Jessica Sharp, MAT, IMH-E® Infant Mental Health Mentor (Policy)
SCPITC Network Director
Email: email@example.comJessica is an experienced leader with over two decades of direct and indirect service to children and families in South Carolina. Prior to leading SCPITC, she managed the organization’s Infant/Toddler Specialist Network. Jessica is steeped in the culture of child care in South Carolina, having begun her career as a care teacher of children birth to age five. Driven by her passion to serve children and families, she has also worked as the director of a nationally-accredited child development center, and supported early care and education at the systems level through her management of countywide initiatives at the United Way of Greenville County.
As a leader in South Carolina’s infant/toddler quality initiatives, Jessica engages in multiple intrastate and cross-state collaborations to innovate new services for infant/toddler child care providers and augment access to resources across the state.
Jessica holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art from Furman University, a Master of Arts in Teaching degree in Early Childhood Education from Converse College, and completed PhD coursework in Early Childhood Education at the University of South Carolina. She teaches a graduate course on Relationship-Based Caregiving for Infants and Toddlers at the University of South Carolina.
Outside of work, Jessica enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter and volunteering with local non-profit organizations. She also performs with the South Carolina Bach Choir.
Kerrie L. Schnake, MA, IMH-E® Infant Mental Health Mentor (Policy)
Director, South Carolina Program for Infant/Toddler Care
Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgKerrie established the South Carolina Program for Infant/Toddler Care in partnership with the SC DSS Division of Early Care and Education in 2006. Today, the program is housed at the University of South Carolina Department of Education. Prior to moving to South Carolina, Kerrie was a Program Administrator and Research Assistant for the California-based WestEd Program for Infant/Toddler Care.
As a leader in the state’s infant/toddler quality initiatives, Kerrie engages in multiple cross-state collaborations to bolster South Carolina’s access to resources. Kerrie was central to the creation of the South Carolina Association for Infant Mental Health (SCIMHA) for which she now serves as Board Chair. And she is engaged daily in guiding South Carolina’s efforts to strengthen the child- and family-serving workforce by integrating polices and systems that promote the use of IECMH Competency Guidelines and Endorsement®. She was a member of South Carolina’s inaugural cohort to seek Endorsement® and was awarded the Infant Mental Health Advocate Endorsement® in May 2019.
Kerrie’s passion as a change agent for infants, toddlers and their families has been recognized by ZERO TO THREE, where she is a member of the Fellowship Class of 2018-2020, working with an international network of diverse leaders to transform systems and policies to improve the health and well-being of our youngest children.
Kerrie earned a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Cal State, East Bay and her master’s degree in Early Childhood Education with an emphasis in Public Policy from San Francisco State University. She teaches a graduate course on Relationship-Based Caregiving for Infants and Toddlers at the University of South Carolina.
Allison J. Becker, IMHE® Infant Family Associate
PITC Specialist, Pee Dee Region
Email: email@example.comAllison Becker serves Chesterfield, Darlington, Florence, and Marion counties. She has been working in the field of early childhood since 2001. Prior to joining SCPITC, she was a public school teacher and a technical assistant/parent educator for First Steps. A Certified Trainer and Technical Assistance Provider (TAP) with the S.C. Center for Child Care Career Development, Allison has obtained certifications in WestEd PITC, ECERS-R, Cradling Literacy, ASQ-3, and The Incredible Years Parenting Program. Alison graduated from Columbia International University with a Master of Arts in Teaching degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education.
De’Ja M. Black, CHES®
Well-Being Coach, Pee Dee Region
Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgDe’Ja provides support and promotes overall well-being to childcare providers in the Pee Dee region, through the Be Well Care Well Project. As a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES®), De’Ja is capable of providing a wide range of health education practices and knowledge that will be beneficial in the efforts of providing support to childcare providers. She is also holds a certification as a Mental Health First Aider. Prior to joining SCPITC, De’Ja worked as a COVID-19 Health Educator for the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. She has also had years of experience in the childcare setting serving as a lead teacher and also an afterschool counselor for the Kaleidoscope program with the Charleston County School District. She earned a B.S in Public Health from the College of Charleston and is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Public Health at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, with a concentration in Leadership in Practice.
