Julie M. Nicholson, Ph.D.
Professor of Practice
Dr. Julie Nicholson, Ph.D. is Professor of Practice in the School of Education at Mills College where she has been a faculty member since 2005 and directed several innovative programs including the Leadership Program in Early Childhood, a Joint MBA/MA Educational Leadership Program and the Center for Play Research. Nicholson is also Co-Founder of the Center for Equity in Early Childhood Education a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting transformative change to improve racial equity and intersectional justice for young children and families and the early childhood workforce dedicated to serving them. She is the author of 12 books and many peer reviewed articles addressing social justice and equity in early childhood. Dr. Nicholson has many years of experience participating in policy committees, serving on non-profit Boards and leading professional development across the US and internationally. She taught young children for ten years in preschool and kindergarten classrooms.
Child Life Specialist, Director of Child Life
Jonathan has worked with children and families since he was 16-years-old taking care of children in an after-school enrichment program. From summer camps to pediatric intensive care units and therapy rooms, his work with children has always followed the same basic principle: Children have rich inner lives and they deserve to be listened to, as well as treated with dignity and respect. He sees play as a child’s natural language in which they share with the world their feelings and needs. He utilizes play interventions to help children understand their body, illness, medical procedures, and even death. Along with working with hospitalized children as a Child Life Specialist he also is the Director of the Mills College Child Life Graduate Program. He earned Graduate degrees in Education and Counseling Psychology from Mills College and The Wright Institute.
Director of Quality, Enhancement and Professional Development
Oakland Unified School District
Dr. LaWanda Wesley serves as Oakland Unified School District’s Director of Quality Enhancement and Professional Development of Early Education. She supports a cadre of 200-plus teachers and a dynamic early leadership team. Dr. Wesley co-directed a state leadership fellowship titled the California Consortium for Equity in Early Childhood Education Fellowship and is the Co-Founder and Co-Director for the Center for Equity in Early Childhood Education. Wesley is the co-author of the second book in the trauma series titled Culturally Responsive Self-Care for Early Childhood Educators and also trains on trauma responsive practices. She is a highly experienced professional with over 20 years of successful administration of state funded projects/programs for the California Department of Education, the California Department of Social Services, Child Action, Inc., the California Association for the Education of Young Children, and Child Development, Inc. She is dedicated to changing the lives of all children, especially those from communities of color, poverty, and furthest reach from opportunity.
Coauthor of Purposeful Play
Kristine Mraz is a teacher, writer, pun nerd and consultant. Kristi currently works as an instructional coach in grades PK-2. She was previously an elementary school teacher, as well as a staff developer with the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project (and a co-author on the First Grade Writing Units of Study) In addition to writing and teaching, she consults in schools across the country and as far away as Taiwan. She primarily supports teachers in early literacy, play, and inquiry based learning. On the off chance she has free time, you’ll find Kristi reading on a couch in Brooklyn with her dog, her husband, and baby Harry. You can follow all of her adventures on twitter @MrazKristine