Center on Early Learning & Youth Development
Center on Early Learning and Youth Development (CELYD) works to improve the quality of care and education available to all children and their families in order to promote optimal development and full inclusion in their family, community and society through:
- Research, development and demonstration of effective practices and innovative models of care and education.
- Professional development, technical assistance and dissemination of effective practices and innovative models of service to practitioners in the fields of Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Special Education.
- Systems change and policy development in Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Special Education that creates access to quality service and promotes positive outcomes for young children and families at the local, state and national level.
Oregon's Spark is a program that raises the quality and consistency of child care and early learning programs across the state. The Quality Rating System recognizes, rewards and builds on what early learning and development programs are already doing well. It helps ensure children in Spark programs are ready for kindergarten by connecting programs and providers with free tools, financial incentives and professional advice that they can put into practice with confidence.
Central Coordination of Child Care Resource and Referral provides leadership and technical assistance for 13 CCR&R programs serving all counties in Oregon. Our mission includes supporting families and early childhood child care and education providers in meaningful and responsive ways.
One of the most important decisions your family will ever make is choosing child care. The Finding Quality Child Care: A Guide for Oregon's Families provides information, resources, and guidance to help you to make the best decision when choosing a child care program that meets the needs of your family.
Tom UdellCenter Director
Center Director, Center on Early Learning
Tom Udell is the Director of TRI's Center on Early Learning. He has over 25 years of experience in early childhood education and early childhood special education. He has worked on multiple state and federal projects in a variety of capacities including serving as director, providing coordination, professional development, technical assistance, and designing and developing curriculum.
Early Learning Specialist
Hannah Anonson is the Early Learning Specialist at TRI. She earned her degree at Western Oregon University in Geography and Communications. Hannah's primary expertise in Oregon's Quality Rating and Improvement System and Central Coordination of Child Care Resource and Referral. Hannah has worked in the field of Early Education for 5 years. When not working Hannah enjoys attending college football games.
Dana Bleakney-Huebsch is a Project Coordinator/Supervisor for the Center on Early Learning & Youth Development. In this position, she oversees daily operations of Spark, Oregon's Quality Rating and Improvement System and works directly with partners at the Early Learning Division. Before joining The Research Institute, Dana developed a rich understanding of the early childhood care and education field from a variety of experiences. She earned her Master’s degree in Child Development from California State University, San Bernardino, in 2012. While there, she taught in the university’s Infant and Toddler Lab School, completed research on word recognition, and taught undergraduate courses.
Environment Rating Scale (ERS) Assessor and Early Learning Specialist
Cori Brownell returned to TRI in 2013 in the role of Early Learning Specialist. She recently took on a new role as a Spark ERS Assessor. Cori’s areas of expertise include early childhood development, early childhood care and education, inclusion, and parenting education. In addition to conducting assessments, Cori provides technical assistance, training, and support to partners across the state. She is dedicated to the notion that every child has the right to a high quality education and that every family has access to the supports they need to be successful.
Spark ERS Coordination Specialist
Lacey Davis is a Spark ERS Coordination Specialist for the Center on Early Learning & Youth Development at TRI. She started at TRI in 2014 and works primarily with Central Coordination of Child Care Resource and Referral (CCCCR&R) and Spark. Lacey earned her Master of Science in Education and Bachelor of Science in Community Health Education at Western Oregon University. When not working Lacey enjoys going to the beach and spending time with family.
Lead Data Specialist
Andrea Fewx is the Lead Data Specialist at TRI. She earned her B.A.degree in Sociology from Ottawa University. Ms.Fewx's primary expertise is in data analysis, and database design and development. She has worked in the field for 20 years.
Ms.Fewx started at TRI in 1999 as a data specialist. Since then, she has worked on technology project leadership, collection of data, organization of data, analysis of data, design and development of databases using MS Access and MS SQL, and the management of a data processing group.
Database Specialist / Information Systems Analyst
Cheri Freedman has worked for the Center on Early Learning since 2014 in different roles and is currently a Database Specialist and Information Systems Analyst. She earned her Bachelors of Business Administration in Operations Management at The University of Houston in Texas and completed her Masters of Science in Management and Information Systems from Western Oregon University. Her primary expertise is in Data Analysis, Systems Development, and Project Management. She has over 20 years of experience providing support to different industries including telecommunications, universities, community healthcare, and the federal government.