Kathryn Blue Barrett, IMH-E®, Infant Family Associate
PITC Specialist, Richland and Lexington Counties
Email: email@example.comKathryn has been working in the field of early childhood education since 2001. Prior to joining SCPITC, she was a technical assistance specialist with the S.C. Child Care Resource & Referral Network. Previous positions include serving as an early childhood education specialist and technical assistance specialist for First Steps, therapeutic foster care manager, literacy coordinator and preschool teacher. She is a Certified Trainer and Technical Assistance Provider (TAP) with the S.C. Center for Child Care Career Development, a certified adoption investigator, an accredited provider for the Triple P Positive Parenting Program and a certified trainer for Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect and Childcare Business Basics, along with PITC Modules and the SC Infant and Toddler Field Guide. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Child and Family Studies from East Carolina University and a master’s degree in Individual and Family Development from South Carolina State University.
Susan Callahan, MSW, IMHE® Infant Family Associate
Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health Program Manager
Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgSusan Callahan is a native of the South Carolina Lowcountry. She has dedicated the past 12 years to serving children and families. Susan obtained her Masters of Social Work degree from the University of South Carolina where her studies focused on behavior issues in early childhood, family dynamics and Autism Spectrum Disorder. Susan has extensive experience providing case management, program development, consultation, screening and diagnosing to individuals with Autism and their families. Susan has served in social work positions with USC Center for Disability Resources, USC School of Medicine’s Developmental Pediatric Clinic and the SC Department of Disabilities and Special needs. Susan is a qualified Triple-P provider, certified in the Screening Tool for Autism in Toddlers (STAT), UCEDD trained and a SC LEND long-term trainee. Susan is also a certified children’s yoga instructor with Kidding Around Yoga.
Before joining the SC Program for Infant Toddler Care and the SC Infant Mental Health Association, Susan was the Executive Director for Lowcountry Autism Foundation, a non-profit that provides programs to fill gaps in services and enhance the lives of individuals with Autism and their families. Susan is passionate about building a collaborative service delivery system and creating easily accessible programs and resources. Susan currently serves as the Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health Program Manager.
Regional PITC Specialist, Lowcountry Area
Email: TBDMeg Claffey has been working in the field of Early Childhood since 1990. As a Preschool Teacher and Early Interventionist-Educator/Special Instructor in Pennsylvania for many years, Meg comes to SCPITC with extensive focus in Coaching Early Childhood training (by Dathan Rush and M’Lisa Shelden). She also has autism experience and master level training from the Autism Navigator Instructional Program by the Florida State University Autism Institute. Trained in the Hanen Approach for early childhood language and literacy development, Meg also has experience and training in participation of the Positive Behavior Support grant through PA Early Intervention. Before joining SCPITC, Meg was an Early Intervention Supervisor for Orangeburg County, SC and a certified Parent Educator through First Steps/Parents as Teachers with Berkeley County School District in South Carolina. She is a certified administrator of ASQ3 and ASQSE2, ACIRI, LSP, KIPS and HFPI. Meg holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Early Childhood Education from Bloomsburg University in Bloomsburg, PA.
Faith Davis, M.S.
Well-Being Coach, Midlands Area
Email: email@example.comAs a Well-Being Coach for the Be Well Care Well project, Faith supports child care teachers as they develop routines in self-care. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science from Winthrop University in S.C., and her master’s degree in Exercise Science and Health Promotion with a concentration in Rehabilitation from California University of Pennsylvania. She is certified as a Corrective Exercise Specialist, a Child and Family Services Review (CFSR) consultant, and a National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD) consultant. She has more than 10 years of professional experience in youth development, health care and child welfare.
