Current PITC Faculty
Peter L. Mangione
Peter L. Mangione is Senior Director of Early Childhood Strategic Initiatives at WestEd and Director of the PITC. He provides leadership in the development of comprehensive professional learning resources for infant and toddler care teachers and the evaluation of early childhood programs and services. His contributions have helped make the Program for Infant/Toddler Care a national model for training early childhood practitioners.
Mangione has worked extensively in the fields of child development, early childhood education, family support services, public policy, and research and evaluation. He has led the creation of early learning and development standards and curriculum, infant/toddler and preschool program guidelines, resources for supporting young dual language learners, and early childhood educator competencies. He is one of the principal collaborators in the development of the California Department of Education’s Desired Results Developmental Profile. Mangione has served on advisory groups for the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the government of Singapore, and ZERO TO THREE, and participated in meetings conducted by the National Academy of Sciences.
Mangione received a BA in psychology from Oakland University and an MS and PhD in education and human development from the University of Rochester. In addition, he studied at the Merrill-Palmer Institute for Child and Family Studies and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the Max-Planck-Institute for Psychiatry in Munich, Germany, where he specialized in infant development.
Elizabeth Crocker serves as the Director of Program for Infant/Toddler Care (PITC) Training and Certification. In her role, she collaborates with PITC leadership and staff in the delivery of PITC’s Trainer Certification Institutes.
Prior to joining WestEd, Crocker led Children and Family Services at the Unity Council in Oakland and Concord. The programs provide dual language learning, PITC principles, and a two-generational approach with the child and family at the center of the curriculum.
She also provided training and coaching, inclusive of dual language learning, PITC principles and program leadership in diverse settings.
Crocker received a dual BA in psychology and social welfare from the University of California, Berkeley and an MA in educational leadership from Mills College. She is an Anderson Head Start Management Fellow, and PITC and Circle of Security certified.
Elita Amini Virmani
Elita Amini Virmani is an Associate Professor at Sonoma State University in the Department of Early Childhood Studies.
Prior to joining Sonoma State University, she was the Director of Training for the Program for Infant/Toddler Care at WestEd’s Center for Child & Family Studies where she developed trainings and materials geared toward improving teacher, trainer, home visitor and parent capacity for sensitive, responsive, and reflective practice. In 2016, Amini Virmani was recognized as an Exceptional Emerging Leader by the Exchange Child Care Magazine's Leadership Initiative.
Amini Virmani aims to support the social-emotional health and well-being of young children through relationship-based interventions. In particular she is focused on ways that reflective practice and supervision promote parent and teacher capacity to see from the child’s point of view. Amini Virmani believes that as we learn to see from the child’s perspective we gain important insights into ways to be more sensitive and attuned to supporting their healthy social-emotional growth and development. Dr. Amini Virmani sees it as our social responsibility to ensure that all young children are seen for who they are and honored for who they are, central to which is their cultural and linguistic identity.
Amini Virmani received an MS in child development and a PhD in human development from the University of California, Davis.
Betty B. Blaize is the CEO of Excellence for Children, providing leadership in childcare training throughout the country for over 25 years. She has also been an Early Head Start Implementation Planner for the past year and a half.
Blaize coordinated the Infant/Toddler training throughout the state of Louisiana for 9 years. She has served on the National Faculty for the Program for Infant Toddler Care, as an Infant/ Toddler Specialist and Start-Up Planner for 35 Early Head Start Programs for a Head Start Technical Assistance Agency, as an elected official in Terrebonne Parish, and as Vice-President of the State Directors of Child Development.
Blaize received her BA from San Diego State College University in home economics, graduate credits from Pacific Oaks College in early childhood, and an MA from the University of New Orleans in curriculum and instruction.
Linda Brault directs Supporting Inclusive Early Learning for the California Department of Education Early Learning and Care Division within WestEd's Center for Child & Family Studies. Supporting Inclusive Early Learning includes Beginning Together: Caring for Young Children with Disabilities in Inclusive Settings, the California Map to Inclusion & Belonging, and the California Collaborative on the Social Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CA CSEFEL) Teaching Pyramid.
