2019 WSELI – Presenters



Opening Keynote

Marcella Wilson, Ph.D.
CEO & Founder
Transition To Success®

Marcella Wilson, Ph.D., has more than 30 years of extensive experience in healthcare administration, not-for-profit management, behavioral health, criminal justice and public sector programming.

Her life’s work is dedicated to developing a national standard of care that changes the paradigm of understanding and response to the condition of poverty as a treatable condition, not a character flaw. This is the model for Transition to Success

As President/CEO for Matrix Human Services, 2006-2016, Dr. Wilson’s work and research focused on developing a national standard of care to treat the condition of poverty. Her work has been showcased on CBS Evening News and The New York Times and is recognized as a Clinton Global Initiative.

Dr. Wilson, a University of Michigan alumnus, holds degrees in psychology, sociology, a Master’s degree in Social Work and a Ph.D. in Health and Higher Education Administration. 

Learn more.


Special Guest

Charity Woods

R9HSA’s 2018 Legacy Scholarship Award Winner

Argosy University


Closing Keynote


Maureen Burns Vermette

Supervisory Program Specialist

Office of Head Start, Region 9

Prior to joining the federal team, Maureen served as the Regional Field Specialist and an Early Head Start/Head Start director in the region.  During her tenure as the Regional Field Specialist, she provided support in all areas related to School Readiness, as well as she working collaboratively to roll out Practice-Based Coaching across Region 9.  Maureen spent the first decade of her career as a pre-k-8 classroom teacher, inclusion specialist, and mentor.   She holds bachelor’s degree in child development and a master’s in teaching with a specialization in early childhood education.  Maureen lives in San Francisco with her husband and three imaginative children.

Special Guest

Dr. Marvene Lobato


Fowler Elementary School District

Dr. Lobato is the superintendent of the Fowler Elementary School District, where she is completing her eleventh year in the position.  She oversees a school district of approximately 5,000 students in preschool through grade eight.  The district has five elementary schools, two middle schools and a child care center that services infants, toddlers and preschool children. 

She is a strong advocate for students to receive optimal learning experiences that will enhance their interest in exploring and learning.  Dr. Lobato has been the voice for her students and families at the local and state level.  She is determined to ensure that every student is provided with opportunities that highlight their areas of strength and provide resources to address their areas of challenge.  Throughout the school year, parents are provided with training sessions to enhance their confidence in taking an active role in their children’s education; and to raise their expectations for their children and the school they attend. 


Management Systems Track

Kristen Hayes, MPM

Management Consultant

Kristen is a management consultant for Head Start administrators. Drawing upon her years of experience working as policy analyst and program specialist for the federal government, she assists Head Start administrators in securing grants and managing programs to achieve impact. Her services include:

  • Consultation with Head Start/Early Head Start agencies on projects including organizational culture, impact measurement, and continuous quality improvement.
  • Planning and writing State and Federal competitive grants to support children and families.
  • Conducting organizational assessments to increase the efficiency in the use of Head Start funding.

Learn more.


Family Self Sufficiency

Tuesday February 12, 2019

Beyond Polite – Cultural Competence for Families

Presented by Larry Campbell – Catholic Charities


Transition to Success

Presented by Dr. Marcella Wilson and Debra Spring – Transition To Success


Workforce Development Panel

Lead Panelist: Eve Del Real – Maricopa County

Co-Panelists: Lisa Carr and William Walker – SETA Head Start and Monica De Vera –  Contra Costa County Human Services Department. 


Wednesday February 13, 2019

Advancing the Conversation on Healthy Home Environments

Presented by Jacquelyn Menghrajani and Mariela Lopez – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency


An Interactive Family Engagement Approach for Better Child Outcomes

Presented by Tori Bleher – Learning Genie


Head Start and Community College Partnerships

Presenters: Rene Manning – Rio Salado College, Eve Del Real – Maricopa County Human Services, and Amy Corriveau – City of Phoenix


Behavior Management Track

John Gunnarson

Consultant, Early Care and Education

Johnis a highly regarded expert on CLASS, environments, dual-language learners and early literacy. He also provides consultation on projects and studies for Head Start teams. His services include:

  • Short-term, one-day seminars and long-term professional development programs that include training, coaching and hands-on technical assistance in the classroom.
  • CLASS training focused on how teachers implement CLASS in their curriculum and in conversations with children.

Learn more.

The Vision

All children, regardless of their circumstance at birth, deserve a full and prosperous life.

The Mission

  • Support high-impact Head Start programs for children and adults by creating opportunities for collaboration, networking and information sharing.
  • Unite with state and national Head Start organizations to ensure regulatory and budget outcomes that support our work.
  • Champion the message that every child and family who succeeds makes their community a better place.

Contact Us

1225 8th Street, Suite 342
Sacramento, CA 95814



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