Yolan Esquivel, IMH-E®, Infant Family Associate
PITC Specialist, Charleston Area
Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgYolan partners with teachers, directors, families and other stakeholders to provide responsive child care focused on family, culture, and relationship-based care. She believes that early childhood education is a dynamic, multifaceted field that requires skills from every aspect of life, and that creating an environment that is physically inviting, safe, organized, yet flexible, and catering to the needs of all children is imperative. Yolan prides herself on being an early childhood professional who strives to guide all children towards becoming eager and active learners that are capable of discovering and creating knowledge. Yolan is a strong believer that family involvement is an integral aspect of children’s educational success. To that end, she encourages child care programs to accurately and respectfully represent and welcome in the classroom, the cultures and diversities in the students’ families and communities. Yolan has been a certified teacher since 2012, and brings more than a decade of experience in a variety of early childhood settings. She holds a B.A. in Early Childhood/Elementary/Special Education and an M.Ed. in Special Education from Arcadia University.
Brittany S. Gandy, MS, CHES®
Well-Being Coach, Lowcountry Area
Email: email@example.comBrittany promotes and implements self-care interventions and goals to improve individual wellness among child care providers for the Be Well Care Well project. A highly motivated and compassionate Certified Health Education Specialist, she brings solid knowledge and practical experience in health promotion programs and emotional health education to her role. Brittany’s ability to provide comprehensive health education, promote wellness among adolescents and adults, and improve individual health needs, is making a difference in the community. Prior to joining SCPITC, Brittany worked as an Assistant Site Coordinator at Buist Academy for Charleston County School District’s Office of Expanded Learning (Kaleidoscope) Program, and served as a Health Education Intern for MUSC’s Charleston Teen and Family EMPOWERR Program. She earned both a B.A. in Public Health and a B.S. in Sociology from the College of Charleston, and an M.S. in Health Education and Behavior from the University of Florida.
Beatrice Geiger, M.Ed.
PITC Specialist, Midlands Area
Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgBeatrice is a passionate advocate for quality foundations for children who has served in the early education field in various capacities for more than 25 years. Her experience and interest has always been helping children and families achieve their highest level of success. Prior to joining SCPITC, she managed Region II services for the S.C. Child Care Resource and Referral Network at United Way of the Midlands. She has been an Early Childhood Education Specialist with Richland County First Steps and was a teacher in a NAEYC-accredited program. She is a Certified Trainer and Technical Assistant Provider (TAP) with the S.C. Center for Child Care Career Development. Beatrice holds an associate degree in Human Services from Midlands Technical College, a bachelor’s degree in Child and Family Studies from Columbia College and a master’s of education in Early Childhood from the University of South Carolina.
Administrative Support Manager
Email: email@example.comAndrea manages office and program operations for SCPITC’s statewide Infant/Toddler Specialists and Well Being Coaches. Prior to joining the team in 2015, Andrea was a legal assistant for more than a decade to corporate and family law attorneys in her home state of Delaware. Her experience assisting family law attorneys with court appointed cases sparked her interest in volunteering with family-based organizations. Andrea knows first-hand how important early experiences and secure relationships are in molding a child’s future. Andrea holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Behavioral Science from Wilmington University in Dover, Delaware.
Dorthelia Griffin, IMH-E®, Infant Family Associate
PITC Specialist, Upstate/Greenville Area
Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgDorthelia’s experience includes 13 years as a Head Start teacher and 11 years as a Parent Educator working with children ages birth to three. She believes in empowering parents to be their child’s first teacher. Dorthelia is a Certified Trainer and Technical Assistant Provider (TAP) with the S.C. Center for Child Care Career Development. She holds an associate degree in Early Childhood from North Greenville College and a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Limestone College.