Prior to joining WestEd in 2007, Brault worked as a faculty member with PITC, while directing CDE projects for Sonoma State University. She also has been an instructor in child development at Mira Costa and Palomar community colleges and was an early childhood special education teacher for more than 18 years. Brault has held board positions in several professional California and national organizations and has published several books on the topic of Best Practice for Children with Disabilities and Other Special Needs in Early Childhood Settings.
Brault received an MA in special education from California State University, Dominguez Hills and holds an early intervention graduate certificate from San Diego State University.
Janet Gonzalez-Mena is a writer, trainer, and consultant in early childhood education, with an emphasis on infants, toddlers, and integrating cultural differences into programs. She started as an early childhood education practitioner and later became a community college instructor at Napa Valley College, retiring in 1998.
Gonzalez-Mena is author of the PITC caregiver guide on Routines and has contributed to other PITC guides as well. She has been writing and revising college textbooks and since the
1970’s, She has also written many articles, some of which have appeared in Young Children. She co-authored two articles with Initisar Shareef, one about their experience of doing PITC training for Exchange magazine and one about cultural perspectives on discipline for the NAEYC journal Young Children.
Gonzalez-Mena did an internship under Magda Gerber at the Children's Health Council in Palo Alto, California. More recently, she has been studying the Pikler approach to infant toddler care and has visited the Pikler Institute in Budapest several times as well as being part of a group that provides Pikler training in the USA. Infants have been an important part of Janet's life, having raised five children of her own and having studied the field of infant-toddler caregiving for the last thirty-seven years.
Gonzalez-Mena obtained a BA in English from University of California, Davis and an MA in human development from Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena.
Senta Greene is the founder and CEO of Full Circle Consulting Systems, Inc., an international consulting firm specializing in the science child and adolescent development, transformational leadership, community, and family engagement.
Greene celebrates a distinguished career of 28 years in education. She has a deep commitment to inspiring educators, school leaders, and policymakers to serve all children and their families with exceptional aptitude, excellence, and dedication. Greene is a frequent writer, speaker, and advisor on cultural humility, inclusive education, family engagement, transformational leadership, and reflective practice. She has testified before the United States Congress and has been recognized at the state, national, and international levels with awards for excellence in teaching and service. Her work has stimulated innovative curriculum designs in early childhood education, groundbreaking policy development in special education, and systems change in the United States, Austria, Finland, and Jamaica. Greene has served in the role of teacher, home visitor, early intervention specialist, inclusion specialist, college instructor, consultant, administrator and master trainer. She was also one of the original members of the Early Head Start National Think Tank and a former Disabilities and Infant Toddler Specialist for Region IX.
Greene earned a BA in child development from California State University, Northridge, and an MA in early childhood special education with a specialization in infant-toddler care and services from California State University, Northridge.
Deborah Greenwald joined WestEd's Center for Child and Family Studies in 2002 as a Senior Program Associate. She is currently the WestEd lead on the federal State Capacity Building Center Infant/Toddler Specialist Network, providing support and guidance to states, tribes, and territories for quality improvement in infant/toddler care settings. She directed the development of California's Infant/Toddler Learning and Development Program Guidelines and is a faculty member of the Program for Infant/Toddler Care Trainer Institutes.
Greenwald has been involved in developing training materials and online modules for the Office of Head Start and for the state of Ohio. She has revised several PITC publications, including the Trainer’s Manuals for Modules I and II.
Prior to working at WestEd, Greenwaldspent 15 years in infant/toddler group care. She also taught parent/infant guidance classes and was an infant/toddler trainer in a resource and referral agency.
Greenwald received a BA in child development from Humboldt State University and an MA in human development from Pacific Oaks College. She also holds certificates from the American Montessori Society and Resources for Infant Educarers.
