Jamie Morrison Ward
Jamie is the founder and president of Curricula Concepts, Inc. Jamie has over 20 years of experience in early care and education in a variety of roles- Head Start teacher and center director, Arkansas Better Chance Program Administrator for the AR Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education, Adjunct Instructor for AR State University-Beebe and University of Central Arkansas. The main focus of her current work is building positive relationships between early educators and families using several evidence-based models.
- Created partnerships through Curricula Concepts, Inc. with University of AR-Early Care and Education Projects, UAMS Department of Family and Preventative Medicine/Division of Community Research, and the AR Head Start State Collaboration Office.
- Consultant for Zero To Three: National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families.
- Served as Past President and Policy Chair of the AR Early Childhood Association and is a current member of the following organizations/associations: Arkansas State Parent Advisory Council, AR Equity Leaders Action Network, AR State Professional Development Steering Committee, Southern Early Childhood Association, National Association of Early Childhood State Specialists, Delta Kappa Gamma.
Nicola Edge, PhD
Nikki Edge, PhD is a Professor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine. She conducts research on factors that place children at risk for poor social and emotional outcomes, and designs, implements and evaluates interventions for these high risk children and families. Her specific areas of focus include children and families impacted by maternal substance use, depression and traumatic events such as abuse or neglect and she has published widely in these areas.
- Nikki is founder and director of Project PLAY, a nationally recognized cutting-edge Early Childhood Mental Health consultation program. Her work has stimulated greater coordination between child welfare and early care and education systems in Arkansas and improved the quality and efficiency of services provided to children with risks.
- More than 70 publications in peer-reviewed journals on substance abuse treatment for women and children, children impacted by maternal substance use and trauma, early childhood mental health consultation, and parenting interventions.
- Director of REACH, a training program designed to help early child care providers learn to support children’s social and emotional development.
Ph.D., Educational Psychology and Research (University of Memphis)
Past-President, Education Committee Chair
Teri Patrick, M.Ed.
Teri has over 25 years of experience in the early childhood field as a teacher, special educator, center director, adult trainer, and in training development.
- Research Associate for UAMS Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, Community Research Group. Project manager and lead role in development, implementation, and evaluation of REACH, a teacher training curriculum with goal of enhancing capacity of early childhood providers to support children’s social-emotional development.
- Member of National Association for the Education of Young Children, NAEYC (founding board member and former president of local affiliate) and the Southern Early Childhood Association, SECA.
B.S.E. in Early Childhood Education; M.Ed., Early Childhood Special Education (University of Arkansas at Little Rock)
Erin Bright, M.Ed., MBA
Erin is the Executive Director of UAMS Kids First, Arkansas’s first pediatric day health care program and the state’s only academic program for children with special health care needs. Erin values the collaboration of programs across the state to improve the outcomes for young children and their families. She brings experience to the group in the areas of technology, management, finance, and program development and perspective as a foster and adoptive parent.
- Seventeen years of experience in early childhood as a teacher, developmental therapist, center director, adult trainer, and program administrator
- Surveyor for Commission for Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF)
B.S.E in Early Childhood Education; M.Ed in Workforce Development Education (University of Arkansas); MBA (Arkansas State University)
Members at Large
Bonnie Limbird, LCSW
Bonnie has worked with children and families for 35 years in a variety of settings including diagnostic, therapeutic, and administrative. As one of the founding members of AAIMH, she is a believer in the power of collaborative relationships.
- Former Program Manager for Social Work at KIDS FIRST, UAMS, a pediatric day health care program for children with special health care needs.
- Past president of NASW Arkansas and former regional representative to national NASW
- Serves on the Community Advisory Board of the Graduate School of Social Work at UALR
B.A. (Southern Arkansas University); M.S.W. (University of Arkansas at Little Rock)
Patty McCook, LCSW, DCSW – AAIMH Communication Committee Chair
- Patty is currently a social work supervisor at Arkansas Children’s Hospital and is the Growth and Development social worker.
