Home » 2017 NAEYC Public Policy Forum- Indiana Team

2017 NAEYC Public Policy Forum- Indiana Team

The NAEYC 2017 Public Policy Forum took place in Washington, D.C. February 26th-28th, 2017. The forum convenes affiliate staff and members to both learn about, and discuss the issues and legislation that are of critical importance to early learning this year. Forum participants will:

  • Get the tools resources, and experiences you need to become an effective early childhood education advocate
  • Interact with peers who have experience in public policy and expand your network of support
  • Meet with your legislators and start building long-lasting relations with their offices

Meet the Team:

The following Indiana AEYC Members were selected to accompany Indiana AEYC Executive Director Dianna Wallace and represent Indiana at the 2017 NAEYC Public Policy Forum-special thanks to our amazing team for representing Indiana!

Nick Jaworski:

Nick Jaworski is a passionate child care advocate, educator, and leader. He has traveled extensively, residing in countries as diverse as the Czech Republic, Turkey, Vietnam, and China. Nick is an experienced speaker and has spoken at conferences all around the world. He has also managed several educational startups at home and abroad, including leading Disney’s largest school in its entry into the Chinese market.

Nick was named one of the top 250 social media marketers in the US and now owns and operates a digital marketing agency, Circle Social Inc., one of the first three Benefit Corporations to be set up in Indiana. In addition, he is a Certified Diversity Executive and works to support diversity and inclusion initiatives here in Indiana. When he’s not on social media, he’s spending time with his favorite person in the world – his daughter.


Kelly Dawn Jones:

Kelly Dawn Jones has chosen to dedicate the rest of her life to the advancement of Early Education Initiatives specifically in workforce development.  She has been working for the last 5 years to build a pipeline to Properly Paid Full-Time Faculty positions in high quality programs in Indiana.  Her training and development efforts are performed in a high quality in-home early education facility that is sorely underfunded based on the current market for high quality in-home educational programming accepting vouchers and grants.  Our workforce development focuses on the very specific, and unique talent it takes to work with young children, and the tenacity to work through the changes being implemented Nationally to produce a society of critical thinkers, problem solvers, and people lovers.

Kelly Dawn holds a Bachelor Degree from Ball State University in Theater and Dance, and is working to complete her Associate Degree in Early Education at Ivy Tech Community College.  Her experiences include 7 years of Dance Education, 3 years as a private Nanny, and 1 year as an Education Coordinator at City Treehouse in New York City, as well as 7 years navigating the potholes, pitfalls, and challenges of providing high quality in-home early learning in a low-income community.  Her ultimate goal is to rehab home properties in the city’s worst communities and turn them into L.O.V.E.’s Learning Opportunities Valuing Education.  Kelly wants to go where no one else is willing to go to help the most needy children and families.


Julia Kolouch:

Julia Kolouch is the Director of Early Care and Education at Bauer Family Resources which provides Early Head Start and Head Start programming for Tippecanoe, Carroll, Clinton, and White counties. While a native of Indiana and graduate of Purdue’s College of Education, Julia has had the good fortune to have lived and worked in Boston where she taught kindergarten and obtained her master’s degree from Lesley University. Prior to starting her own consulting business, she worked for Tufts University’s Center for Applied Child Development as lead Early Childhood consultant.

Julia’s professional journey was greatly enhanced when her family moved to San Diego, where she became the Manager of Training for Learning Care Group’s west division. This experience provided her with the opportunity to author many training interventions and support centers seeking accreditation while racking up numerous frequent flyer miles as she assessed program needs and ensured implementation of best practices.

Julia has presented workshops and seminars across the nation on topics ranging from Brain-Friendly Training Techniques, Emerging Literacy, Classroom Environments, and Developmental Practices. Alongside dedicated professionals from around the globe, Julia was recognized as an Exceptional Master Leader by Child Care Exchange in 2016.


