This annual event provides professional development and networking opportunities for trainers in the state of Minnesota.

Registration is Now Open

This year’s Worlds of Wisdom Trainer & RBPD Summit will be October 4 - 6, 2018, at Cragun’s Resort in Brainerd, Minnesota. It’s an opportunity to foster a community of practice and professional development opportunities for anyone interested in best practices of adult education.

Join your colleagues in:

  • Increasing competency
  • Modeling and promoting professionalism
  • Meeting and mingling with your peers

Registration is now Closed.


Thursday, October 4 Pre-Conference

12:00-1:00 pm Registration

1:00-4:00 pm Breakout Sessions

*Dinner on your own


Friday, October 5

7:00-8:00 am Registration & Breakfast

8:00-11:00 am Breakout Sessions

11:00-12:00 pm Lunch

12:00-12:45 pm Shared Stories & Voices Forum

1:00-3:00 pm Breakout Sessions

3:15-5:15 pm Breakout Sessions

*Dinner on your own

6:30-8:30 pm

Social Event (snacks & cash bar)

Horse Drawn Trolley Rides


Lawn Games


Saturday, October 6

8:00-9:00 Registration & Breakfast

9:00-12:00 Breakout sessions

12:00-1:30 Lunch & PechaKucha

1:30-2 pm Closing


Pre-Conference Session:  1:00 p.m. - ­4:00 p.m.


Building Our Capacity for Curiosity, Compassion, and Courage

This session will discuss curiosity, compassion, and courage: how to use them in our lives and how they serve as an essential tool to strengthen and unify our voices.

Topic:  Ethics
Audience:  Trainers

Presenter: Jamie Bonczyk
Jamie is the Executive Director of the Hopkins Early Learning Center and a mentor trainer for Child Care Aware of Minnesota. Jamie began her journey in adult education as an adjunct instructor for Kendall College in Chicago where she taught Introduction to Special Education, Children’s Literature, Professionalism and the Early Childhood Educator, and Health, Safety and Nutrition. In 2010, she moved to Minnesota and registered as a master trainer with the Minnesota Center for Professional Development. In addition to an MA degree, Jamie also holds a certificate in Relationship-Based Professional Development.

Presenter: Hannah Riddle de Rojas
Hannah is a founder of SolBe Learning, a Boston-based early education center. She has worked as an educator, center director, trainer, and adjunct faculty. Hannah earned a master's degree in Adult ESL Education at Hamline University. She has a BS in Child Psychology and a BA in Spanish Studies from the University of Minnesota.


Developmental Stages of Healing

This workshop will support individuals and professionals through the necessary transitional periods of healing. It addresses historical and intergenerational trauma and how it affects the daily lives of individuals and communities.

Audience:  Both

Presenter: Kamyala Howard
Kamyala Howard, MSW, LICSW, is the Founder and CEO of “WE’RE DIVINE” and Co-Founder of African American Community of Practice. She has over 22 years of leadership experience working with non-profit and private agencies creating innovative models that assist with organizational cultural change, dismantling barriers, leadership development, direct clinical practice, and building intercultural relations. She received her graduate degree from the University of Minnesota with special emphasis on cultural studies, family systems, and direct clinical practice. She is a licensed mental health practitioner certified in a range of professional training modules and an active member on many advisory councils. She has a history of bringing many voices to the table in creating solutions to complex challenges.


Coaching Coaches

Topic:  RBPD

Presenter: Dea Anderson

Presenter: Kristen Wheeler Highland


Session 1:  8:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.


Becoming a Culturally Reflective Trainer: Using Culture as a Tool

Participants will increase their understanding of cultural responsive practices and relationship-based tools, based in the "Culture of Learning Theories."

Topic:  Diversity of Race Culture, Language, Ability
Audience:  Trainers

Presenter: Kamyala Howard
Kamyala Howard, MSW, LICSW, is the Founder and CEO of “WE’RE DIVINE” and Co-Founder of African American Community of Practice. She has over 22 years of leadership experience working with non-profit and private agencies creating innovative models that assist with organizational cultural change, dismantling barriers, leadership development, direct clinical practice, and building intercultural relations. She received her graduate degree from the University of Minnesota with special emphasis on cultural studies, family systems, and direct clinical practice. She is a licensed mental health practitioner certified in a range of professional training modules and an active member on many advisory councils. She has a history of bringing many voices to the table in creating solutions to complex challenges.



How to Avoid Death by Powerpoint: Creating Awesome Presentations

Attend this session to learn effective strategies for creating awesome PowerPoint presentations and receive tips for avoiding "Death by PowerPoint."

