IDA Board Members

OFFICERS

Maurean Stephenson

Maurean Stephenson, State Chair; Events Co-Chair

Maurean Stephenson was an early childhood special educator as part of a team in the Sacramento County Office of Education Infant Development Program for many years. She currently works for the Early Childhood Special Education credential program at CSU Sacramento. Maurean graduated from Sonoma State University and San Francisco State University where she received her B.A., M.A., and several teaching credentials.

She is an IDA board member serving as the State Chair, the Events Committee co-chair and is a member of the North Chapter. Maurean loves her work supervising and supporting ECSE teachers who are new to the field. She enjoys hiking, camping, traveling and spending time with her family and friends. Meeting EI providers from across the state over the last several years has been a highlight of her time with IDA! The relationships she has built through her involvement in IDA are important to her and she looks forward to working with others in the field as IDA grows into the future!

Annie Cox

Annie Cox, Treasurer; Policy Co-Chair

Annie Cox is the Executive Director of Early Education Programs for the CHIME Institute. She holds a Masters of Arts in Education: Early Childhood Special Education option and her professional experience in the field of education extends for more than thirty years. She worked as an early intervention specialist and joined the CHIME Institute in 1989 by supporting young children with disabilities in an early general education site. Ms. Cox has contributed significantly to the development of the CHIME Institute mission and philosophy, supported development of new programs including the CHIME Charter Elementary School, and mentored newer members of the staff and leadership team. Ms. Cox has also served as a part-time instructor for the Department of Special Education at CSUN and provides mentoring and supervision for Early Childhood Special Education students. She is a strong advocate for inclusive practices.

Wendy Morrison

Wendy Morrison, Secretary; Events Co-Chairs

Wendy Morrison has worked in the field of early intervention for almost three decades after a number of years working as a pediatric nurse. She is an Early Childhood Special Educator and inclusion consultant working in homes and early care and learning settings around the San Francisco bay area. For over a decade, Wendy has provided training to early intervention, early childhood and medical professionals on many topics relevant to the field of early intervention. In addition, Wendy is a faculty member in the Sacramento State University’s ECSE teacher preparation program. She is particularly interested in national and state policy that impacts the field of early intervention. Wendy holds a M.A. in E.C.S.E. and a B.S. in Nursing Science. In addition, Wendy received an authorization in the use of AAC in Early Intervention Settings. As well as serving on the board of the Infant Development Association of California, Wendy is also an active member of CalAIMH and a member of both Zero to Three and CAAEYC.

Doug Erber

Douglas Erber, Executive Director

Douglas Erber has nearly three decades of nonprofit leadership experience. Before joining IDA, he was president of the Japan America Society of Southern California for 17 years. Doug’s volunteer work is focused on “giving back” for all his family benefited by quality early intervention. For seven years, he served as a trustee and officer of the Harbor Regional Center. In 2014, California Governor Jerry Brown appointed Doug to the state’s Interagency Coordinating Council (ICC) on Early Intervention; in 2019 he was elected co-chair of the ICC. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree at CSU, Long Beach. Doug likes to keep active and is a life-long surfer. But he cherishes most the time spent with his wife and two children.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Jazmine Blackman

Jazmine Blackman, Social Media Chair

Jazmine Blackman is the Owner/Director of Carousel Developmental Service, an infant development program serving the San Gabriel Pomona Valley and Inland Empire. Her goal is to see underserved families of infants and toddlers with special needs have the supports needed to thrive. In addition to working in home with infants and toddlers, Jazmine spends her time supporting the Infant Development Association of California as the Co-Chair of the Social Media Committee, Community Representative for the State Interagency Coordinating Council on Early Intervention, and with local organizations focused on educating black families about the Regional Center system and how poor maternal health outcomes impact babies long term.

She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Communicative Disorders with a minor in Child Development from California State University, Fullerton. Masters in Public Administration and Public Health from the University of LaVerne. She is a Children’s Hospital Los Angeles/USC California Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (CA-LEND) Public Health Fellowship graduate.

She enjoys indoor cycling, hiking, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.

