Courses in the Bachelor of Arts in Early Care & Education program are taught by top faculty and instructors from the UW College of Education, along with professionals in the field. They bring deep experience as educators and researchers to the program, giving you the benefit of their expert knowledge and practical insight.

Program Faculty

Lynn Dietrich – Program Director

Lynn Dietrich is a senior lecturer and program director for the online Early Care & Education program. She began her career in early childhood education as a preschool teacher at the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center in Washington, D.C. She has since worked in the field as an accreditation consultant, program evaluator, trainer, project director, presenter, curricula author and university professor. Most recently, Dietrich was a member of the early childhood faculty at the University of Mississippi, where she contributed to the development of the undergraduate endorsement and M.Ed. programs in early childhood education. While serving as the director of the Early Childhood Institute at Mississippi State University, she supervised a number of grant-funded projects, including the development of the Mississippi Early Learning Guidelines for Classrooms Serving Three- and Four-Year-Old Children for the Mississippi Department of Education. Dietrich earned her Ph.D. in early childhood education from the University of Maryland, College Park.

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Gail Joseph – Founder

Gail Joseph is an associate professor of educational psychology and founder of the online Early Care & Education program (originally known as Early Childhood & Family Studies). She has extensive experience as a Head Start teacher, teacher trainer, mental health specialist and national consultant in promoting evidence-based, social-emotional practices with young children. Joseph is the principal investigator on two projects: the Head Start Center for Inclusion and the Childcare Quality & Early Learning Center for Research and Professional Development. She has presented at more than 100 conferences and workshops devoted to social-emotional practices and authored numerous articles and books related to young children's social, emotional and behavioral health. Joseph holds a Ph.D. in early childhood special education from the University of Washington.

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Carolyn Brennan

Carolyn Brennan is the director of professional development in coaching and community support for the Childcare Quality & Early Learning Center for Research and Professional Development. She has been working to improve quality in early learning programs since she began her career as a toddler room teacher. Brennan has worked on numerous aspects of the statewide Quality Rating and Improvement System, including program ratings, system evaluation and coaching. She also works to promote healthy relationships in child care settings and is certified in infant mental health.

Colleen Dillon

Colleen Dillon is a clinical associate professor in the UW School of Nursing and the director of training at the Barnard Center for Infant Mental Health & Development. Informed by a life course approach, Dillon's work has focused on vulnerable individuals and families during developmental transitions. She worked for many years as a research fellow and associate member of the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Transitions to Adulthood. Her current interests include developing professional training opportunities in the field of early childhood across disciplines and communities. She received her master's and doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

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Nancy Hertzog

Nancy Hertzog is a professor of educational psychology and the director of the Halbert and Nancy Robinson Center for Young Scholars. She has an extensive background in gifted education and expertise on curriculum development. From 1995 to 2010, she taught in the Department of Special Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she directed the University Primary School. Her principal area of interest relates to ways that teachers engage and challenge all students. She earned her doctorate in special education from the University of Illinois.

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Miriam Hirschstein

Miriam Hirschstein is an affiliate assistant professional at the UW School of Nursing and a senior research scientist and director of evaluation at the Barnard Center for Infant Mental Health and Development. Her work focuses on the implementation of school- and care-based prevention and intervention efforts, especially related to young children's social-emotional development. She currently directs an evaluation partnership with Educare Early Learning Center, a model of center-based early childhood education. Hirschstein received her master's and doctorate in educational psychology and school psychology from the University of Washington.

Jodi Burrus Newman

Jodi Burrus Newman is a senior lecturer in educational psychology. She also consults with schools on program evaluation projects. Her research interests focus on social-emotional development, aggressive behavior and bullying. She has worked in a variety of learning contexts, including middle school, elementary school and child care settings. Her past work includes collaboration on a project examining factors linked to undergraduate academic engagement. Newman has also presented her research at numerous conferences and has been published in books and journals. She earned her Ph.D. in educational psychology from the University of Washington.

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Miriam Packard

Miriam Packard is a curriculum specialist and instructor in the Early Care & Education program. She previously served as the higher education project coordinator for the National Center on Quality Teaching and Learning after years of experience as a teacher in infant early learning, Head Start preschool, and kindergarten, as well as a curriculum coordinator, overseeing preschool and early elementary curricular teacher development and implementation. Her work focuses on the development, implementation and evaluation of curricular preparation of early childhood educators, strengths-based approaches to serving culturally and linguistically diverse children and families and kindergarten readiness. Packard has developed and taught courses in the areas of cross-cultural childhood studies, child development, cultural competence, early childhood professionalism and leadership, and service learning. She holds a master’s degree from the University of Washington.

Terri Wardrop

Terri Wardrop is a curriculum specialist and writer for the National Center on Quality Teaching and Learning, where she recently developed the Beginning Teacher Series, a computer-based learning tool designed for those new to Head Start. Wardrop has more than a decade of early childhood education experience through the Head Start program, serving as a teacher, family educator, disabilities coordinator and child care director. She also worked as a video producer and team leader for the Committee for Children's Second Step program. Wardrop earned a master's in educational psychology and a certificate in e-learning design and development from the University of Washington.


Ruth Ayodeji

Ruth Ayodeji is the experiential learning coordinator for the Early Care & Education program and supports students in their required service learning. Her ECE journey started with her children attending Head Start 16 years ago. From 2006 to 2018, she worked at Head Start Lead Teacher and Family Services. She also spent the last 2 years as Education Manager in the Head Start and ECEAP program, working with families, coaches, teachers, and children as a coach, mentor, support staff, and community liaison. She enjoys working with children, families, and community as a whole, connecting families to resources and creating a smooth transition between community and clients. Building relationships with the Early Childhood community is her pride.

Tabitha Bronsema

Tabitha Bronsema is the admission and outreach adviser for undergraduate programs in the UW College of Education. She works with prospective Early Care & Education students to help guide them through the application process. She is a first generation college student and University of Washington alumni who is passionate about working with prospective students as they explore their educational path.

Jenni Campbell

Jenni Campbell is the assistant director of academic and student services for the Early Care & Education program and serves as the primary academic adviser for ECE students. In her role as an adviser and teacher, she has worked to increase access to educational opportunities and support academic success for all students. Jenni earned her bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Puget Sound.

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