Kadija Johnston is the Director of the Infant-Parent Program at the University of California, San Francisco. She has worked in the field of early childhood mental health since 1985, initially coordinating a therapeutic nursery school, and then as an infant-parent psychotherapist, a clinical home visitor and mental health consultant to childcare programs. Johnston developed the program’s Early Childhood Mental Health (ECMH) Consultation component in 1988. The trauma and equity informed, relationally focused approach now serves as a model for other organizations, locally, regionally, and nationally.
Since 1990, Johnston has been training and disseminating the ECMH consultation model and providing program development consultation to states, organizations, and individuals initiating ECMH consultation efforts.
Johnston writes and presents nationally on mental health and childcare issues. Her recent articles on these topics have appeared in the ZERO TO THREE and Infant Mental Health Journals. Johnston, with Charles Brinamen, co-authored a book on mental health consultation for which they were awarded the Irving B. Harris Book Award for contributions to early childhood scholarship.
Johnston obtained a BA in psychology and a MSW in social welfare from the University of California, Berkeley.
Julie Law is a Senior Research Associate in the Center for Child & Family Studies (CCFS) program at WestEd. Law has extensive background in early childhood education, teacher training, and professional development of the workforce. Currently as Infant Toddler Specialist for the State Capacity Building Center, a Service of the Office of Child Care, she builds relationships within state systems to develop and deliver innovative professional development and technical assistance to support quality infant/toddler initiatives. Law also contributes to a variety of other projects at WestEd, assisted in development of formative child assessments supporting curriculum planning and professional development for early care and education teachers, contributes to training development, provides review of professional development resources, and as a PITC Home Visiting Institute faculty, trains on early brain development and responsive relationships.
Prior to joining WestEd, Law was faculty in higher education for 15 years where she assisted in the design of a state-of-the-art children's center, lead restructuring of curriculum for the early childhood major, and developed an early education teacher training internship implementing practices of relationship-based care. Law has delivered professional trainings and presentations for the early childhood workforce on a variety of topics.
Law received her BS in family science/child development from Eastern Michigan University, MS in human development, and a PhD in human development from Ohio State University.
Christina Lopez Morgan
Christina Lopez Morgan retired in June 2010 from the faculty of De Anza College in Cupertino, California where she was a faculty member since 1988. She is currently Professor Emeritus teaching part time for the Child Development and Education Department.
Lopez Morgan has been active in the field of Early Childhood for over 50 years teaching children and adults, directing centers, participating in professional organizations, advocating for children and families, and consulting with programs. She has given numerous presentations on equity and social justice, leadership, infant toddler caregiving, program management, and adult supervision. Lopez Morgan has served on the PAEYC and CAEYC Boards in a variety of capacities and was elected to the NAEYC Governing Board from 2000-2004. She has also served on the NAEYC Commission for Accreditation of AA/AS two-year Early Childhood Programs from 2004-2009.
Lopez Morgan received a MA degree in human development with an emphasis in administration of programs from Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena.
Jennifer Marcella-Burdett is a Senior Research Associate with the Center for Child & Family Studies at WestEd. She co-directs an evaluation of the California Statewide Early Math Initiative. Additionally, she is a lead content developer for the National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching, and Learning, a project funded by Head Start to promote the implementation of research-based practices that lead to positive child outcomes in early childhood programs.
Prior to this role, Marcella-Burdett contributed to First 5 California’s Early Education Effectiveness Exchange (E4). She created professional development resources focusing on intentional interactions in teaching. She has also helped write a research article describing the psychometric properties of the Program for Infant/Toddler Care Program Assessment Rating Scale.
Before joining WestEd, Marcella-Burdett worked on research projects studying children’s early learning experiences within their homes and child care settings. She has published articles in Early Education and Development, Early Childhood Research Quarterly, and the Handbook of Research Methods in Early Childhood Education. She began working in the field as a teacher caring for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers in a variety of early childhood programs.