Favorite Quote: “Encouragement is oxygen for the soul. It takes very little effort to give, but the return in others is huge.” -John Maxwell

Fran Chasen

Fran Chasen, MA, Policy Co-Chair

Fran Chasen, MA, an Early Childhood /Early Intervention Consultant, Children’s Issues and Answers focuses on system change in the area of early intervention, child care and health services for families and children with special needs.
She works successfully in collaboration with parents and other community groups to develop and implement legislation benefiting young children. She has directed community early intervention services, high risk infant, child care, Head Start, Resource and Referral, and Alternative Payment programs. Other roles include: member of the LA Policy Roundtable for Child Care and Development, LA County Child Care Planning Committee - Legislation Committee;California Interagency Coordinating Council on Early Intervention, Co-Chair Systems Committee; Past- President, Southern California Association for the Education of Young Children; SCC Vice President-Programs; CAAEYC Board Member - State Director, Policy Committees; Californians Together; Campaign for Quality Early Childhood Education, World Organization for Early Childhood Education, OMEP -USA Board member. Fran is co-chair of the Policy Committee for IDA.

Matt Chesnut

Matt Chesnut has been supporting children and families for over 20 years. Since 2004, Matt has been the Owner and Executive Director of Parent Infant Programs. Parent Infant Programs provides family centered early intervention services in far northern California. Prior to Parent Infant Programs, Matt held the position of Behavior Analysist for Yolo County Office of Education and was a teacher and the Executive Director of Applied Behavior Consultant's school in Sacramento. He also is a Field Experience Supervisor and Instructor in the Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) Teaching Credentials program at Sacramento State University. Matt is an Appointed Member of the Interagency Coordinating Council and is a board member on several local and statewide organizations. Matt holds a Master's degree in Special Education and a Doctoral degree in Education. Matt is the father of two teenagers. He enjoys spending time outdoors, golfing, playing sports, hiking and generally causing mischief.

Cathy Coggins Cathy Coggins has worked in the field of early intervention for over 30 years. She is currently a Program Coordinator and Infant Development Specialist at Life Steps Foundation - Children and Family Services in the SF Bay Area. In addition, Cathy is a University Supervisor for San Francisco State University’s ECSE program. She has a passion for working with families and supporting the parent-child relationship. Particular areas of focus include infant and early childhood mental health, reflective supervision, and inclusion. Cathy holds a M.A. in Special Education with an emphasis on ECSE from San Francisco State University and a B.A. in Social Welfare from U.C. Berkeley. In addition, Cathy completed two years of the Irving B. Harris Early Childhood Mental Health program. Cathy loves being outdoors - going to the beach, camping, and hiking.
Hillary Crow Hillary Crow, MA, CCC-SLP is an Autistic SLP and the owner & CEO of Crow Autism & Speech Therapy Consulting Services, Inc. She provides neurodiversity-affirming coaching and teletherapy services to Autistic clients of all ages. Hillary also provides coaching and training on neurodiversity-affirming care to Autistic clients' loved ones, related services professionals, and organizations. She is committed to guiding her clients through the unmasking process to promote development of a positive Autistic identity.
Lisa Dittbenner Lisa Dittbenner has been a board member of IDA since 1999 and became a Co-Chair of IDA’s South Chapter in 2014. Lisa is an Occupational Therapy Instructor for California Children's Services (CCS), Medical Therapy Program of Los Angeles County. She received her Occupational Therapy degree from San Jose State University. From the time she was a student, Lisa has especially enjoyed working with kids who have cerebral palsy and she has dedicated over 30 years to serving the children, families, and staff of CCS. Lisa loves traveling with her husband and daughter.
Dana Kalek Dr. Dana Kalek is the Director of Operations at the Child Development Institute located in Reseda , CA. She received her undergraduate and graduate degree in Child Development from Cal State University, Northridge and her Doctorate degree in Organizational Leadership-Educational Psychology from Pepperdine University. She has been working in the field of early intervention for over 20 years by supporting and influencing those relationships that impact early development in children. She has published several journal articles that focus on the importance of the parent-child relationship as well as presented at various international conferences. She teaches child development as an adjunct professor at Los Angeles Valley College.
Robin Millar Robin Millar graduated from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill with a B.S. in Physical Therapy and has worked with children with identified needs and their families for over 45 years. In addition to her clinical expertise, Robin is a certified instructor in Interaction Management, and an experienced administrator. Robin has advocated for children by her membership on various Boards of Directors, her numerous presentations at workshops, conferences, and colleges and by writing grants for new service delivery for infants, toddlers, and children. She has supported various organizations with strategic planning and quality improvement initiatives. Robin has been a Community Representative for the California State Interagency Coordinating Council for over 20 years. She is recently retired and was responsible for over 70 staff members and direct services for over 500 children and families. Robin has served as an IDA Board of Director for many years and is a past State Chair of the organization.
Abigail Morales