PITC Specialist, Horry and Surrounding Counties
Email: email@example.comAmy has nearly two decades of service in the early childhood field in various capacities. Prior to joining SCPITC, she was a technical assistance specialist with Horry County First Steps. She has also held positions as a Quality Enhancement Specialist with Smart Start of Brunswick County and was a preschool teacher in a 5 star program in North Carolina. She is a Certified Trainer and Technical Assistance Provider (TAP) with the S.C. Center for Childcare Career Development. Amy holds a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Mount Olive College in Wilmington, NC.
Lucie Maguire, M.S., RDN, CLC
Breastfeeding Friendly Child Care Coordinator
Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgAfter an initial career as a Civil Engineer, Lucie earned a master’s degree in Nutrition from Clemson University, and went on to complete her dietetic residency at MUSC. She has been with the MUSC Boeing Center for Children’s Wellness ever since. As a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Lucie spent several years supporting K-12 school-based initiatives designed to improve nutrition and physical activity through policy, systems and environmental changes. Lucie’s interest and advocacy for breastfeeding as a protective factor for childhood obesity created an opportunity for Lucie to support common goals for infant and toddlers. In 2016, she was instrumental in launching the South Carolina Breastfeeding Friendly Child Care Designation, for which she continues to manage and improve training, review, and maintenance activities for programs seeking the Designation. In 2017 she earned Certified Lactation Counselor® certification. Her focus on child care has been expanded with SCPITC’s three-year teacher well-being pilot project, Be Well Care Well, which is informed by the K-12 Healthy Schools Checklist and designed to promote and support child care teachers in intentional self-care techniques across eight dimensions of wellness.
Rebecca Merrick, IMHE® Infant Family Associate
PITC Specialist, Midlands Region
Email: email@example.comBecky Merrick has always had a passion for children no matter their background or developmental abilities. She began her career as an Infant/Toddler Teacher at a nationally-accredited child care center in Columbia, SC before relocating to St Joseph, MO where she taught Kindergarten to low-income /at risk students. After returning to the Midlands area, Becky was a stay-at-home mom for several years. During this time, she was involved with school fundraisers and mentoring at-risk children in the area. When Becky returned to the work force, she knew she wanted to continue her passion of working with children. Through BabyNet/DDSN, as an Early Interventionist and Family Trainer, Becky helped improve the quality of care in the home and daycare for children from diverse cultural backgrounds ranging 0-6 years of age with developmental delays or special needs. She is a Certified Trainer and Technical Assistance Provider (TAP) with SC Endeavors. Becky holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Early Childhood Education from Clemson University.
Ginger Miller, IMH-E®, Infant Family Specialist
PITC Specialist, Lexington and Richland Counties
Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgGinger Miller is passionate about children and early care and education with a track record of nearly two decades working in the field. Prior to joining the team, Ginger was a Quality Assessor for the SC DSS, Division of Early Care and Education, ABC Quality Program, supporting child care programs to improve quality care practices. Upon completion of PITC courses from WestEd, Ginger then trained to reliability in the Environment Rating Scales in ITERS, ECERS, SACERS and FCCERS. She is one of two anchors on the ERS in South Carolina. Ginger holds a degree from Clemson University.
PITC Specialist, Pee Dee Region
Email: email@example.comJacinta has over a decade of service in the education field, in capacities serving children and adults. Prior to joining SCPITC, she served 5 years as the Community Outreach Specialist for Horry County Schools Adult Education Program. She has also held positions as Parent Educator for Horry County First Steps, Education Coordinator and Toddler Teacher for East Coast Migrant Head Start Project in Florence County. She is also a Certified Trainer with the S.C. Center for Childcare Career Development. Jacinta holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from University of Phoenix and a master’s degree in Human Services: Marriage & Family from Liberty University. Jacinta was raised in a family of teachers and administrators, so a love for education was evident at a very early age. Her favorite quote says, “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.”