Marcella-Burdett received a BA in psychology with minors in Spanish and applied developmental psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles. She earned an MA and PhD in human development and psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Sandra Moore is a full-time faculty member and Department Chair of the Early Childhood Education Department at Contra Costa College.
Moore taught preschool for many years before beginning her work with children and families at the Regional Center of the East Bay, then embarked on a 10-year career in the field of social work. She eventually committed to her love of teaching at Contra Costa College. She considers herself a lifelong learner and works to immerse herself in learning environments related to diversity, equality, and social justice.
Moore received a BA in child development from California State University, Northridge and an MA in early childhood education with a child life certificate from Mills College in Oakland, California.
Patricia Mullings Franco
Patricia Mullings Franco has been active in the professional development of caregivers and teachers of young children through universities across the country for many years. A large portion of that work has been with Head Start and Early Head Start Programs.
Mullings Franco has also provided direct service to infants and toddlers and their families in group care and home settings with her favorite role being that of home visitor. A mission in her teaching is to help caregivers understand the meaning of early literacy and its foundations in the social and emotional development of infants and toddlers. She is passionate about infusing the richness of cultural diversity into early childhood programs.
Mullings Franco received a BA in elementary education from the University of Denver, Colorado and an MA in human development from Pacific Oaks College, Pasadena, California.
Alice Nakahata retired from a faculty position at City College of San Francisco. During her many years at that institution, she taught Early Childhood Education and Parent/Child Guidance classes. In addition, she served as grants coordinator, state preschool supervisor, and foster parent trainer. In recent years, she volunteered in teaching classes for Roots of Empathy, a national and international program for school aged children, designed to encourage sensitive relationships among children.
Nakahata's passion for working with families and young children was initially sparked by her early career as a physical therapist/childbirth educator. In that capacity, she served as a national trainer for many years.
She was also a participant of CAEYC Leadership in Diversity program and is a founding member of BANDTEC (Bay Area Network for Diversity Training). A continuing interest for her is how information on brain research is changing our understanding of young children and the impact of nurturing relationships on their development.
Nakahata received a BS in physical therapy from the University of California, San Francisco and an MA in developmental psychology from San Francisco State University.
Emily Newton is a Senior Research Associate with WestEd’s Center for Child & Family Studies. She conducts research and produces written products for projects on infant-toddler care, early childhood education, and formative assessment tools, including the Desired Results Developmental Profile (DRDP). She was a principal writer/editor on the Infant/Toddler Learning and Development Program Guidelines, 2nd Edition. In her previous role as a consultant with WestEd, she also contributed to multiple projects as a child development research expert.
Prior to joining WestEd, Newton was Assistant Professor of Psychology at Stevenson University in Maryland, and then at Dominican University of California, where she taught courses on statistics, writing in psychology, and child, adolescent, and adult development, and conducted research on parent-child relationships and young children’s psychological understanding. She has also taught at University of California, Davis (UC Davis) and California State University, Sacramento (CSU Sacramento). In addition, Newton was the infant lead teacher at the UC Davis, Early Childhood Lab School and a trainer for the UC Davis, Extension Center for Excellence in Child Development, where she trained family child care providers throughout California.
Her articles have been published in Child Development, Developmental Psychology, Infancy, and the ZERO TO THREE Journal.
Newton received a BA in English from UC Davis, an MA in child development from CSU Sacramento, and a PhD in developmental psychology from UC Davis.
Arlene Paxton is the Director of two major projects at WestEd, Center for Child & Family Studies, the Program for Infant/Toddler Care (PITC) Regional Support Network, and San Francisco Quality Connections, Quality Improvement System. Both projects aim to increase the capacity and improve the quality of early care and education services through the delivery of on-site training and technical assistance. As a member of the Partners for Quality Leadership Team, Paxton received the 2003 WestEd Paul D.Hood Award for Distinguished Contribution to the Profession.