Abigail Morales is currently an Early Childhood Special Education Early Intervention Specialist at the Madera County Superintendent of Schools. I hold an A.S. in Biological Science (Madera Community College), B.S. in Early Childhood (CSU, Fresno), M.S. in Special Education (Point Loma Nazarene University), and a cleared Early Childhood Specialist Credential. My accomplishments include becoming the first in my family to graduate from a university. In 2012, I received a “Live Your Dreams Award “from the Soroptomist International of America. I am currently a member of IDA, CalAIMH, Zero To Three, and CEC-Division for Early Childhood.

I began my career in special education as a bilingual instructional assistant (I.A.) in a preschool setting. I was pursuing a degree in social work when I became an I.A. During this time, I shifted gears and became interested in early childhood development. I loved seeing students meet their developmental milestones and thrive. As an early intervention specialist, I love supporting families in their child’s development, building caregivers’ advocacy skills, and connecting families with community resources. My peers state that: “I love helping families above and beyond!” and that “I am full of enthusiasm, positivism, and enjoy motivating others!”

I love spending time with my family being creative, reading, and playing games. My children and granddaughter keep me very active in their sports, activities, and Campfire. I enjoy exercising, running, reading, listening to motivational podcasts, and drinking tea. I am full of energy and enjoy making others smile!

Melanie Nocolas Melanie Nicolas’s career in early learning and early childhood education spans over 25 years involving grant administration and early childhood mental health. She is a Program Officer at SETA Head Start, a public agency administering Head Start and Early Head Start programs in Sacramento County. In her work and other advocacies, she endeavors in community building through partnerships and engagement with stakeholder groups to build a network of support for families and young children. A long-time supporter and member of IDA since 2005, Melanie served as IDA State Chair in 2011-2013.
Michelle Oliver Michelle Oliver is currently working as an Early Interventionist with Early Start and as an Intervention Teacher for Preschool through 3rd grade students through a Virtual Learning program. She has worked in the field of early intervention fin a variety of capacities in 1994. She has been an EIE/CSE Teacher, Program Specialist, and Director. She also provides technical assistance and program support to a number of programs in her area and throughout the state. Michelle serves as member of the California Interagency Coordinating Council on Early Intervention and has presented at numerous conferences She also is a Coach and Instructor for the Santa Clara County Office of Educations Educator Preparation Program (EPP) with an emphasis in the Education for Inclusive Classrooms (EPIC) coursework.

While she has been in California since 1998, Michelle still considers herself an Oregonian and goes home to see family and friends as often as possible. She left California for almost two years in 2017 and came back ready to actively support families and programs. We are thrilled to have her back on the IDA Board.

Michelle is dedicated to the use Routines-Based Intervention and supporting programs in the utilization of Trauma Informed Care in all aspects of their work. She has her MS, ECSE from University of Oregon and cleared her credential in California through San Jose State. She also holds an Administrative Services credential. In 2019, Michelle returned to her primary passion of direct work with families and providing mentoring to other programs. board of the Infant Development Association of California.