Gary Glasenapp has worked at The Research Institute since 1984. He has extensive experience in the development, implementation, evaluation and dissemination of federal, state and local grants and contracts in the areas of early childhood education, early childhood special education, and professional development.
Project Facilitation Specialist
Debbie has worked at The Research Institute since 1996. She came to TRI after graduating from WOU with a B.S. in business and working for 6 years in the staffing industry. She was originally hired as the office manager, but since 2003 has been in the Center on Early Learning as a project specialist. Developing systems, processes and procedures that enable the work of the Center to be accomplished is her specialty. In her spare time she enjoys traveling, gardening, hiking with her dog, doing DIY projects around the house and enjoying a nice glass of wine while taking in a beautiful view.
Robyn Lopez Melton
Center on Early Learning Coordinator/ QRIS Co-Director
Robyn Lopez Melton is the Coordinator of the Center on Early Learning at The Research Institute at Western Oregon University where she Co-Directs Oregon’s Quality Rating and Improvement System and the state coordination of Oregon’s Child Care Resource and Referral. Robyn currently serves a member of the NAEYC Affiliate Advisory Council and was recently elected President of OregonAEYC and looks forward to serving in that capacity over the next four years.She has worked in early learning for over a decade. Her areas of expertise include working with monolingual Spanish speaking families, young children with multiple risk factors, parent education and Quality Rating and Improvement Systems. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from OSU Cascades campus with two BA degrees, Liberal Studies and International Studies and is currently pursuing her Master's in Education Information Technology. In 2015, she was recognized by ExchangePress as an Exceptional Emerging Leader in Early Childhood Education. Robyn is also the mother of 2 and a licensed Zumba instructor.
Roxanna Marvin has worked for The Research Institute for the past 21 years on multiple state and federal projects in a variety of roles including administration, providing coordination and technical assistance, and designing and developing training materials and curriculum. Roxanna has a Master's degree in Special Education and experience working in the field of Early Childhood Special Education at the TRI Child Development Center.
Early Learning Specialist
Lauren Peterson is a new addition to The Research Institute, joining the Center on Early Learning as an Early Childhood Project Specialist. Lauren has worked in early childhood services for 25 years in both education and social services settings. She has been a Head Start supervisor, preschool teacher, program owner and director. Additionally, Lauren has been Adjunct Faculty in Early Childhood/Elementary Education at Rogue Community College and Southern Oregon University. Lauren has a B.A. in Sociology and a Master’s In Education. Areas of interest include curriculum development, early childhood environments and education policy. Lauren has two daughters and too many dogs.
Early Learning Project Communication Specialist
Amy Rizo works at the Center on Early Learning and Youth Development at TRI as an Early Learning Project Communication Specialist for Spark, Oregon’s Quality Rating and Improvement System. Amy has a Bachelor’s of Arts in Art and Art History from Western Oregon University. She has extensive experience working with culturally and linguistically diverse populations, visual communication, and advocating for equitable practices and cultural awareness.
Spark ERS Project Director and Early Learning Specialist
Candice (Candi) Scott is the Spark Environment Rating Scales (ERS) Project Director for the Center on Early Learning & Youth Development. She earned her MS in Counseling and BA in Elementary Education from Oregon State University. She has served as an instructor and head teacher at Oregon State University's Child Development Center, as a Head Start teacher, and as an elementary teacher in the Corvallis, Lebanon, and Hermiston school districts. She has worked in the field for over 30 years. Candi began working at TRI in 2013 as a TA Specialist for Central Coordination of Child Care Resource & Referral. Since then, she has also worked as a TA Specialist for Oregon's Spark and as the Project Director of Training/TA for Oregon's 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant with ODE. When not working, Candi enjoys spending time with her husband and sons -- a Western Oregon University grad and a junior at Oregon State University. She's also been playing slowpitch softball in Corvallis for the past 30 years -- including unsuccessfully trying to retire for the past three years.
Bilingual Early Learning Specialist
Nathan Winegardner is the Bilingual Early Learning Project Specialist at TRI. He earned his Bachelors of Arts in Political Science from the University of Oregon. Nathan’s primary expertise is in Head Start program administration and he has worked in the field for seven years.
Nathan started his position at TRI in 2015. Since then, he has worked on Spanish translation of TRI and QRIS materials, helping Central Coordination of CCR&R, and Oregon’s QRIS.
When not working, Nathan enjoys being outside, paintball, painting, and spending time with his family.