Helping children turn five ready to thrive!

2024 Partner Powered Conference - Social Emotional Learning

When: 4/25/2024 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
UNC Charlotte Marriott Hotel & Conference Center
9041 Robert D. Snyder Rd, Charlotte, NC 28262

Conference Details

Smart Start of Mecklenburg County is a partner-powered organization.
When we are connected, we build a stronger web of resilience for those we serve: families with young children.
We invite you to join us for a full day of relationship-building and development that will allow our community to thrive for years.
This full day of in-person training will feature multiple tracks focusing on Social and Emotional Development in Children.


UNC Charlotte Marriott Hotel & Conference Center
9041 Robert D. Snyder Rd, Charlotte, NC 28262


8:30 am - 9:00 am Doors Open, Check-in, Light Breakfast, Networking
9:00 am - 12:00 pm Session 1 
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm Lunch Provided, Plenary Speaker - Dr. Craig Bailey
1:00 pm - 4:00 pm Session 2 
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm Community Conversation -  Social and Emotional Development in Children

Community Conversation Panelists

Dr. Craig Bailey  Moderator 
Teressa Beam Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools
Smokie Brawley Child Care Resources Inc.
Liz Fleury Children's Development Services Agency
Dr. Devonya Govan-Hunt Black Child Development Institute, Carolinas
Dr. Mary-Margaret Kantor   Smart Smart of Mecklenburg County
Tiffani McCleave   Mecklenburg County DSS
Lunch, snacks, and beverages are provided. 


Sarah Sexton, Ed.D
* Ideal for professionals who work with families
Capacity-Building Family Support Practices (6 hours)
Caregiver coaching is a capacity-building interaction style that can help build sustainable change. Learn how to apply evidence-based coaching to family support interactions to increase focus on family-identified priorities, prioritize the family's role in the help-giving process, and improve family outcomes and well-being. The session includes a wealth of resources to support capacity-building conversations around high-frequency topics.
Kris Everhart, M.S., CCC-SLP
* Ideal for early care educators, directors, coaches
and TAs
Hot Topics
  AM: Receiving Early Intervention Services in Childcare Setting (3 hours)
  Childcare providers are experienced at individualizing interactions with infants and toddlers of all abilities. When a child has an Individualized Family Service Plan, the childcare provider and early intervention provider must work together to support the child's participation in the childcare setting. This session helps childcare providers organize their thoughts and ideas about their classroom values and priorities and communicate them to the early intervention provider in a way that builds collaboration and support the child's participation throughout the classroom routines.
  PM: Promoting Child Learning Through Everyday Activities & Routines in Childcare (3 hours)
  Skilled early childhood educators create learning activities for young children, but might overlook the value of using classroom routines as opportunities to promote child learning and development. This session helps participants rethink the structured and unstructured routines within the childcare day to focus on child interests and caregiver responsiveness throughout the day.

Laura Phipps 
* Ideal for leaders and managers

Staying Power (6 Hours) 
This session will provide training focused on leadership skills and tools to help you create a program that recruits and retains the right staff. The morning will focus on the building blocks of effective leadership and how to use these strategies to address some common challenges.  The afternoon will build on the morning learning, with a specific focus on HR recruitment and retention strategies and applying the learning from the whole day to realistic workplace scenarios.  

*Must select preferred speaker during the registration process



Craig S. Bailey, Ph.D. is the Director of Early Childhood Initiatives at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, Assistant Professor at the Child Study Center in the Yale School of Medicine, and co-developer of RULER. RULER is an evidence-based approach to social and emotional learning that has reached over 2 million students and 195,000 educators in 4,500 schools nationally and internationally. Dr. Bailey's research explores how children learn about emotion in early childhood classrooms with an emphasis on how educators support, promote, and teach children social and emotional skills. Before academia, Dr. Bailey was a preschool teacher, and currently, he's a proud father of three children.



Sarah Sexton, Ed.D. is the Director at the Family, Infant and Preschool Program (FIPP) in Morganton, North Carolina. Dr. Sexton has served in the field of early childhood education for almost 30 years as an early childhood teacher, preschool director, an Early Head Start director, and an early intervention administrator. Dr. Sexton teaches child development at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC, and early childhood coaching at Rowan University in Glassboro, NJ. Her expertise lies in professional development coaching, personnel induction, and developing implementation and fidelity tools and measures.  Dr. Sexton coordinates research and dissemination activities at FIPP and has published numerous articles on strategies and products for helping practitioners reach fidelity to evidence-based practices. She serves on the Division for Early Childhood (DEC) Personnel Preparation Committee and consults with programs and states here and abroad on capacity-building family support practice, and evidence-based professional development coaching.

Kris Everhart, M.S., CCC-SLP,  served as a musician in the United States Marine Corps for four years before entering the field of early childhood intervention. Ms. Everhart is currently pursuing an EdD in Educational Leadership with a concentration in Early Literacy. Ms. Everhart is a licensed speech-language pathologist who has served in a variety of early childhood settings and has worked with the Family, Infant and Preschool Program in Morganton, NC for more than ten years and currently serves as the Associate Director. Ms. Everhart conducts research and dissemination activities, oversees the model demonstration early intervention program, is an early intervention fidelity coach instructor, and contributes to the development of implementation tools and guides and publications. Ms. Everhart provides national and international professional development on natural learning environment practices, early intervention and childcare partnerships, caregiver coaching, and interest-based learning at conferences and in-depth training events. Ms. Everhart coordinates and facilitates the early intervention mentor coach network in North Carolina.

Laura Phipps, MSW, is a social worker who specializes in macro-focused work aimed at improving outcomes for child welfare and human service organizations. Laura started her career as a clinical social worker serving children and families in community mental health programs. Through this work Laura discovered a need for change at the agency, community, and state level. Her passion and talent for serving the community in a larger way led to many projects aimed at capacity building for mental health providers and educators. Laura's initial projects in this area involved developing new teacher training and behavior coaching programs in Washington and California. In North Carolina, Laura continued her focus on public education and mental health at the district and state levels, implementing and scaling-up new practices with fidelity. This led to successes and challenges that reinforced Laura's drive for systems change and for supporting and advocating for the well-being of those who serve families and children. As the Director of the Family and Children's Resource Program, Laura has led a wide variety of projects aimed at supporting the child welfare and human services workforce, using her skills to develop curricula, conduct trainings, facilitate town hall events, and coordinate community-wide collective impact initiatives.

Presented By


Transformation Advocates