Moderators

Debi Mathias

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

Sheila Smith

Sheila Smith, Ph.D.

Sheila Smith is Director of Early Childhood at the National Center for Children in Poverty, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University.  Sheila is an early childhood researcher whose research has focused on interventions that help teachers promote preschoolers’ early language, literacy and social-emotional growth; methods for individualizing learning supports for exceptionally high risk preschoolers; and parent involvement.   Recent projects include tracking and profiling state early care and education, health, and family support policies affecting children birth to eight; an analysis of QRIS standards, with a focus on supports for early learning; an evaluation of New York State’s pilot QRIS; an evaluation of New York City’s Project Launch, an early childhood mental health local systems building initiative; and technical assistance activities to help states’ strengthen supports for young children’s mental health.  She consults widely with leaders at the local, state, and national level about interventions and policies that support young children’s early learning and mental health.  Before joining NCCP, Sheila Smith was a research scientist at New York University’s Child and Family Policy Center where she directed two Early Reading First initiatives and the Forum on Children and Families, a research-policy dissemination project that targeted New York City and State policymakers. Sheila.Smith@nccp.org

Billie Young

Billie Young

Billie Young is Senior Advisor for NAEYC’s Early Childhood Workforce Systems Initiative. Previously, she served as an NCCIC State Technical Assistance Specialist for ACF Region X, serving Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.  Prior to that, Billie was the Director of Early Learning and Family Support for the City of Seattle.  Young has 30 years of experience working in education and community services involving child care, Head Start, preschool, family support, school age care and professional development. She specializes in public/private partnerships, strategic planning, cross-sector systems development, program quality improvement, early childhood finance, grant making and community engagement.  She has extensive experience in project management and facilitating cross-sector partnerships in decision-making and planning processes. Her publications include NAEYC’s Public Policy Report, Strategic Directions:  Technical Assistance in State Early Childhood Professional Development Systems and co-authoring an economic impact analysis for the child care industry in Washington State. She is a founder of Washington’s first child and family resource center, Seattle’s Step Ahead Preschool Program, the (national) Finance Circle, Project Lift-Off, and School’s Out Washington.  Young earned a master’s degree in social work from the University of Washington and a bachelor’s degree in education from Central Michigan University.  Billie served as treasurer for Washington AEYC and on NAEYC’s Cost, Quality and Compensation panel. byoung@naeyc.org