Moderators

Debi Mathias

Debi Mathias serves as the Director of the QRIS National Learning Network with the BUILD Initiative, a broad cross-section of partners at the state and national level focused on the development and implementation of quality rating and improvement systems (QRIS).  Previously, Debi served for 7 years as Director of Early Learning Services, Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) in Pennsylvania.  Her responsibilities included leadership and support of teams responsible for design, implementation and monitoring of a variety of programs and initiatives including Keystone STARS, Family Support programs, the state Pre-K program, Head Start, the state professional development system, standards aligned systems (learning standards, assessment, curriculum framework etc.), PELICAN data base, program evaluation and research.  Debi understands early learning at every level, having served for nearly 30 years as Program Director, SUM Child Development Inc., where she created and managed a multi-site NAEYC Accredited early care and education program serving 800+ children ranging in age from six weeks to 12 years. dmathias@buildinitiative.org

Peggy Ball

Peggy Ball is a TA Specialist in Regions IV and X for the Office of Child Care’s National Center on Child Care Quality Improvement. With more than 30 years of experience in public policy and administration in early care and education, as well as higher education, she has managed state agencies and programs in both human services and post-secondary education. As deputy director and later director of the North Carolina Division of Child Development, she worked on the design of welfare reform in NC, assisted with the launch of Smart Start, and implemented the 5 Star Rated License, creating a regulatory pathway to quality for child care programs and a source of information for families. Prior to her current position, she was a TA Specialist with the National Child Care Information and Technical Assistance Center. She holds a master’s degree in Teaching English as a Second Language from the American University in Cairo and is a Certified Public Manager.peggy.ball@icfi.com

Nina Johnson

Nina Johnson has 20 years of experience in the early childhood field, including direct care provision, research, educational software development, policy analysis and program administration. As the State Child Care Administrator and Child Care Policy Manager for New Mexico, she oversaw the development of policies for the child care licensing and child care assistance programs, as well as market rate, cost and workforce studies. She also contributed to the development of the third generation of New Mexico’s Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement System. Nina currently provides technical assistance to states and territories in Regions VII and IX as a Technical Assistance Specialist with the Office of Child Care’s National Center on Child Care Quality Improvement and coordinates the provision of technical assistance for states as a member of the Early Learning Challenge State Support Team. Nina has a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of New Mexico and master’s degree in Education from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She also has two young children who keep her grounded. Nina.Johnson@icfi.com

Nancy vonBargen

Nancy vonBargen is a project director with the Office of Child Care's National Center on Child Care Quality Improvement. In serving 29 years with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, Nancy began her career as a licensing specialist and retired as state child care administrator. During her tenure, a statewide quality rating system was implemented, the licensing program flourished and many innovative quality initiatives were launched. She then served two years as the first Executive Director of Smart Start Oklahoma before becoming a technical assistance specialist for the National Child Care Information Center. As part of NCCIC, she supported Region VI and other states on issues including licensing and QRIS. Nancy has a master’s degree in child development and served as president of her state’s two early childhood professional organizations. nancy.vonbargen@icfi.com