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OUR SPEAKERS

Kelli Leavell M.Ed is an author and national education consultant. She began her career in the Bremerton School District where she has worked as a classroom teacher and district level coordinator.  Kelli provides training and consultation for states, districts, schools, and educational foundations across the country.  She specializes in systems building and alignment of assessment, data, instruction, and curriculum.  Kelli's most recent work supports schools in streamlining assessments from PreK through 8th grade to establish a balance of formative and summative data.  She provides schools with a data analysis, goal setting, and responsive instruction process that personalizes learning, increases student outcomes, and improves overall systematic effectiveness.

Kris Perry - Opening Keynote

Kris Perry, Executive Director of the First Five Years Fund, understands that America’s future lies in the health and well being of the country’s youngest children. She has dedicated her career to bringing resources and support to parents, caregivers, and early learning workforce professionals to ensure children grow up healthy and ready to succeed in school and in life. Kris is a national thought leader on early childhood education, who has appeared in the New York Times, POLITICO, New Republic, Salon, Congressional Quarterly and many other new outlets across the country.  More on Kris.

Julie Nicholson

Julie Nicholson serves as Deputy Program Director with WestEd's Center for Child & Family Studies (CCFS), where she leads a wide range of projects and product development efforts, manages and supports staff, and further builds CCFS as a leader in the early childhood development field. Julie is also Associate Professor of Practice in the School of Education at Mills College. While at Mills, Nicholson directed the Leadership Program in Early Childhood; chaired the early childhood department; and established and directs the Center for Play Research, which examines issues of equity and social justice related to play including children's rights to play, and cross-cultural and global perspectives on play. More on Julie.

As the Director of Design and Innovation at the Early Learning Lab, Sheetal works to build the capacity for innovation and the use of new technologies for schools and community-based organizations working with families of children, birth to age 5. Her work at the Lab builds upon 15 years of experience in digital media and technology to solve social problems. Prior to joining the Early Learning Lab, she helped advise the global NGO sector on the use of technology to accelerate impact as the Senior Director of Global Media at TechSoup Global, where she also managed the NetSquared social innovation community, connecting technologists with the social sector to develop new products and through monthly meetups, hackathons and online technology challenges.

More about Sheetal.

Sheetal Singh 

Mauricio Palma

Mauricio is the Director, Initiatives and Special Projects for the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.  As a senior leader in the Community Impact Division, Mauricio leads a number of initiatives in the areas of social innovation, capacity building, civic tech, news and information, and community engagement.  He works with nonprofit organizations to conceive initiatives that lead to effective, equitable and sustainable community driven solutions.  Prior to joining Silicon Valley Community Foundation Mauricio worked with the Parent Services Project, helping to develop training curriculum on family support, engagement and leadership and implementing it in school readiness, school-linked services, family resource centers and schools.  More about Mauricio.

Tiffany Belzer

Tiffany Belzer is a life long educator specializing in sharing mindfulness practices with young children and families. She began her career as an elementary school teacher.  After becoming a certified yoga instructor she went on to teach yoga to kids ranging from toddlers to teens.  She most recently was employed by the Ravenswood City School District as part of a project created by Stanford to study the effects of mindfulness on stress indicators in children.  More on Tiffany.

Michelle Holdt

Michelle Holdt is the Visual and Performing Arts Coordinator for the San Mateo County Office of Education.  She is an arts integration specialist and theater educator with a strong commitment to leading an arts rich life and making the arts available for all children.  For 25+ years, she has been a drama teacher, professional development leaders, and arts administrator in a wide variety of educational settings.  She is also adjunct faculty at Cal State East Bay in the Teacher Education Program and faculty in the Integrated Learning Specialist Program.  More about Michelle.