Her hobbies include Netflix, coffee, and spending time with her grandnieces and nephew. Michelle considers any day that she can smell the beach or hear a baby laugh as a good day.
Michele Rogers Michele Rogers, Ph.D. is the Executive Director and Co-founder of the Early Learning Institute. She is also currently the CDC’s Learn The Signs, Act Early Ambassador to CA (one of two). Michele is a certified lactation specialist and childbirth educator, working both for local hospitals and as a private consultant. Michele participates in State-wide issues through her work on IDA’s Public Policy committee and on the Department of Developmental Services’ Task Force. Michele’s educational background includes a BA in Journalism/Marketing (wine writing); and an MA in Health Education. In 2007, she completed a 14 month Napa Fellowship Program in Infant/Parent/Early Childhood Mental Health and went on to complete a PhD in Psychology, studying neurobiology and attachment. Michele is married, with three grown children and five grandchildren. She authors a bi-monthly blog called, “Ask Nana” and her hobbies include dabbling in pyrotechnics and traveling extensively.
Sheri Rosen Sheri Rosen is presently the Regional Director, Sunny Days of California, Inc., where she oversees Sunny Days Early Start programs throughout 12 Regional Centers. Sunny Days serves children and their families from Imperial County to the Northern Wine Country. Additionally, Sunny Days provides ABA services to children up to 18 years of age in Southern California. Sheri is a member of the IDA South Board and sits on the Policy Committee. She is also a community member of the State Interagency Coordinating Council for Early Intervention and is an appointed member to a variety of DDS committees. Ms. Rosen has worked with children and families for more than 25 years directing early intervention and preschool programs, child-life departments and served as a consultant to Head Start. In 1985, Ms. Rosen developed one of the first early intervention programs in the country for children with HIV and their families and provided training internationally on the developmental needs of children with HIV. She served as the First 5 Kit for New Parents Project Director overseeing outreach, training and distribution of the Kit in Los Angeles county. Additionally, she was the Director of Programs, for Parents Anoymous, Inc. a national child abuse prevention organization where she was responsible for training, technical assistance and capacity building activities with county and state child welfare agencies and community child abuse prevention programs. She is the co-author of Babies Do Amazing Things: A Picture Guide to Development. She has a Master’s Degree in Education specializing in Infant and Toddler Development, from Wheelock College in Boston and a Bachelor’s in Human Development from Pacific Oaks College in Los Angeles.
Elzabeth Russel

Elizabeth Russel has Degrees in Occupational Therapy, Special Education Administration, and Occupational Science.

Elizabeth has experience in acute care pediatric hospitals, outpatient rehabilitation clinics, deaf and blind services, neonatal intensive care units, school systems, and university programs. Elizabeth presently serves as an Outcomes and Research Coordinator for Los Angeles County Children's Medical Service

Julie Taren

Julie Taren, Past Chair; Membership Co-Chair

Julie Taren is currently a part-time instructor in the Child and Family Studies Department at California State University, Los Angeles. Also, she has taught at UCLA in the Department of Social Welfare foundation social welfare courses on macro practice in organizational, community, and policy settings. Julie started her career as a Service Coordinator at Harbor Regional Center and her career has come full circle in conducting intakes for a Regional Center in the Early Start Program, where she is supporting families in the assessment process to determine their young child’s eligibility for early intervention services. Julie currently serves as Chair of the Los Angeles County Child Care Planning Committee and as co-chair of IDA’s Membership Outreach and Belonging committee.

Previously, Julie has over 20 years in local government working on early childhood issues, human services grants, and special projects as a Senior Administrative Analyst for the City of Santa Monica, and on the planning and implementation of Part H Services in California, which is now the California Early Start program.

Julie is dedicated to working on systems change and partnerships to improve outcomes for children and families and in developing the next generation of early childhood leaders. She received the National Association of Social Workers, Region H, Social Worker of the Year (2003) and Social Work Practitioner Award (1993). Julie holds a bachelor’s degree in Elementary and Special Education from the University of Arizona, a master’s degree in Early Childhood Special Education at California State University of Los Angeles, and a Master’s in Social Welfare from UCLA.
Tracey Tasker

Tracy Tasker, Membership Co-Chair

Tracey Tasker holds a B.A. in English and Economics and an MBA (from Rutgers University) and an MA in Speech-Language Pathology (from Montclair State University). Tracey started out her career working in the business world and then she had a set of twin boys (one with autism) and three years later a set of twin girls (born two months premature) and she was immersed in the world of early intervention. That’s when she decided that her true calling was to help other parents help their children to communicate. Tracey has been supporting early intervention families as a speech-language therapist for over a decade. Tracey is a recipient of the ASHA (American Speech-Language Hearing Association) ACE award for commitment to lifelong learning. Tracey is the membership chair of IDA (Infant Development Association of California).