NAREA Team

NAREA Staff & Board Members

Who We Are

NAREA’s mission and purpose are navigated by a strong team of dedicated and hard-working early childhood educators and advocates with deep roots in bringing the Reggio Emilia Approach to North America. Board members, particularly, represent the first wave of professionals who became engaged with Reggio Emilia’s experiences and philosophies in the early 1990s. By engaging and exchanging with Reggio Emilia leaders, educators, and citizens, they came to understand the inner working of Reggio Emilia’s municipal system of early education and sought to advance the innovation of Reggio Emilia in local contexts with local educators in North America.

NAREA’s staff, some full-time and some part-time, engage with members daily. We offer many resources such as conferences, discussion groups, books and audio-visual resources, the Innovations periodical, author talks, professional development partnerships, communication on a variety of platforms, membership benefits, and collaborations with national and international organizations in the field of education.

Compared to other paradigm-shifting approaches, such as Montessori or Waldorf that have existed for over 100 years, the presence of Reggio Emilia-inspired education in North America has been growing just in the last 30 years. Three decades is not long to discover, learn, interpret, and share, yet we see the urgency of a new approach so necessary.

 

NAREA Office

Meet Our Team

 

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Judy Kaminsky

 

Communications and Exhibitions Coordinator

For more than 20 years, Judy served as editor of Innovations and was, for 11 years, the NAREA exhibit project coordinator, managing The Wonder of Learning – The Hundred Languages of Children exhibition in collaboration with Reggio Children and host communities in its tour of North America. She has also supported the coordination of professional development initiatives for NAREA and Wayne State University (WSU), where she previously worked, first at the Merrill-Palmer Institute, where Innovations was first published, and then at WSU College of Education. Presently, Judy works in the areas of communications and exhibitions.

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Patty Randall

 

Professional Dev. and Social Media Coordinator

Patty has worked with children, families, and teachers as a classroom educator and currently is in a pedagogical role as director of educational practices at Peachtree Presbyterian Preschool in Atlanta, Georgia. She participates in the mission of Project Infinity, a five-school educational project based in Atlanta, Georgia and Greenville, South Carolina. As professional development and social media coordinator, Patty works to develop and organize NAREA’s professional learning initiatives and communicates them widely through various social media platforms.

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Thresa Grove

 

Executive Administrative Coordinator

Thresa serves as the executive administrative coordinator and participates in all aspects of the daily activities in the NAREA office. She enjoys working with NAREA members and those who are new to the Reggio Emilia Approach. She appreciates the way in which the Approach invests in the learning of children and adults.

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Emma Cooper

 

Art Director

Emma is an experienced graphic designer. She earned her BFA in graphic design and interactive media studies from Miami University in 2011, and her MA in graphic design and visual experience from SCAD in 2017. She is not an educator but loves working with children. Some of her fondest memories growing up include camp counseling, art studio assisting, and coaching girls soccer.

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Gabriela Garcia

 

Program Associate

Gabriela is a strong advocate for the rights of young children and is passionate about the Reggio Emilia Approach. She is a founding member of Project Infinity and was the executive director and pedagogista of the Grant Park Cooperative Preschool for 20 years, a school she co-founded with families in her community. Originally from Mendoza, Argentina, Gabriela is fluent in Spanish and English. As program associate, Gabriela supports professional development partnerships and other NAREA activities.

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Nora Thompson

 

Program Associate and Peer-Review Editor

Nora has enjoyed working in both general and special education public school settings in Michigan. She has been a preschool teacher, a director of a municipal childcare center, and a lead teacher/director in an inclusive early childhood center based on the Reggio Emilia Approach. She was a teacher educator at Michigan State University and is now a program associate at NAREA, supporting professional development partnerships and the peer-reviewed issue of Innovations.