Paxton collaborates with the California Department of Education Early Education and Support Division on the implementation of the PITC Regional Support Network network activities, and participates on statewide leadership teams and advisory groups. She has led initiatives in California and other states, working closely with representatives from Universities, First 5, Educare Learning Network, Departments of Education, and County Office Offices of Education to design training systems that support the professional development of early educators serving children birth to three and their families.
Prior to employment at WestEd, Paxton was responsible for the coordination and implementation of a city-wide early literacy project initiated by the Mayor’s office in Oakland, CA. She also has several years experience working in Head Start and Early Head Start programs in Oakland, CA.
Paxton received a BA in early childhood development from Humboldt State University and an MA in human development from Pacific Oaks College.
Sandy Petersen works as a private consultant with infant-toddler programs. Since 1999 until her retirement in 2016, she held a variety of positions at ZERO TO THREE, mostly with the Early Head Start National Resource Center.
Prior to joining ZERO TO THREE, Petersen was a coordinator of training and technical assistance for early childhood at the Colorado Department of Education, involved in policy work and directing the training project When Children Soar with the Wind.
Petersen's earlier work includes teaching college, doing infant-parent psychotherapy at the Infant-Parent Program in San Francisco, doing home-based early intervention, and teaching in and directing child care programs.
Sandy is the author of ZERO TO THREE’S Caring for Infants and Toddlers in Groups (2nd edition). She is co-author of three textbooks Infant and Toddler Development and Responsive Program Planning: A Relationship-based Approach, Endless Opportunities for Infant and Toddler Curriculum: A Relationship-based Approach, and The Young Child: Prenatal to Age 8.
Petersen received a BA in early childhood education from the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee, an MA in educational psychology from California State University, Northridge, and completed coursework for a joint doctoral program in early childhood education from University of California, Berkeley and San Francisco State University.
Eva Marie Shivers
Eva Marie Shivers is the executive director and founder of the Indigo Cultural Center in Phoenix, Arizona. Shivers is a nationally recognized researcher on issues related to early childhood education, culture, community, and provider-child relationships. Prior to relocating to Arizona and founding the Indigo Cultural Center, Shivers was a faculty member in the School of Education at the University of Pittsburgh.
Shivers has presented her child care research throughout the country and has numerous peer-reviewed publications. She also provides research consultation to federal, state, and local policy makers, especially around the issues of how to cultivate racially equitable early childhood systems. Shivers, a ZERO TO THREE Leadership Fellow (Class 2005), has served as faculty in the Harris Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Training Institute at Southwest Human Development since 2008.
Shivers received a BA in English literature from Arizona State University and a PhD from University of California, Los Angeles, Department of Education in psychological studies in education. Shivers also holds a law degree from Howard University School of Law.
Miriam Silverman is a clinical psychologist, Certified Substance Abuse Counselor and Infant-Family and Early Childhood Mental Health Reflective Practice Facilitator Mentor with the Infant- Parent Program at University of California, San Francisco. She provides infant-parent psychotherapy and child-parent psychotherapy to young children and their parents who are at risk for, or are currently experiencing, significant problems in their relationship. As a mental health consultant, she provides program consultation to teachers, supervisors and administrators of childcare centers, schools, and staff of residential substance abuse treatment centers for women and children. She participates in the training and supervision of interns in Infant-Parent Psychotherapy, Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation and Therapeutic Shadowing.
Before coming to the Infant-Parent Program, she worked with Ira Chasnoff at the Child Study Center in Chicago providing developmental assessments for prenatally exposed infants and young children as well as foreign adoptees. Silverman also has experience providing home-based developmental assessments for the zero-to-three program on the Big Island of Hawaii and clinical supervision and training to Early Head Start staff. In addition to her work at the Infant-Parent Program, Silverman is in private practice specializing in work with children with disorders of learning and communicating and their families.
Silverman obtained a BS in psychology from the University of Illinois, and a PsyD in clinical psychology from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology (APA).