Justine Phelan, IMH-E®, Infant Family Associate
PITC Specialist, Spartanburg Area
Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgJustine relocated from New Hampshire to Charleston in 2014, after several other family members had moved south. She brings wither her many years of experience working as a teacher in infant and toddler classrooms. Before joining SCPITC, Justine was a Curriculum Coach with Charleston County First Steps, working with their Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership program. She is a Certified Trainer and Technical Assistance Provider (TAP) with S.C. Center for Child Care Career Development, is trained in the Infant/Toddler Environment Rating Scale (ITERS) and has also obtained certifications in WestEd PITC. Justine earned her bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Plymouth State University in Plymouth, New Hampshire, and is on track to complete a Master of Education degree Early Childhood from the University of South Carolina in December 2020.
Tia R. Prostko, M.S.
Well-Being Coach, Upstate Region
Email: email@example.comAs a long-time educator in the fields of recreation, health, and well-being, Tia brings a passion for service to others through a variety of experiences to Be Well Care Well. In previous roles, she taught individual and team sports to college students, served as a lifeguard and swim team coach, worked as a night shift emergency room technician, and provided support for newly breastfeeding moms and babies at SC WIC. Most recently, Tia served numerous counties throughout the Upstate of SC as the Lead Health Educator with ABC Quality. While there, she provided technical assistance and training to childcare providers, and she played a significant role in development of the state’s outdoor play and learning environments initiative, Grow Outdoors SC. Tia earned her bachelor’s degree in Physical Education with an emphasis on Recreation from the University of South Carolina Upstate in Spartanburg, SC. She also holds a Masters of Science in Health and Physical Activity with an emphasis on Developmental Movement from the University of Pittsburgh.
Well-Being Coach, Grand Strand Area
Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgAshley started college when her oldest child started kindergarten and by 2012, she earned a bachelor’s degree in Food and Nutrition with a minor in Fitness Instructing from the University of Southern Indiana. She is a Certified Group Fitness Instructor and a Certified Nutrition Coach through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Ashley’s past work experiences demonstrate her passion for teaching and desire to make a difference in her community. Before joining the SCPITC team, Ashley was a Nutrition Education Coordinator for the Lowcountry Food Bank, serving Horry, Georgetown and Williamsburg counties. She conducted grocery store tours to show participants how to shop smart on a budget, taught cooking classes for children and adults, and supported food pantries that wanted to offer healthier food options to our neighbors. Ashley has worked as a Swim Coach at the North Beach Aquatic Center specializing in helping children and adults feel comfortable in the water, and also was a Water Aerobics Instructor there. One of Ashley’s goals is to earn a master’s degree in Public Health in the future.
Jennifer Schildmeier, IECMH-E®, Infant Family Associate, Early Childhood Family Associate
PITC Specialist, Upstate Tri-County Area
Email: email@example.comJen comes to SCPITC with twenty years of experiences working with children and families in various ways. She began her career in early childhood education in 1998 and moved on to work in social services advocating for children in foster care in. From there, she jumped to teaching kindergarten just to come full circle back to early childhood education in 2017. Jen has had the privilege to serve children and family all over the country and even abroad. She is highly committed to serving and helping develop quality education for young children. She is a certified teacher in the State of South Carolina. Jen earned a Master of Arts Degree in Education: Early Childhood Education from Arizona State University in 2016. In January 2020, she earned Endorsement as an Early Childhood Family Associate through the South Carolina Association for Infant Mental Health.
Karissa Wylie, M.Ed.
PITC Specialist, Upstate Region
Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgKarissa Wylie has been working in the Early Education field since the age of 17 years old. She attended USC Upstate and graduated in 2016 with a Bachelors Degree in Child Development & Family Studies. Upon receiving her degree she worked as a pre school teacher & later transitioned to a Family Education Specialist with Lancaster County First Steps-Early Head Start Child Care Partnership. In 2019 she graduated from Liberty University with a Masters in Education degree – Elementary Education.