Early Learning Fellows Class Three

Early Learning Fellows Class Three


Wavy blue early learning fellows logo

The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) is pleased to continue facilitating an intensive Early Learning Fellows program for state legislators and staff. States have been leading efforts to improve the quality of child care, implementing preschool and innovative ways to support families with young children across the age spectrum from birth to kindergarten and into the early grades. They are also addressing challenges with governance, financing, data systems and teacher training/professional development. Scientific and evaluation research provide new insights into both child development and programs that are showing results. Federal initiatives, such as the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge and the federal Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting, will boost early childhood and home visiting funds in the coming years. We are pleased to offer a legislative fellows program to legislators and legislative staff at no cost. Most travel expenses for the program are being paid through a grant from the Alliance for Early Success.

On this page you will find all information related to the third round of Early Learning Fellows.

Class 3 (2014)

Meet the Fellows, Faculty and NCSL Staff  | Photo Roster

Representative Kathy Coleman, Wyoming
Representative Terri Collins, Alabama
Senator Tanya Cook, Nebraska
Senator Michael E. Dembrow, Oregon
Representative Laura V. Hall, Alabama
Representative Dan Huberty, Texas
Representative Patrick O. Jefferson, Louisiana
Representative Edith (Edie) McClafferty, Montana
Representative Jeanette M. Nuñez, Florida
Representative H. Marlene O’Toole, Florida
Representative Alice H. Peisch, Massachusetts
Representative Harlie Eugene “Gene” Reynolds, Louisiana
Representative Tana Senn, Washington
Representative Milo Smith, Indiana
Assemblymember Michaelle C. Solages, New York
Representative Sherrie L. Sprenger, Oregon
Senator Kate Sullivan, Nebraska
Representative Jessica Vega Pederson, Oregon
Representative Maureen Walsh, Washington
Senator, Speaker Pro Tempore Bo Watson, Tennessee

Legislative Staff
Kelly Klundt, fiscal analyst, New Mexico
David Mandell, special advisor on early childhood to the Speaker of the House, Oregon
Padraic McCracken, legislative research analyst, Montana

W. Steven Barnett, director, National Institute for Early Education Research
Sarah Daily, senior research scientist, Child Trends
Tom Schultz, program director, Council of Chief State School Officers
Jack P. Shonkoff, director, Center on the Developing Child - Harvard University
Jennifer Stedron, senior program manager, Ascend at The Aspen Institute
Amanda Szekely, senior policy analyst, National Governors Association
Albert Wat, senior policy analyst, National Governors Association

NCSL Staff (Denver Office)
Robyn Lipkowitz, program director, Children and Families Program
Alison May, staff coordinator, Children and Families Program
Phuonglan Nguyen, policy specialist, Children and Families Program
Julie Poppe, program manager, Children and Families Program

Kick Off Meeting | Denver, CO,  May 15-16, 2014

Group photo of Early Learning Fellows 2014 in front of Educare in Denver, COThe Fellows program kicked off with the Policy, Research & Innovation in Early Learning meeting in Denver May 15-16, 2014.
View the AGENDA.
View the Participant List





Thursday, May 15, 2014, Day 1 (1st Floor  • Ballroom A/B)

8-8:45 a.m. Welcome, Introductions and Overview of the Day
8:45-9:45 a.m.

Building a Foundation for Achievement: How Early Experiences Shape Brain Architecture
Introduction:  Julie Poppe, National Conference of State Legislatures

9:45-10:15 a.m. Digesting the Science:  Legislative Applications
10:15-10:30 a.m. Break
10:30-11:30 a.m.

Legislative Governance Examples in Early Childhood
Moderator: Julie Poppe, National Conference of State Legislatures

11:30 a.m.-Noon Early Learning Planning:  Thinking Through Your Top Priorities  
Identify your top priorities in a small group setting and begin to work on your individual Early Learning Plan worksheet.
Noon-1 p.m.

Lunch (Snowmass Room)

Lunch Sponsor:  Mattel Foundation

1-2:15 p.m.

Home Visiting:  A Legislative Primer

Moderator/Presenter: Robyn Lipkowitz, National Conference of State Legislatures [presentation]

2:15-2:45 p.m. Early Learning Planning: Putting Pen to Paper
Decide your next steps and fill in your individual Early Learning Plan.
2:45-3 p.m. Break
3-4 p.m.

Pay for Success: Innovative Financing to Support Early Childhood Programs
Moderator:  John Grossman, Third Sector Capital Partners, Massachusetts

4-5 p.m. Reflections from the Day
Reflect on the information gained from the sessions of the day.