Louis Torelli is the founder and director of Spaces for Children (SFC), a company specializing in classroom and facility design for early childhood programs. SFC also provides on-site training and workshops on designing group care environments.
Torelli has designed hundreds of classrooms and childcare facilities, both nationally and internationally. He is the co-author of Educating and Caring for Very Young Children: The Infant/Toddler Curriculum, published by Teachers College Press, and many articles on classroom and facility design.
Torelli received a BA in early childhood education and a MS in infant and toddler behavior and development from Wheelock College.
Alicia Tuesta has worked in the field of early childhood education since 1982. She currently serves as Senior Program Associate for WestEd's Program for Infant/Toddler Care (PITC).
As former Director of PITC Training, Tuesta led a wide range of events of national and international reach to support the efforts of educators, program leaders, and care teachers to develop and implement infant/toddler program policies that assure high quality standards of care. In addition, she managed the development of PITC materials in Spanish.
Prior to joining WestEd in 2001, Tuesta was a Program Coordinator for the Orfalea Family Children's Center at the University of California, Santa Barbara and taught early childhood education courses in higher education institutions.
Tuesta received an MEd with an emphasis on early childhood education from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a BA in psychology from the University of Madrid in Spain.
Judy Walker is a Regional Coordinator with WestEd's Program for Infant/Toddler Care Partners for Quality in Region III, Sacramento area.
She has worked in the early childhood field since 1979, holding a variety of positions: Nationally Accredited Family Child Care Provider, Master Teacher, Child Development Director, Mentor Teacher; Adjunct Faculty, and Sacramento First 5, Touchpoints Trainer.
Walker is committed to working with parents and teachers to provide optimal care for young children while away from their home environment. She has completed Faculty level Touchpoints Training, the Infant Mental Health Post Graduate Certificate Program, and has visited international early childhood programs such as Reggio Italy, Pistoia Italy, the Loczy/Pikler Institute, Budapest Hungary and Early Childhood programs in New Zealand.
Walker received an MA with a specialization in early childhood education from California State University, Sacramento and doctoral units from University of Massachusetts.
As a Senior Research Associate with WestEd's Center for Child & Family Studies (CCFS), Ann-Marie Wiese focuses on issues related to the education of young dual language learners.
Wiese has contributed to the development of preschool foundations in English language development and an accompanying curriculum framework. As part of the CCFS English Learning for Preschoolers Project, Wiese helped lead a pilot series of trainings that reached more than 2,000 preschool educators throughout California. Most recently, Wiese has served as a lead developer for WestEd's English Learners, Language, and Literacy in the Early Years (ELLLEY), a professional development effort for preschool practitioners who work with young bilingual children. Wiese previously worked for WestEd's Quality Teaching for English Learners project.
Prior to joining WestEd, she was an Assistant Professor of Education at the University of California at Santa Cruz, where she taught courses on first and second language acquisition, teaching methods for English language development, and bilingual literacy development and instruction.
In 2007, she participated in a working group called by the National Task Force for Hispanics in Early Childhood Education. She also serves as an active member of the San Mateo County Child Care Partnership Council.
Wiese received a PhD in education with an emphasis in language, literacy, and culture from the University of California, Berkeley.
Cheryl Williams-Jackson is a full-time professor and the program coordinator in the Human Services Department at Modesto Junior College in Modesto, California. She has taught and worked with infants and toddlers since 1996.
Williams-Jackson continues to work closely with teachers and as the Lead Consultant for WJ Developmental Consultants, where she provides support to programs that serve children and teenagers, including early care and education programs and mental health professionals. She currently works closely with organizations to integrate trauma-informed practices, stress reduction, and teacher self-care into the culture and policies of their programs. She has served as the Lead Trainer for the Bay Area ECE Equity Institute.
Williams-Jackson received an MS in educational psychology and completed graduate level course work in child development at San Jose State University. She received a doctorate in clinical psychology from the American School of Professional Psychology at Argosy Graduate University (APA). She has clinical training in early childhood mental health and family therapy.