- She has a small private practice in Little Rock and has done numerous presentations throughout the country.
- Her professional interests include adoption, foster care, infant mental health, attachment theory and nonorganic failure to thrive.
MSW from Yeshiva University in New York City and an MEd in Counseling from South Dakota State university.
Christopher Lloyd, Ph.D., LCSW
Chris brings substantial expertise with the research and practice literature in early childhood and child welfare together with expertise in advanced analytic and statistical methodology.
- Associate Professor, School of Social Work, University of Arkansas at Little Rock
- Project Director, Building Bridges to Better Beginnings project
- Expertise in child development, child welfare, and quantitative research
M.A., Clinical Social Work (University of Chicago); Ph.D., Social Work (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Nicholas Long, Ph.D.
Dr. Long has over 30 years of experience as a researcher, educator, and clinician in the area of parenting young children. He has been the recipient of over $10 million in federal grant funds for various projects involved in the areas of parenting and early childhood over his years of service.
- Professor of Pediatrics, Director of Pediatric Psychology, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) and Arkansas Children’s Hospital
- Serves as Director of the Center for Effective Parenting and the Arkansas Home Visiting Network Training Institute
- Authored over 80 publications and has co-authored/edited three books on parenting.
Ph.D., Clinical Child Psychology (University of Georgia)
Nichole Parks is the Associate Director of Programs with Leading for Children. During her 26 years in early education she’s taught preschool, served children and families as the Infant and Toddler Director of a NAEYC and state accredited program, and a Program Coordinator where she coordinated workshops, coaching, assessments and initiatives for early childhood program administrators. Her philosophy is that by nurturing the growth and development of program leaders, we create pathways to sustainable quality and develop programs deserving of our children. In addition to her work with Leading for Children, she serves on multiple state committees and is chair the NAEYC Council for the accreditation of early learning programs.
Bachelor of Professional Studies in Early Childhood Education from Arkansas Tech University, a national director’s credential, and several state specialist certifications.
Ann Patterson, MHSA
Ann has focused on program development and policy issues across the lifespan throughout her career. Her most personally rewarding experience has been work in the areas of children’s mental health and positive social emotional development for infants and toddlers.
- Young Child Wellness Expert, Project LAUNCH Arkansas
- Board of Trustees, University of the Ozarks
- Assistant Director of Children’s Services and Interim Director for Arkansas Department of Human Services, Division of Mental Health Services
- Director, Arkansas Head Start State Collaboration Office
- Project Director, Teaming for Early Childhood Inclusion, U of A Partners for Inclusive Communities
B.S. (University of the Ozarks); M.H.S.A. (University of Arkansas at Little Rock)
Brenda V. Zedlitz, BA, MSSW, LCSW
Brenda brings over seventeen years of leadership experience in the human services sector including child welfare, child care licensing, and comprehensive community healthcare with a focus on early childhood education in Head Start, Early Head Start, State Pre-K, and trauma-informed services for ages 0-5. A recognized leader at Local, State and National levels for best practices in early childhood education including community and family engagement and mental health, she is a past member of the governor-appointed Arkansas Early Childhood Commission. As Senior Director of Partner Success for Child Care Aware of America (CCAoA), a national membership-based nonprofit organization working to advance affordability, accessibility, development and learning of children in child care, Brenda is responsible to lead a cross-sectional team in building new and existing relationships to maximize utilization and engagement across the nation.
- Rogers Public Library Foundation Board of Directors
- Vestry of All Saints Episcopal Church in Bentonville
- Past field instructor for the University of Arkansas School of Social Work
- Past Director of Strategic Integration for Shine Early Learning in New York, NY
- 2009 – 2016 Head Start Program Director and then Director of Children’s Services for EOA of Washington County in Springdale, AR
B.A. (West Texas A&M University); M.S. (University of Texas Arlington)