Lori Adams,  Cindy Busche, and Jane Matthews

State Coordinators of  three national programs, Lori Adams (WILD),  Cindy Busche (WET), and Jane Matthews will present Nature Discovery.   The coordinators provide professional development workshops for Idaho's PreK-12th grade teachers and others who work with youth, equipping them with proven classroom and outdoor activities that help students engage with and learn about their environment.

Jane Matthews

Jane Matthews’ experience and expertise comes from being a classroom teacher for over 25 years.  She has a Master's Degree in Teaching through the Arts with an emphasis on Early Childhood.  Jane's involvement with Project WILD and Learning Tree runs deep, as well.  She has facilitated for both programs for ten years.  She is currently a docent for World Center for Birds of Prey. 

Christine Meyers-Zacharias

Chris Zacharias had the honor and privilege to work in a large center where the philosophy was based on the RIE approach and the emphasis focused on caregiving as the core of the curriculum. Emergent curriculum was the foundation when planning daily routines and activities. All of her experience has been working in family, church, center, corporate and private sector programs in the past 40 years. Chris received her Associate, Bachelors and Masters in Early Childhood from Boise State University and Syracuse University.

Susan Harris MacKay

Susan is the Director of Teaching and Learning at Portland Children's Museum. In that role she leads the efforts of Opal Beginning School, Opal Charter School and the Museum Center for Learning. Susan has a degree in English from Vassar College and a M.A.T. from Lewis and Clark College. Her teaching career began when she discovered the potential of writer's workshop to invite young  children make their voices public and imagine the power in that potential to change the world. Later, she discovered the concept of One Hundred Languages from Reggio Emilia, Italy, where adults were inviting the very youngest children to become citizens by making their ideas and experiences visible long before they could write.  These days, Susan writes and presents about what is being learned in Opal School classrooms as students and teachers use the hundred languages to express their powerful ideas and inspire the new possibilities for environments that support playful inquiry, creativity and the wonder of learning. Her presentations and publications are based in ongoing practice.     

Amanda Bowden

Amanda Bowden has worked as the Children's Librarian for Portneuf District Library in Chubbuck, Idaho, since September 2010. She earned a Bachelor's degree in Music Education and did her Masters work in literacy, both at Idaho State University. Amanda has a passion for education, especially when it comes to early literacy. Although teaching was always her goal, being a librarian has been a perfect career for Amanda. She loves working with children and supporting the community.

Michael Godfrey

Mike Godfrey is a professor of early childhood education and has worked in university laboratory preschools since the mid-1990's. After an exhaustive study of forest preschools, visiting several in Europe, and being mentored on how forest preschools actually work, started one at BYU-Idaho.

Tonya Sears

Tonya Sears has her B.S. in Child Family Consumer Studies from the University of Idaho, her M.S. in Family Consumer Sciences, and her M.Ed. in Special Education Curriculum and Instruction Program. She has been at Head Start since 2005 as an Early Childhood Teacher. She began her career in education because of her deep love of children and teaching the young. Her interest in special education stemmed from her own son having a disability. She believes that every child deserves the opportunity to be in the least restrictive inclusive classroom environment. 

Yvette Wyatt

Yvette Ward has been with North Idaho College for over 26 years - first as a parent, then Teacher/Home visitor, center supervisor and for the last 11 years as the Education and Disability Coordinator. Yvette earned her B.A. from the University of Idaho. As an army brat, she lived in Connecticut, California, Colorado and her mother's home country, Germany. Yvette's happy place is with her two beautiful and bright granddaughters, Adibug and Charlie D.   

Deborah Carter

Deborah Carter, Ph.D., BCBA-D, is a professor in Early and Special Education at Boise State University. Dr. Carter's areas of expertise include social-emotional development, positive behavior support and environmental education in early childhood. Her current research and projects focus on implementation of program-wide positive behavior support and integrating social-emotional and environmental education practices in early childhood.

Alison Giachetti

Alison Giachetti, M.Ed. is an early childhood educator with nearly a decade of distinct experience working with children ages birth through kindergarten. Alison is passionate about creating and implementing developmentally appropriate curriculum, differentiating instruction, and nurturing a warm and meaningful classroom environment that invites investigation and stimulates learning. Alison is a lead teacher in the infant/toddler looping program at Boise State Children's Center.

Roger Sherman

Roger Sherman is the Executive Director of the Idaho Children's Trust Fund which is the state affiliate of Prevent Child Abuse America. Since his hiring by the Trust Fund board in 2007, Roger has worked to extend the reach of child abuse prevention efforts through providing training, technical assistance and funding to organizations statewide and by convening prevention professionals to share best practices. He has been instrumental in developing statewide initiatives to end child sexual abuse and Shaken Baby Syndrome. Roger is on the board of the National Alliance of Children's Trust and Prevention Funds and was an adjunct instructor for Boise State's Department of Social Work for 6 years.

Cathie Johnson

Cathie Johnson, MS, is the Education Administrator at CCI Migrant and Seasonal Head Start and the Disabilities and Mental Health Manager for Idaho's ten centers. Cathie is the lead for the AAP Medical Home and ECE Learning Collaboration, a board member at AIM Early Idaho Infant Mental Health, served two appointed terms as the State Regional Early Childhood Committee Chair with the Infant Toddler Coordinating Council, is certified in Parenting Counts and is a Child Development Associate Developmental Specialist.

Yvette Mere-Cook

Yvette Mere-Cook, Ed.D., currently teaches within the Early and Special Education Departments at Boise State University and is the department liaison with the Children's Center. Dr. Mere-Cook worked as a school-based occupational therapist for over 15 years, primarily focusing on children with autism spectrum disorder. Her research interests focus on embedding sensory-based strategies within inclusive settings for children with and without disabilities.

Teresa Kross

Teresa Kross has a B.S. in Elementary Education, is currently attending graduate school and is a Quality Child Care Consultant for Region 4. She has taught early education courses at Edmonds Community College and worked in a variety of settings and roles over the past 30 years including Seattle District Trainer for 21 community centers, NAEYC Validator, Director of Early Childhood Education Programs (PCS Edventures), and was awarded TVAEYC Teacher of the Year 2006.

Stephanie Day

Stephanie Day is the founder of Roots Forest School in McCall, Idaho. She has a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education with a minor in reading. After teaching elementary school for many years, she began studying best practices in early childhood education when she started her own family. Her research led her to opening Roots Forest School in 2015 in an effort to educate the whole child and guide children in fostering a sense of place.