Christy Miller is a two time graduate of the College of Saint Rose with a dual degree BS in Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Special Education as well as a  MSEd in Professional Special Education.  She has 17 years of experience in early childhood education ranging from teaching in specialized residential treatment settings, private, and public schools to in home settings as a residential habilitation provider, behavior specialist, and early interventionist.  Christy grew up in the Pittsburgh area, but spent 13 years living in upstate NY.  Since relocating back to the Pittsburgh area, her focus has been on assisting families and programs in supporting all areas of development for the children they care for through her work with Early Intervention Specialists, Inc. as a Special Instructor.  Her specialties include inclusive education, behavior management, and supporting children with autism.  Volunteering as the Lending Toy Coordinator with the Pittsburgh Toy Lending Library allows Christy to manage and curate items for the lending collection while teaching the local community about the importance of play on early development.  She lives in the Pittsburgh area with her husband, four children, cat, and chickens. In her spare time, she enjoys sewing, reading, and gardening.

Joelle Jones is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a Bachelor’s degree from Messiah University and a Masters degree in Social Work from Temple University. Social work has always been a passion for Joelle, as well as searching for a good balance between systems level work and direct practice. Joelle has experience in resource coordination, therapeutic counseling, and school social work. As a school social worker, Joelle became the PBIS district Coach, and it was during this time that Joelle realized she also had a passion for school-wide positive behavior interventions and supports (PBIS). This experience led her to her role at SPEC to become a school wide PBIS Network Facilitator and continue to support school districts in this capacity. Joelle continues to work in multiple capacities to provide outpatient therapy to children, whether it’s virtually, in a private practice setting, or at a nearby pediatrician office. When not working, Joelle enjoys spending time with her husband, two daughters and two pups.

Alison Mellott is a two time graduate of Shippensburg University with a BS in elementary education and a M.Ed in Curriculum and Instruction focusing in Early Childhood Education.  She is currently completing her Ed.D at Liberty University focusing on Curriculum and Instruction in early education.  Alison has specific interests in building quality and capacity for improved practices in education settings.  Her background in early learning has included experiences as a teacher, administrator, coach, mentor and advocate.  She has experience designing and building Curriculum as well as providing ongoing professional development for teachers as a PQAS instructor.  Alison also acts as a professional development specialist for CDA candidates.  Alison enjoys spending time with her husband and four young children.  In her free time she is most commonly found watching all of their sporting events and special activities.  Alison also volunteers with local children's events and ministries through the church she attends.

Tyler Hoffman, a two-time graduate of York College of Pennsylvania (2007/2010), has been working with children at birth through age eighteen. Positive Behavior Intervention Support and social emotional development are two areas of special interest for Tyler. His experience has stemmed from community-based services as well as in-classroom teaching. He has collaborated with families through Pennsylvania Early Intervention as a Behavior Specialist with Early Intervention Specialists, Inc. (EIS). As a PQAS certified instructor, Tyler has provided early childcare programs with professional development opportunities and technical assistance supports. Tyler is actively involved in a variety of local committees and programs that focus on enhancing the social emotional climate of programs/organizations as well as building the capacity of caregivers throughout South-Central Pennsylvania. While not at EIS, Tyler spends much of his time with his wife, son and three Australian Labradoodles. As a part-time hobby, both Tyler and his wife raise and socialize labradoodle puppies. The impact of nurturing and responsive caregiving knows no boundaries – fur or no fur.

© 2014 SPEC | Supporting Positive Environments for Children

Kris Woody holds a Bachelor’s dual degree in Elementary Education/Early Childhood Education and a Master’s of Education degree from Millersville University. She has been working in the early intervention field since 1992, currently with Early Interventions Specialists, Inc. (EIS). During this time, Kris has been providing families with education and support in all areas of development, with special focus on attachment/bonding, trauma/grief, behavior and how they impact relationships and overall development. As a PQAS certified instructor, Kris provides trainings on a variety of topics including program-wide positive behavior support and social emotional regulation. Kris believes when children have a strong social-emotional foundation, they have a much better chance of being successful in life.As an “empty nester”, Kris enjoys visiting with her sons, working in her flower and vegetable gardens and traveling–especially to the Outer Banks.