Topic:  Presentation/Facilitation
Audience:  Trainers

Presenter:  Dawn Braa
Dawn holds an MAEd in Early Childhood Education and a BA in Family Life/Child Development from Minnesota State University, Mankato, with a minor in Early Childhood Education and Parent Education. Dawn has had the opportunity to facilitate learning as a preschool teacher in both metro and rural Minnesota cities. Currently, she is an Early Childhood and Youth Development instructor and has been teaching at the collegiate level, both online and face-to-face, for 15 years. She regularly facilitates adult learning for early childhood educators through local, state, and national training sessions. Dawn continues to update her credentials by staying current in the field through courses, webinars, workshops, research, and conferences.



The Best Fit: Aligning RBPD Strategies with Each Educator's Experiences

Explore how RBPD strategies can be designed to support early educators as they encounter challenges and dilemmas in their work with children.

Topic:  RBPD
Audience:  RBPD Specialists

Presenter: Beth Menninga
In her current position as Project Coordinator at the Center for Early Education and Development (CEED) at the University of Minnesota, Beth was lead author and coordinator in developing a Knowledge and Competency Framework and a 45-hour credential course for Relationship-Based Professional Development Credential specialists. Her past work includes coordinating professional development initiatives on infant/toddler care giving, early literacy, and early math. Coaching was an integral element of the latter two initiatives. Beth has also coauthored articles for Young Children and Exchange magazines, as well as the book The Thinking Teacher: A Framework for Intentional Teaching in the Early Childhood Classroom (Free Spirit Publishing/Redleaf Press). She holds an MA in Education from Hamline University.

Presenter:  Sandy Heidemann
Sandra is a decades-long veteran of early childhood education with an emphasis on special needs. Throughout her career she has worked as a teacher, trainer, author, and director. A past board president of the Minnesota Association for the Education of Young Children (MNAEYC), Sandra has published in Young Children and Exchange magazines and is the coauthor of Play: The Pathway from Theory to Practice, published by Redleaf Press. She lives in Minnesota and currently works as an Inclusion Coach at the Center for Inclusive Child Care.

Presenter: Claire Chang
Claire is a senior program officer at the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation, which she joined in 2015 to further the Foundation’s commitment to increasing health equity in Minnesota. Claire brings more than two decades of community-involvement experience with strengths in improving early childhood education outcomes, promoting racial equity, and leading and evaluating community initiatives. She holds an MA in philanthropy and development from St. Mary’s University and a BA in child development from the University of Wisconsin-Stout. She is a co-author of The Thinking Teacher: A Framework for Intentional Teaching in the Early Childhood Classroom (Free Spirit Publishing/Redleaf Press).



Decrease Your Stress & Enhance Your Work as an Educator and Coach

Identify top tips to reduce stress, increase success, and enhance joy as a trainer and coach. Participants will experience creative presentation practices and reflect on how they can use these methods to engage and inspire participants.

Topic:  Presentation/Facilitation
Audience:  Both

Presenter: Raelene Ostberg
Raelene is currently a Master Trainer with MNCPD, Keynote Speaker, Early Childhood Consultant, and Founder of Thriving Together, LLC. Raelene has worked for twenty years to develop and deliver engaging in-person and online educational experiences designed to lower stress and increase success for all – young children and the parents, teachers, and early childhood professionals who care for them. Recently, Raelene has directed her energy and enthusiasm to support and encourage other presenters who are working to enhance the skills of Minnesota’s early childhood workforce through the Child Care Aware of Minnesota Mentorship Program. Raelene holds a MEd in Family Education and a BA in Theater from the University of Minnesota.




DANCE*Werking is the combination of dancing and networking. This gathering will be fun and engaging for both the body and the mind.

Topic:  RBPD
Audience:  Both

Presenter: PH Copeland
PH was born and raised in North Minneapolis. Her professional background involves youth and community organizing surrounding racial equity and other social justice issues. PH is the equity organizer for the Good Food Access Campaign at the American Heart Association. She believes organizing, advocacy, and storytelling are tools for developing a sustainable life, ending cycles of poverty and forms of oppression, and creating healing spaces for growth. In her spare time, PH is a contract employee with Minnesota Civic Youth as the Youth on Boards program director. She is also co-facilitator of Hope Community’s Sustainable Progress Through Engaging Active Citizens program. PH holds a BA in public affairs from Wells College in Aurora, NY.

