The Aim4Excellence™ Team

Your Aim4Excellence™ team includes the lead authors who have written the content of the nine modules and the production staff who are responsible for the design and delivery of the online modules.

Lead Authors

Kay Albrecht, PhD, is President of Innovations in Early Childhood Education in Houston, Texas where she specializes in writing, management consultation, and early childhood professional development. Teaching in some capacity has been the bulk of Kay’s life work, beginning with her first assignment as a preschool teacher in a laboratory school setting. She has been the director of a nationally accredited early childhood program and on the faculty at four universities. Kay is the academic editor of Exchange magazine and author of Exchange’s Out of the Box Early Childhood Training Kits. She also wrote The Right Fit: Recruiting, Selecting, and Orienting Staff and co-authored the Innovations series of curriculum, child development, and training materials.

Paula Jorde Bloom, PhD, holds a joint appointment as Michael W. Louis Chair of the McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership and Professor of Early Childhood Education at National-Louis University. As one of the country’s leading experts on early childhood leadership and program management issues, Paula is a frequent keynote speaker at state, national, and international conferences and consultant to professional organizations and state agencies. She has taught preschool and kindergarten, designed and directed a child care center, and served as administrator of a campus laboratory school. Paula is the author of several widely read books including Avoiding Burnout, Blueprint for Action, Making the Most of Meetings, From the Inside Out, Workshop Essentials, and Circle of Influence.

Douglas Clark, EdD, has worked in early childhood education as a center director, consultant, researcher, university faculty member, and higher education administrator. As associate dean of the College of Adult and Professional Studies, he is head of the School of Business and Leadership at Indiana Wesleyan University. A frequent conference presenter, Douglas has contributed a number of articles to professional publications, including A Long-Awaited Conversation: Dialogue to Bridge the High-Tech/High-Touch Gap in Early Childhood Workforce Preparation and Professional Development, a national report about the use of technology for training early childhood practitioners. Douglas earned a doctorate in educational technology from Pepperdine University and his scholarly interests involve the uses of emerging technology to support teaching and learning.

Chip Donohue, PhD, is the Dean or Distance Learning and Continuing Educationat at the Erikson Institute. At Erikson he is developing online programs including a M.Ed. for experienced teachers, certificate programs, and professional development offerings. Chip also directs the TEC Center at Erikson which helps early childhood educators make informed decisions about the appropriate use of technology in the classroom and other early childhood settings. He is internationally recognized as a leader in the innovative use of technology to increase access, enhance learning, and improve teaching practices. Chip is a Fellow of the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children's Media. With Selena Fox of the New Zealand Tertiary College, he has co-hosted eTeaching events at World Forums in New Zealand, Mexico, Canada, Malaysia, and Northern Ireland, and has developed the ecelearn learning management system for early childhood professionals.

Teri N. Talan, EdD, JD, is Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education and Director of Research and Public Policy for the McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership at National Louis University. She represents the Center in public policy forums and promotes action by state and national policymakers on early childhood workforce development and program administration issues. Previously, Teri was the executive director of a NAEYC-accredited early childhood program. She is co-author of the Program Administration Scale (PAS), the Business Administration Scale for Family Child Care (BAS), and Who’s Caring for the Kids? The Status of the Early Childhood Workforce in Illinois.

Production Staff

Paula Jorde Bloom is Project Director and oversees the Aim4Excellence™ initiative including funding, marketing, content development, evaluation, staffing, and university relations.

Kara Lehnhardt is Director of Technology Initiatives at the McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership. She coordinates all facets of the delivery of the Aim4Excellence™ online modules including website development, participant registration, and technical assistance. She also serves as lead instructor for the modules. 

Kathryn Graver is the Aim4Excellence™ Project Supervisor at McCormick Center. She oversees participant support, promotes the program at state and national conferences, supports collaborative efforts in regions implementing the credential, and oversees the scoring faculty.

Jonathan Wells and Patrick Small are Lead Programmers and Instructional Designers for the Aim4Excellence™ modules, overseeing the Web development of the nine modules and integration of multimedia and design elements within the site architecture.

Tanya Woods serves as Host Instructor for the nine Aim4Excellence™ modules guiding participants through the content, readings, and assignments for successful completion of their director credential. 

Support Team

The following staff provide technical assistance and support to Aim4Excellence™ participants:

Giovanni Arroyo, Media Specialist
Lorena Rodriguez, Administrative Technology Associate
Jeanette DeMullet, Administrative Technology Associate

Special Thanks To

Many other individuals have contributed in small and big ways to the design, development, and delivery of Aim4Excellence™. 

  • The J. B. and M. K. Pritzker Family Foundation provided the initial funding for the development of the online management modules.

  • The Pritzker Early Childhood Foundation for funding dissemination efforts of Aim4Excellence.

  • Chip Donohue and Douglas Clark helped conceptualize the design and online delivery template of the initiative.

  • Jill Bella, Linda Butkovich, Eileen Eisenberg, Lila Goldston, Donna Jonas, Robyn Kelton, Tarah Kendall, Martha Owens, Debbie Patterman, Paula Steffen, and Debra Trude-Suter assisted with the review of the module content.

  • The Illinois Institute of Art, Brella Productions, Ryan Jorgensen, and Andy Spencer assisted with video production.

  • The National Association for the Education of Young Children, Exchange Press, Harvest Resources, Videatives, Inc., Community Playthings, CRM Films, the Center for Early Childhood Professional Development at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, and
    Pre-K Now provided professional resources included in the modules.
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