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Annual Early Childhood Conference

Center of Excellence in Early Childhood Learning & Development




2019 Featured Presenters:






Daniel Hodgins

Daniel Hodgins will deliver the keynote at ETSU's upcoming Early Childhood Conference

Daniel Hodgins is an exceptional international presenter and author of two books: Boys: Changing the Classroom, Not the Child and Get Over It: Relearning Guidance Practices. As a consultant he has a unique grasp of children and family issues learned from over 35 years of experience working as a teacher, director and educator in both private and public sector. He has given keynotes, seminars and presentations in over 48 states, Canada, Japan and Europe




Daniel Hodgins portrait
Daniel Hodgins Sessions



Red Grammer portrait







Red Grammer

Combining one of the truly great voices in the business with an unerring sense of performance and play, Red’s live concerts delight audiences, young and old, in performing arts centers all across America and abroad. Red has performed throughout Europe, in China, Russia, the Ukraine, Israel, and the Gambia. He is also a frequent keynote speaker and performer at national and regional educational conferences throughout North America.


Red Grammer Sessions



Cheryl Smith Turner portrait

Cheryl Smith Turner 

Cheryl Smith Turner is a seasoned teacher trainer who brings passion, professionalism, and more than 35 years of experience as an educator to each and every presentation. She connects to her audiences with a training style that combines humor with common sense strategies and active learning. As the CEO and owner of REACH Teaching Learning Solutions, an educational consulting firm with offices in Atlanta, Ga., Turner provides educators with improved instructional strategies that contribute to a positive climate for learning. Turner obtained her specialist in education degree from Georgia State University with a concentration in early childhood education and her Master's of Arts degree in educational studies from Emory University. Turner is nationally certified to train preK–12 educators on strategies for classroom management and differentiated instruction. She is also qualified to train early care and education professionals throughout Georgia at all levels and serves as a state-approved trainer for Strengthening Families Georgia, which provides instructional support for organizations that serve children and families. Turner provides professional development workshops and training sessions on topics that include classroom management, social-emotional development, language and literacy, differentiated instruction, critical-thinking skills, and play-based learning.


Mary Donegan-Ritter portrait


Mary Donegan-Ritter

Mary Donegan-Ritter, Ph.D. began her career in the field of early childhood education over 30 years ago as a preschool teacher, home based early interventionist and ECSE teacher in New York City. After earning her PhD in early childhood special education at the University of Illinois she was on the early childhood faculty at the University of Michigan-Dearborn for nine years. She is currently an associate professor of ECE at the University of Northern Iowa where she teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses in early childhood and serves as assistant department head. Her research interests include coaching to support professional development of teachers, and inquiry based STEM curriculum in inclusive preschools.





Beth VanMeeteren

Beth VanMeeteren

Beth VanMeeteren, Ed.D., is a STEM author (Teacher College Press) and Director of the Regents’ Center for Early Developmental Education and CEESTEM (Center for Early Education in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) at the University of Northern Iowa. Beth is a veteran early childhood teacher of 24 years. She taught for Dr. Rheta DeVries for six years at DeVries’ Freeburg Early Childhood Program. In the process, she developed constructivist early childhood curriculum particularly in the STEM areas. Her work is featured in DeVries’ final two publications “Ramps and Pathways” and “Moral Classrooms, Moral Children.” Beth now conducts research, designs and provides professional development nationally and internationally, designs and develops curriculum, and teaches literacy and integration courses in early childhood.




Yasman Dorrian portrait

Yasmin Dorrian

Yasmin Dorrian, MSEd, is an educational consultant as well as an instructor at Bank Street College of Education in New York, where she teaches in the Infant and Family Development program. As an educational consultant, she provides a deep understanding of the needs of children, families, and educators from her many years of experience as a teacher and director in both the United States and Dubai, UAE. She is an experienced presenter with a passion and commitment to building strong academic communities that embody twenty-first-century teaching and learning.


Katheryn Sharp portrait


Dr. Kathryn Sharp

Dr. Kathryn Sharp is an Associate Professor at East Tennessee State University. Prior to working in higher education, she taught literacy to every age range and grade from toddlers to adults, and worked in the public school system in Memphis, TN. Her research interests are early childhood literacy, classroom management, teacher and pre-service dispositions, teacher evaluation, and science. Kathryn presents locally and nationally, and enjoys working with teachers and participating in professional development opportunities in literacy, classroom management, and assessment. When not teaching, she enjoys many hobbies, including quilting, reading, chess, scrapbooking, and cooking.





Sherri Peterson portrait



Sherri Peterson

Sherri Peterson is the Program Coordinator at the Regents' Center for Early Developmental Education, a statewide center dedicated to research, program development, and dissemination in the area of early education at the University of Northern Iowa. She has nearly four decades of experience in early childhood programs as teacher, consultant, and instructional coach. While at UNI she has assisted with development of and piloted STEM curriculum in an early childhood university laboratory school and has provided STEM professional learning to Iowa teachers since 2005. Currently she is collaborating with teachers at the child development center on UNI’s campus to develop infant-toddler STEM curriculum for teachers.

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