Presenter: Ruth Hamberg
Ruth supports mission-driven organizations through marketing and communications, event production, and organizational development. With experience in strategic planning, appreciative inquiry, and community engagement, she connects the details of implementation with the big picture thinking required for long-lasting impact. Ruth’s work builds on five years as the engagement specialist for Minnesota Compass (Amherst H. Wilder Foundation), which provides data to inspire action across the state. Prior to working with Minnesota Compass, Ruth served as Speakers Bureau and Media Relations Coordinator for Greater Twin Cities United Way. A leader in the Minnesota Rising network, Ruth co-develops workshops including a daylong session on identity-driven leadership for bushCONNECT 2016. Currently, she leads the Communications Committee of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of the Twin Cities, where she also serves on the board.



Session 2:  1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.


Power to the Profession: Welcoming Change

Learn about the National Association for the Education of Young Children's (NAEYC) initiative to empower the early childhood workforce.

Topic: Workforce/PD
Audience: Both

Presenter:  Kylie Cooper
Kylie is the Workforce Advising Coordinator at Child Care Aware of Minnesota. She has been in the early childhood field for ten years as a toddler teacher, preschool teacher, advisor, Master Trainer, and Professional Development Specialist with the Council for Professional Recognition. She holds a MA in Education from Concordia University-St. Paul in Early Childhood Education. Kylie is the President for the Minnesota Association for the Education of Young Children and Minnesota School Age Care Alliance (MnAEYC-MnSACA). She believes in empowering early childhood educators, advocating for educator compensation, and valuing the professionals in our field.



Developing Reflective Practitioners

Enhance your written and verbal communication skills when coaching or mentoring early childhood and school-age educators in order to develop their reflective teaching practices. Through instruction, video, and discussion, this interactive workshop will dive into the topic of providing high-quality written and verbal feedback to practitioners.

Topic:  Workforce/Professional Development
Audience:  Coaches

Presenter: Peggy Novak
Peggy holds a master’s degree is in Education with an emphasis in Early Childhood Education from Concordia University and a doctorate from St. Mary's University in Leadership. Currently, she is an adjunct professor of Early Childhood Education at University of Northwestern, St. Paul and Bethel University. Through her work in higher education, Peggy has mentored and coached many early childhood candidates through their field placement experiences.



Input Opportunity: Recommendations to Change Minnesota Trainer Types

Trainers are a key part of our professional development system and your input is important. Come help us shape the new trainer types and requirements that DHS is creating.

Topic:  Presentation/Facilitation
Audience:  Trainers

Presenter: Kimberly Stone
Kimberly Stone, MSW, LISW, is a Professional Development Specialist at the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) in the Child Care Services Division. She leads the development and support of Relationship-Based Professional Development Specialists (RBPD) and trainers who serve early care and education practitioners. Prior to joining early childhood professional development, she worked for nine years in the Child Safety and Permanency Division at DHS as a curriculum coordinator, contract manager, and trainer advisor. She has also worked in social work direct practice as an in-home counselor with families involved in the child welfare system, managed programs serving adolescents aging out of foster care and programs for teen parents.

Presenter:  Nick Henderson



Refreshing the Emotional Component of Social-Emotional Learning

This session will challenge what emotional learning really means and entails. It will discuss the transition from an individual perspective and ask the question “how are we then social?”

Topic: Workforce/PD
Audience: Both

Presenter: Steve Roecklein PhD
Steve is a retired LICSW with over 43 years of professional experience. He has been a Master Trainer, now with Develop, for 21 years. Steve has worked with parents and children in mental health and in early childhood education much of his working life. He specializes in SEL skills enhancement including professionalism, working with parents, and helping others manage conflicts.



Winning Adult Learning Tactics for the Face to Face and Online Classrooms

Participants will learn how to incorporate active learning strategies based on adult learning principles into their training.

Topic:  Adult Learning
Audience:  Both

Presenter: Michon Rogers
Michon is an engaging teacher, trainer, facilitator, and presenter with experience working with a diverse set of organizations, locally and statewide. Currently, Michon is an instructor at Rochester Community and Technical College and co-facilitator of the Collaborative Leadership Fellows program, a community-based leadership program. In addition to Rotary and practicing daily “service above self,” her community involvement includes leadership and volunteer positions at the Rochester Area Family Y, League of Women Voters, Chamber of Commerce, Rochester Area Quality Council (currently PEN), RNeighbors, More Women on the Move, Rochester Public Schools, and Olmsted County. Michon holds MA in Human Resource Development from the University of Minnesota and a BA in Business Administration from Winona State University.