 

Innovations in Early Education: The International Reggio Emilia Exchange

NAREA’s Journal

 

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Gigi Yu

 

Innovations Editor

Gigi Yu, PhD, is the spring and summer issue editor and associate editor for the peer-reviewed issue of Innovations. She is an assistant professor in art education at the University of New Mexico. The early learning programs of Reggio Emilia, Italy, and their deep respect for children’s artistic languages inspire her creative work and research. Her study of the Reggio Emilia Approach began in 1999 while working as a studio art coordinator for Chicago Commons, a community-based child development agency. In 2014, she was the project manager for The Wonder of Learning exhibition during its presence in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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Nora Thompson

 

Program Associate and Peer-Review Editor

Nora has enjoyed working in both general and special education public school settings in Michigan. She has been a preschool teacher, a director of a municipal childcare center, and a lead teacher/director in an inclusive early childhood center based on the Reggio Emilia Approach. She was a teacher educator at Michigan State University and is now a program associate at NAREA, supporting professional development partnerships and the peer-reviewed issue of Innovations.

 

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Judy Kaminsky

 

Communications and Exhibitions Coordinator

For more than 20 years, Judy served as editor of Innovations and was, for 11 years, the NAREA exhibit project coordinator, managing The Wonder of Learning – The Hundred Languages of Children exhibition in collaboration with Reggio Children and host communities in its tour of North America. She has also supported the coordination of professional development initiatives for NAREA and Wayne State University (WSU), where she previously worked, first at the Merrill-Palmer Institute, where Innovations was first published, and then at WSU College of Education. Presently, Judy works in the areas of communications and exhibitions.

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Karyn Callaghan

 

Consulting Editor

Karyn Callaghan is a NAREA board member, president of the Ontario Reggio Association, and a participant in the Reggio Children International Network. She is also a consulting editor for Innovations. Karyn has been a keynote speaker at conferences across North America and in Asia and Australia. She co-authored the book Documenting Children’s Meaning: Engaging in Design and Creativity with Children and Families with Carol Anne Wien and artist Jason Avery, and it was published by Davis Publications. Karyn was a professor in college and university ECE programs, learning with children, educators, and families for over 40 years.

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Jeanne Goldhaber

 

Consulting Editor

Jeanne Goldhaber, EdD, is an emerita faculty member in the early childhood program at the University of Vermont, where she worked closely with faculty, teachers, and students at Campus Children’s School. She is a consulting editor for Innovations and serves on the NAREA board. Jeanne is also a member of RIVET 2.0 (Reggio Inspired Vermont Early Education Team), a group of early childhood teachers and teacher-educators who have a long history of collaboration and friendship. She is co-author of Pinching, Poking and Pretending: Documenting Toddlers’ Explorations with Clay as well as articles and book chapters that reflect her interest in documentation and the role it plays in the promotion of reflective practice and professional development.

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Juana Reyes

 

Consulting Editor

Juana Reyes, EdD, is an assistant professor in early childhood education at Lewis University in Illinois. Her study of the Reggio Emilia Approach began in 1992 during her tenure at Chicago Commons, an organization rooted in the settlement house tradition. At Commons, she held the various roles including a family worker for Head Start, a program director, and director of research and professional development. She is a consulting editor of the NAREA journal, Innovations. She also continues to consult with early education programs adapting Reggio Emilia principles. She is particularly interested in approaches to professional development that promote critical thinking, dialogue, collaboration, and research.

NAREA Board Members

Meet Our Board

 

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Margie Cooper, Standing Chair

 

Georgia

As a founding board member of NAREA, Margie Cooper, PhD, brings her passion for the well-being of young children, families, educators, and communities to her roles. She has served education as an elementary and preschool educator, a preschool co-director, an adjunct professor, an author, and a volunteer in various projects and organizations. She first studied in Reggio Emilia in 1991 and has returned nearly annually. She is responsible for the NAREA office, serves as co-representative of NAREA within the Reggio Emilia International Network, and is a founding board member of Fondazione Reggio Children. Locally, she is founder and CEO of the not-for-profit Inspired Practices in Early Education through which Project Infinity was established, a longstanding collaboration among schools for young children inspired by Reggio Emilia.

