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

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

Darlene Hamilton

Darlene Hamilton is the TA Specialist in Regions II, III and VIII for the Office of Child Care’s National Center on Child Care Quality Improvement. Prior to working on this project, Mrs. Hamilton worked as a TA Specialist for the Child Care State Systems Specialist Network and the National Child Care Information and Technical Assistance Center (NCCIC). She has held a variety of positions in PA in both direct service and management. In these roles she has been responsible for developing and managing subsidized child care systems, family child care programs, statewide professional development and technical assistance systems, corporate contracts on work/family issues, school-age professional development programs, statewide needs assessments, data management systems, infant/toddler mental health initiative, and PA’s Quality Rating and Improvement System  in northwestern PA. Mrs. Hamilton has served on various committees and boards at the local, state and national level. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work and a Masters in Business Administration. darlene.hamilton@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