Presenter: Catherine Davis
Catherine is an employee development professional with over 20 years of experience in the for- and non-profit sectors. Catherine is a former trainer manager for a mid-sized multi-national organization where she developed and implemented many talent development initiatives. Currently, Catherine teaches at Rochester Community and Technical College and St. Mary’s University where she specializes in management, leadership, and organizational development courses. In addition, she co-facilitates a community leadership program, Collaborative Leadership Fellows, which equips emerging leaders with the skills necessary to work across sectors to address complex community issues. Catherine holds an MA in Organizational Management and an MA in Business Administration from Concordia University St. Paul and serves on various boards and committees in the Rochester community.



Session 3:  3:15 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.


Diversity of Race Culture, Language, Ability: Including All Genders when Training Teachers

Learn to use language that is inclusive of all genders when you are training or coaching teachers.

Topic:  Diversity of Race Culture, Language, Ability
Audience:  Both

Presenter:  Mike Huber
Mike is the author of Embracing Rough and Tumble Play: Teaching with the Body in Mind (Redleaf, 2017) as well as six picture books including The Amazing Erik (Redleaf Lane, 2014). He is the co-host of the podcast “Teaching with the Body in Mind.” Mike has been working in Early Childhood Education since 1992 and training teachers since 1999.



Do We Need All the Answers or Just the Right Questions?

Giving answers is a short-term fix. Asking consultative questions develops skills for problem-solving. Applying open-ended questions to adult learners leads to successful learning.

Topic:  Presentation/Facilitation
Audience:  Both

Presenter: Karen Foster-Jorgensen
Karen is a leader in training early childhood directors and consulting on the business of child care across North America. She develops rapport with diverse communities and builds collaborations through extensive experience in practicing and teaching consultative tools for personal and organizational development. Karen is the developer and coordinator of the Eager-to-Learn Directors Credential, now proudly offering its 20th cohort for building quality leadership and sustainability for ECE in Minnesota. Among her recent adventures is presenting at the 2017 World Forum on Early Care and Education in New Zealand and successfully writing a $1.5 million expansion grant for a child care business.



Giving the Best Example We Can to Serve Others

In this lively session, participants will learn how taking care of themselves is the single greatest gift they have to give anyone else as teachers and child care professionals.

Topic: RBPD
Audience: Both

Presenter:  Andy Johnsrud
Andy has been teaching and working with kids and families for over 30 years. He came to the practical skills he delivers out of necessity. Stepping into a public-school classroom as a young teacher, it became very clear that the examples and techniques used by adults in his own childhood in the 70’s and 80’s were no longer state-of-the-art. From this necessity has grown a unique and practical perspective that equips adults with the skills and understanding they need to give all kids their very best shot at success in the real world.


Storytelling for the Work of Justice

Practical and hands-on training in how to tell effective, personal stories and use those stories in the work for justice no matter the issue.

Topic: Presentation/Facilitation
Audience: Both

Presenter:  Shannon TL Kearns
Shannon is a writer, speaker, and theologian. He is a transgender man and the is founder and Artistic Director of Uprising Theatre Company. Shannon is a sought-after speaker on queer theology, transgender issues, and the intersections of identity and faith. Shannon is also a playwright. His work as an artist is rooted first and foremost in a belief that marginalized people are the people best able to tell their own stories and that providing space for marginalized people to be able to embody those stories on stage enriches all of us. He believes that stories have the power to change the world.



The Learning Ladder: Inspiring Participants to Engage and Implement

This session will focus on ways to encourage adult learners to actively engage, process, and implement training content.

Topic:  Adult Learning
Audience:  Trainers

Presenter:  Cynthia Saarela
Cynthia has worked in the field of early childhood and family education for over 25 years. She began as a home child care provider and subsequently earned Minnesota teaching licenses in Early Childhood and Parent Education. Much of her career has been in school-based programs as both a teacher and program administrator. Cynthia currently does training and consulting in areas of early childhood education, assessment, and parent education. She also serves on the Board of Directors at Love to Grow On, a metro-area child care program. Cynthia holds a MEd in Early Childhood Ed: Curriculum and Instruction and a BA in Child Psychology from the University of Minnesota. She recently retired from full-time program administration and is enjoying this opportunity to focus her energies on teaching and training.

Presenter:  Wendy Carter
Wendy has been working in the field of Early Childhood for over 25 years as a teacher, program manager, coach, and trainer. She is enthusiastic about supporting and coaching teachers and providers to find strategies that are effective in working with children and families in the classroom, on home visits, and in child care settings. Wendy facilitates a variety of classes through face-to-face classes with Child Care Aware and online through Eager-to-Learn, as well as serving as an Education Manager for Head Start. Her passion is in building relationships with others and assisting them to discover their strengths and grow in their practice, all in the context of helping young children and families.