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Barbara Carlson, Co-Chair

 

Massachusetts

Barbara Carlson is currently the director of Radcliffe Child Care Center (RCCC) in Cambridge, MA. Previously, Barbara was the assistant director of early childhood education for Franklin County Board of Developmental Disabilities (FCBDD) in Columbus, Ohio. Prior to these most recent roles, Barbara has been a classroom teacher and served in a variety of leadership positions in a variety of diverse settings, both public and non-profit. Barbara was a founding member of NAREA and currently serves as co-chair on our board of directors. Barbara is perhaps best known as an advocate for all children, based on the belief that every child has the right to be respected and valued as a unique individual, and she is dedicated to establishing inclusive early learning opportunities accessible to all children and families.

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Karyn Callaghan

 

Ontario

Karyn Callaghan, MEd, is a NAREA board member, president of the Ontario Reggio Association, and a participant in the Reggio Children International Network. She is also a consulting editor for Innovations. Karyn has been a keynote speaker at conferences across North America and in Asia and Australia. She co-authored the book Documenting Children’s Meaning: Engaging in Design and Creativity with Children and Families with Carol Anne Wien and artist Jason Avery, and it was published by Davis Publications. Karyn was a professor in college and university ECE programs, learning with children, educators, and families for over 40 years.

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David Fernie

 

Massachusetts

David Fernie, EdD, is a retired university professor of early childhood education. He spent over 20 years at Ohio State University and more recently was professor and dean of education at Wheelock College in Boston. He became aware of the Reggio Emilia Approach in the early 1980s, while working at Harvard Project Zero with Howard Gardner, Dennie Wolf, and George Forman, his doctoral advisor. Several years later, colleagues at Ohio State who had been to Reggio Emilia encouraged him to find out more about the Reggio Emilia Approach. His subsequent travel to Reggio Emilia had a profound impact on his thinking about teaching and exemplary early childhood education. His interest and work related to this Approach in North American contexts continues to this day, in part through activities as a board member of NAREA.

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Brenda Fyfe

 

Missouri

Brenda Fyfe, EdD, is dean and professor emeritus, School of Education at Webster University. She has authored multiple journal articles and book chapters on the Reggio Emilia Approach to early education. She serves on the boards of the North American Reggio Emilia Alliance, Education Deans for Justice and Equity, the Association for Constructivist Teaching, and the Ideal Learning Roundtable of the Trust for Learning. She is currently working in collaboration with a group of teacher-educators from the U.S. and Reggio Emilia, Italy, to research how Reggio-inspired education supports emergent bilingual and multilingual children and families.

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Lella Gandini

 

Massachusetts

Lella Gandini, EdD, is the Reggio Children liaison in the United States for dissemination of the Reggio Emilia Approach. She is an associate editor emeritus for Innovations in Early Education: The International Reggio Emilia Exchange, a NAREA board member, and a co-editor of The Hundred Languages of Children. Lella’s contributions to the advancement of understanding the Reggio Emilia Approach in North America are legion.

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Jeanne Goldhaber

 

Vermont

Jeanne Goldhaber, EdD, is an emerita faculty member in the early childhood program at the University of Vermont, where she worked closely with faculty, teachers, and students at Campus Children’s School. She is a consulting editor for Innovations and serves on the NAREA board. Jeanne is also a member of RIVET 2.0 (Reggio Inspired Vermont Early Education Team), a group of early childhood teachers and teacher-educators who have a long history of collaboration and friendship. She is co-author of Pinching, Poking and Pretending: Documenting Toddlers’ Explorations with Clay as well as articles and book chapters that reflect her interest in documentation and the role it plays in the promotion of reflective practice and professional development.

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Susan Redmond

 

South Carolina

Susan Redmond is the pedagogical coordinator at First Baptist Day School in Greenville, South Carolina, where, in 1986, she began her career working with children and families as a classroom teacher. Inspired by the infant-toddler centers and preschools of Reggio Emilia, Susan works to elevate the image of the child within her own community as well as through initiatives of Project Infinity, a collaborative research project based in Atlanta, Georgia, comprised of Reggio-inspired schools for young children. Susan studies frequently in Reggio Emilia, has supported her school in hosting The Wonder of Learning and Mosaic of Marks, Words, Material Exhibitions in Greenville, and serves as a member of the NAREA Board.

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