Rita Parsons:

Rita Parsons currently serves as Principal of Holy Spirit School in Indianapolis- a 6 week old- 4 year old childcare and Pre School through 8th grade  Rita has served as Principal of Holy Spirit School since 2001. Rita previously served as Principal of St. Matthew School from 1992-1999.

Rita also served as a trainer for the Early Prevention of School Failure Program in Peotone, Illinois.  She trained schools across the state of Indiana to identify student’s developmental age compared to their chronological age in language, auditory, vocabulary, fine and gross motor skills.   Rita has also traveled to school districts in New Jersey, New York, Iowa, Michigan and Ohio.

Rita has presented at IAEYC Conferences, National Catholic Education Conferences, and the Indiana Non Public Conferences.  Presentations have covered Early Learners, English Language Learners, Students with Special Needs, Preparing Leaders in our Schools and Teacher Development.


Benjamin Planton:

The Early Childhood Profession found Ben when he moved to Indiana and the two of them have been steadily helping each other grow and develop. Ben has worked as an Infant Toddler Teacher, an Assistant Center Director, and is currently the Infant Toddler Outcome Specialist for Early Learning Indiana. He has been actively involved with Indiana AEYC over the years as a Chapter President and as Public Policy Chair and he currently serves on the NAEYC Affiliate Advisory Council.



Linda R. Taylor, IN AEYC Public Policy Chair:

Linda is very excited to be a member of the Indiana team attending the NAEYC Public Policy Forum in February.  This will be her third time to participate, and she is eager to share this experience with the new team members during this vitally important time of transition in our nation’s political landscape!  Linda’s day job is Department Chair for the School of Education (Early Childhood and K-6) at Ivy Tech Community College North Central (South Bend area).  Linda loves teaching college students and working with our terrific faculty to provide a solid foundation to her students in best educational practices for children from birth through grade 6.

Her prior work includes working with abused/neglected children as a licensed child and family therapist for 9 years, the director for 10 years of two child development centers for at-risk children ages 0-7 years, a parent educator, teacher trainer, and teacher of many children ages 3-Kindergarten, mostly.  Linda’s favorite current role is proud grandma of little Jack, who celebrated his first birthday last Thanksgiving.  It is for him and all the other children that she is eager to advocate for the best policies for young children and their families.


Angie Vickery:

Angie has been married to David Vickery for almost 25 years and they have two wonderful boys;  Ben, 19 and a sophomore attending Ball State University and Andy, 16 and a sophomore at Blue River Valley Jr. Sr High School. Angie feels fortunate to have such a wonderful family.

Angie received her Bachelors of Science at Ball State University (BSU) in Elementary Education and took a job right out of college teaching Head Start. Angie learned quickly that this was an extremely hard job and she didn’t know enough to be successful in this position. Angie went back to BSU and obtained a license to teach Early Childhood Special Education and finished her Masters of Arts in Education. After teaching Head Start for 4 years, Angie took another position teaching Early Childhood Special Education in a public school setting. After that she went on to teach high school special education . At that time in her life, Angie was ready to make a difference in children’s lives by setting up quality programs for children and families.  She took a position as Director of Special Services and preschool at a small rural school system.  After 7 years as Director of Special Services in a smaller corporation, and obtaining her Director of Exceptional Needs license,  she came to Anderson Community Schools. Angie has been at Anderson Community Schools for 9 years- spending two years as Asst. Director of Special Services and 7 years as Director of Special Services.


When I started out my Family Child Care Home, people were talking a lot about quality child care.  I asked myself, what is quality child care?  By obtaining a scholarship through T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® INDIANA project at the Indiana Association for the Education of Young Children and college classes, I learned what quality care and education is and how to implement it.  I feel with the education I’ve gotten, I can help children be more productive citizens in the future.
8% Increase annually for the last four years.
Through the Indiana Accreditation Project, Indiana AEYC provides financial and technical support to over 900 early care and education and school age facilities across the state.

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