9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.


Quiet! I am Blooming! Finding our Voice, Value and Validity

Let's talk about you. Is imposter syndrome holding you back?? Let's gather and discuss how to quiet the noise and follow our true passion. In this session we will define and discuss imposter syndrome. We will look at the psychological concept of the "negative mother" and how voices from our past and our culture can hold us back from stepping out and up into our true abilities.
In small group discussion format we will look at how to dismantle its hold on us as professionals in ECE, and how to, with fun and freedom embrace and trust our true inner voices.

Topic:  Adult Learning
Audience:  Trainers

Presenter:  Karlene Dunaisky
Karlene began her journey as an early childhood professional over 25 years ago. With a deep compassion for children and the grownups who care for them, Karlene has dedicated her professional life to all things early childhood. She studied parent education and child development at the University of Minnesota, Duluth and opened The Backyard Playschool in 1995. Karlene recently earned her graduate certificate in Early Childhood Public Policy and Advocacy and is a 2015 CARE Fellow alumnus. On any given day you will find Karlene playing in her program, finishing graduate school, training for Child Care Aware, or coaching for The Center for Inclusive Child Care as an RBPD specialist.



Historical & Contemporary Issues of Early Childhood Education

Participants will explore issues and movements happening today that will mold their work tomorrow. This facilitated session will guide participants through a tour of hot topics that are real and relevant for adult educators working with current or aspiring early childhood educators.

Audience: Both

Presenter:  Roz Zuest



Ethics for Educators: Serving as Role Models

This session will discuss the ethical dilemmas educators face in diverse programs. Participants will learn to recognize their personal biases and how they can impact relationships with children, families, and coworkers. They will also learn how to apply on-going self-reflection intentionally to maintain professional boundaries with children and families.

Topic:  Ethics
Audience:  Both

Presenter:  Kelly Sadlovsky, PhD
Kelly has been in the education field for almost 30 years with roles as classroom teacher, center director, licensing consultant, accreditation validator, community program director, family advocate, trainer, researcher, and college professor. Kelly currently serves as the Chair for the Department of Graduate Teacher Education and MAED Coordinator for the Early Childhood emphasis at Concordia University, St. Paul. She holds a Ph.D. in Education with a dissertation on professional development for early childhood teachers. Kelly holds an MAEd with Early Childhood emphasis and a BA in Child Development and owns a large child development center in the Twin Cities which serves as a fieldwork site for ECE teachers. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for MnAEYC-MnSACA, on multiple learner advisory boards for ECE, serves as a consulting editor for Young Children, and is Editor-in-Chief for Pathways for Professional Educators.



Diversity of Race Culture, Language, Ability: It's All About Understanding

This session will discuss poverty and economics, and how one's economic level affects how he/she relates and is related to in society. It will cover the types of poverty and their effect on values, language, and behavior.

Topic:  Diversity of Race Culture, Language, Ability
Audience:  Both

Presenter:  Ann Dillard
Ann holds a MA in Marriage and Family Therapy from Argosy University Twin Cities and a BS in Business Operations from DeVry University, Chicago. She has been a credentialed trainer and educator through the Minnesota Center for Professional Development for over 14 years and is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Georgia and Minnesota. She holds certificates in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Narrative Exposure Therapy, and a Distance Counseling Credential, and is a member of Black Therapists Rock, the American Association of Christian Counselors, and The National Black Child Development Institute. Ann’s philosophy of teaching evolved from many years of working with parents, young people, being trained on many curriculums and her teaching experiences. Her mission as an instructor is to promote positive, engaged learning, spark enthusiasm, and provide a strong foundation for life-long learning and relationships through strategies based on essential educational principles including cognitive functioning, learning theory, and life experiences.



Recognizing Burnout & Rekindling the Joy of Teaching

This session will explore what drew participants to teaching, explore their current satisfaction as teachers, and explore ways to find joy in their roles as educators.

Topic:  Continuous Quality Improvement, TA
Audience:  Both

Presenter:  Helen Meissner
Helen has been in the Early Childhood Field since 1986. She is a Preschool Teacher at Love to Grow On, where she works with children 33 months to 5 years of age. She has been at her current Early Learning Center for 17 years. She is the founder of the Facebook page, “From Fingerprints to Masterpieces.” She also writes a blog of the same name. Helen is an Achieve Content Expert Trainer. She is passionate about Process-Based Art and providing experiential learning for children.