city of San José, Araceli leads programming that meets children and caregivers where they are at, with the lens that all children are best supported in the context of family, culture, community, and society. Araceli is devoted to delivering programs that not only serve San José residents, but empower them with the ideas, skills, and supports to be leaders within their families and communities.
Dr. Carla Bryant has more than thirty years of national experience creating culturally competent policies, programs, and procedures for comprehensive early learning, P-3, elementary, family support and after-school programs. She is the creator of the District Innovation and Leadership for Early Education, an initiative of the Californians Dedicated to Education Foundation. The initiative focus is to support school districts succeed in creating and implementing effective early learning structures that assist children from communities with less social, political, and monetary capital build a strong educational foundation.
Representing student interests in early childhood, the ESAN leadership team participates in the ECI Advisory Board. ESAN is a student-run organization with the purpose of creating an interdisciplinary network of current San Jose State University students and alumni working in the field of early childhood. The group is intended to respond to the needs of students, with activities based on student interest. This hub of student activity may engage in a variety of professional development activities under the guidance of a faculty advisor.
Eula has served as an early childhood educator, mentor, and advocate for over 10 years. She has taught in public, private, and non-profit preschools and after school programs, serving many diverse populations. In her role at FIRST 5, she supports the service delivery of whole-child, whole-family at 25 Family Resource Centers across Santa Clara County. She is also a member of the organization’s government alliance on racial equity group to identify, name, and address structural racism and inequalities both internally and externally. Eula serves on the local planning council as co-chair of the workforce development committee. In her spare time, she volunteers with local organizations including San Jose Strong, Family Supportive Housing, and SIREN, and was named Community Advocate of the Year by SIREN in 2019. She enjoys playing ice hockey with her all-Filipina team, Ang Sarap, taking bike tours with her husband, and walks with their corgi, Data.
Kathy Wahl is the Director of Inclusion Collaborative at the Santa Clara County Office of Education. She has worked for the Inclusion Collaborative since 2014, being involved in the development and implementation of the State Annual Inclusion Conference held at the Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE). Kathy has worked for SCCOE since 1995, starting as a Nutrition Consultant and then as an Early Childhood Special Education Teacher/Nutritionist for the SCCOE Early Start Program. Kathy has worked with teachers, students and families across the county in center based and home-based programs. She currently supports local districts and agencies in creating inclusion programs. She has taught at local community colleges, developed inclusive training tracks for community colleges and worked for many community agencies in Santa Clara County.
Kimberly Brenneman is an Education Program Officer at the Heising-Simons Foundation. Prior to joining the Foundation in 2015, Kimberly was research faculty at Rutgers University’s National Institute for Early Education Research, where she led projects focused on curricular and instructional practices to foster science, technology, engineering, and mathematics learning for young children in school and home settings. As an educational consultant, Kimberly has contributed to the development of educational media resources to support preschool-aged math and science learners.
Matt Tinsley is the Director of Strong Start at Santa Clara County Office of Education, a multi-sector coalition to expand access to high quality early learning opportunities for all children in Santa Clara County, ages 0 - 8. Dr. Tinsley leads multi-sector, multi-agency, projects to expand high quality early learning opportunities for children and families. He has expertise in collaborative leadership, collective impact, early childhood education programs and policies, facilities finance, grant writing, and strategic planning. He is an alumnus of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Leaders executive development program.
Nell Redaniel has been working in early childhood education programs for more than eight years. She also has experience working with school age and middle school age children. Nell is currently working as an Early Preschool Lead Teacher at Bright Horizons. She has her AA Degree in Child Development from Foothill College and is currently working on her BA at Pacific Oaks College. Nell is the current President and State Director of Santa Clara Valley Chapter of the California Association for the Education of Young Children (CAAEYC). She has been an active member of CAAEYC and NAEYC since 2014. Nell works on building connections with early childhood programs and providing resources and professional development for educators, parents, and organizations. Nell serves on the University of Santa Cruz Silicon Valley Extension Advisory Board for their Early Childhood Education Certificate Programs and on the Foothill College Child Development and Education Department Advisory Board.
Sarah Garrity is an Associate Professor and the Department Chair of the Department of Child and Family Development at San Diego State University. She was a practitioner in the field of early care and education for almost twenty years as a Head Start teacher and administrator, program director for a state funded program, and literacy coach. She teaches classes on language and literacy, social emotional development, and infant/toddler and preschool development. Her scholarly pursuits have centered on two interrelated foci: 1) the exploration of how evidence-based behavior guidance policies can be used by early childhood programs to develop systems that support children’s’ success, and 2) the use of cultural theories of development to examine the experiences and beliefs of early childhood educators working in diverse sociocultural and linguistic contexts in order to produce new knowledge.
Sarah Poulain joined Family Connections in June 2017 as Executive Director. Sarah has more than 20 years of experience in the early childhood and family services field in various roles from executive leadership to clinical services and program management. She has developed collaborative partnerships with funders and organizations and is a strong advocate of children and families through her work on committees such as the Childcare Partnership Council, the Watch Me Grow Collaborative and The Big Lift. Sarah has held true to the idea that, when we engage with children and families in the earliest years and meet them where they are in their lives, we are building the foundations of strong and supportive communities.
Stacy Gleixner is the Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at West Valley College. She is focused on eliminating the equity gap and ensuring West Valley’s academics meet student, workforce and community needs. Prior to this role, she served as the Associate Vice President for Student and Faculty Success at San José State University. She led a team of over 60 staff in Academic Affairs to support students and develop faculty. She led university wide initiatives to increase SJSU’s retention and graduation rates and eliminate the equity gap. She also served as the Chief of Staff to the President. As Chief of Staff she created and maintained strong relationships between the campus, the community, and the Office of the President through multiple leadership transitions. In addition, she served on the President’s cabinet and worked with the vice presidents on numerous cross divisional projects including serving as project manager on the campus wide diversity and inclusion initiative.
Tena Sloan, LMFT, IFECMHS/RFP-II, is a licensed therapist and holds a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. She is currently Vice President of Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation and Training at Kidango. Tena is a fellow of the University of Massachusetts Infant-Parent Mental Health Post-Graduate Program co-developed and led by Drs. Kristie Brandt and Ed Tronick. She also is endorsed in California as an Infant Family Early Childhood Specialist and Reflective Practice Facilitator II. At Kidango, Tena and her team provide consultation and training to early educators and families that aim to cultivate positive and inclusive environments that support the social-emotional health of all children in classroom and home settings. This is highly collaborative work as service providers, early educators and families need to work hand in hand to promote positive mental health and well-being as a strong foundation for children, as well as being responsive to mental health concerns. As part of her role at Kidango, Tena is involved in advocacy and policy related to early childhood mental health within early care settings in California. She’s also involved in research on the impact of early childhood mental health consultation.