Friday, May 16, 2014, Day 2 (1st Floor  • Ballroom A/B)

8:45-11:45 a.m.

Educare Tour and Site Visit - Clayton Early Learning

Introduction: Phuonglan Nguyen, National Conference of State Legislatures

  • Charlotte Brantley, Clayton Early Learning [handout]
Noon-1 p.m.

Lunch (Snowmass Room)

1-2:15 p.m.

Two Generation Strategies: The Potential for Early Childhood Programs to Support Children and Parents Together
Moderator: Jennifer Stedron, Ascend, Aspen Institute [presentation]

2:15-2:45 p.m. Early Learning Plan Report Out
2:45-3 p.m. Next Steps and Wrap Up
Discuss what is in store for the Fellows program in 2014.







Second Meeting | Minn., MN, August 18-19, 2014

The Fellows program will have a second face to face meeting in Minneapolis, MN Aug. 18-19, 2014. This meeting will take place at the Minneapolis Convention Center and will take place as a preconference to NCSL's Legislative Summit.

View the AGENDA. (coming in early August).
View the Participant List (coming in early August).

Monday, August 18, 2014: Day 1 / Mezzanine Level : M100-FG
8:30–9 a.m. Breakfast and Networking with Fellows – Mezzanine Level M100-H
9–9:30 a.m Welcome, Introductions and Overview of the Day
9:30–10:30 a.m.

The Economic Case for Investing in Early Childhood

  • Art Rolnick, Human Capital Research Collaborative
10:30–10:45 a.m.   


10:45–11:45 a.m.

Public and Private Partnerships for Early Childhood

  • Philip A. Peterson, Aon Hewitt
  • Ken Sikkema, Public Sector Consultants
11:45 a.m.–1 p.m. Lunch and Networking with Fellows M100-H
1:15–4:30 p.m.    Jeremiah Program Site Visit
6–7:30 p.m. Dinner


Tuesday, August 19, 2014: Day 2 / Mezzanine Level : M100-FG
8–8:30 a.m. Breakfast and Networking with Fellows – Mezzanine Level M100-H
8:30–9:30 a.m.

Math in the Early Years

Moderator: Tom Schultz, Council of Chief State School Officers

  • Doug Clements, University of Denver
9:30–10:30 a.m.

An Update on State Child Care Policies

  • Stephanie Schmit, Center for Law and Social Policy
10:30–10:45 a.m. Break
10:45–11:45 a.m. Advice from State Capitols
11:45 a.m.–Noon Final Thoughts and Wrap Up


webinar graphicOver the course of the Fellows program two webinars will take place, each webinar will have experts speaking about key issues related to early learning.





Webinar 1: State Prekindergarten Programs:  A Decade of Progress / Tuesday, June 24, 2014 at 2 p.m. ET / 11 a.m.  PT

An archived version of this webinar will be available HERE

This webinar is the first of two webinars specifically designed for the Early Learning Fellows. Over a quarter of America’s 4-year-olds currently participate in a state-funded preschool program. Hear from Steve Barnett with the National Institute for Early Education Research about the key findings from the annual State Preschool Yearbook. He will highlight the data and national trends for enrollment in, quality of, and spending on state-funded preschool programs. Learn about the decade of progress since the first Yearbook collected data on the 2001-2002 school year and the opportunities for improvements in quality and availability. There will be time set aside for questions and discussion.

Speakers: W. Steven Barnett, Ph.D., Director, National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University.

Webinar 2: 
Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2013, at 2 p.m. ET/ 1 p.m. CT/ Noon MT/ 11 a.m.  PT

*Learn more about other NCSL sponsored webinars HERE.

Early Learning Fellows Legislative Corner

Fellows blue banner with image of children and capitolAs a way to keep all Fellows connected with one another and to highlight the terrific work being done in your state. NCSL staff will  periodically highlight a Fellow and the work they are doing.

If you have something to share please be sure to email Alison May.

Additional Resources

Share this: 
We are the nation's most respected bipartisan organization providing states support, ideas, connections and a strong voice on Capitol Hill.

NCSL Member Toolbox


7700 East First Place
Denver, CO 80230
Tel: 303-364-7700 | Fax: 303-364-7800


444 North Capitol Street, N.W., Suite 515
Washington, D.C. 20001
Tel: 202-624-5400 | Fax: 202-737-1069

Copyright 2014 by National Conference of State Legislatures