Jess Jenkins is a graduate of Shippensburg University with a BA in Psychology with a concentration in Child Development. She has completed the Graduate Certification program in Infant Mental Health from Chatham University. Jess has worked with Early Intervention Specialists, Inc for 7 years focusing on bonding, attachment, behavior support, developmental support, and community outreach. She has also received her certification as a Certified Educator in Infant Massage. Jess has a strong background in the area of mental health in both children and adults and strongly believes that accessing available supports promotes the best outcome for families. While working for Early Intervention Specialists, Jess has acquired the skills to be able to support Early Childhood programs and community agencies with being able to meet the needs of young children's social and emotional needs. In her spare time, Jess enjoys helping her husband with his photography business, caring for her 7 adopted rabbits, and yoga!

Our Facilitators

SPEC facilitators provide early childhood programs & Local Education Agencies with on-site guidance and support. Our experienced team possess independent certifications from the state-wide PA PBS Network. In addition, they also have reliability certifications for administering observations and assessments for the Pyramid Model/Positive Behavior Interventions & Support process. Our seasoned facilitators are well versed in Pyramid Model/PBIS practices across multiple-tiers of support, implementation science to ensure sustainability & thus can help expedite your implementation timeline.

Who We Are

In 2009, a group of community stakeholders came together to address a notable increase in the expulsion rates of children in early childhood programs. In addition the group recognized the need for developing systematic way of supporting teachers, children & families. The group of stakeholders reviewed a large body of evidence-based research to establish a framework for the development of a program. The Pyramid Model, as developed by The Center on the Social Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CSEFEL) & The National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations (NCPMI) provided the foundation for the SPEC program.

About Us

In Partnership With

SPEC is supported & implemented by Early Intervention Specialists, Inc. (EIS) EIS provides a wide variety of early intervention services for infants and toddlers who have developmental delays & their families.  Services are available at no cost to the family & are provided within the home & at community locations such as child care settings, parks, etc.  EIS provides services in Allegheny, Butler, Cumberland/Perry, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lebanon, Schuylkill, Washington, Westmoreland & York/Adams Counties. Visit our website to learn more!

SPEC was originally funded & supported by York/Adams HealthChoices Management Unit & MH/IDD Early Intervention.

For more information about these programs:

- Health Choices

- Early Intervention

SPEC wouldn’t be possible without you – many thanks!

After the initial foundation was laid by the group of stakeholders, our SPEC team of facilitators developed a series of in-depth & interactive trainings. The content from each of the trainings focuses on the three tiers of the CSEFEL pyramid Model. A scope & sequence to the implementation of program-wide PBIS was also developed. This helped programs identify a “pace” which is reasonable for completing necessary implementation activities. We also identified a list of evidence-based evaluation & assessment tools to inform on-going decision making. After nearly three years of planning, refining & developing a program, a formal launch occurred in 2012. A community-wide kickoff event was held where many early childhood programs were invited to learn more about the program & potential benefits. Four early childhood education programs, participated with SPEC in the first year. After the first year of inception, it has been with great privilege to announce that our community partnerships have grown to include 50+ early childhood programs &school-age programs across 22 counties in Pennsylvania.  In 2017 our trained facilitators started partnering with Local Education Agencies (LEAs) to provide School-wide PBIS facilitation.  Most recently, we expanded to supporting Pyramid Model Peer Learning Communities and Program Implementation Coaches in Oklahoma.

Our SPEC program & its' facilitators are part of a broader network in the state of Pennsylvania – the PAPBS Network. It is through this network that our facilitators remain connected to research, training opportunities & peer-to-peer networking.

It has been the pleasure of our SPEC program facilitators to have presented at the National Training Institute for Effective Practices, The Pennsylvania State Implementer’s Forum as well as countless local conferences throughout The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

For more information about CSEFEL and NCPMI please visit:

CSEFEL: Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning

NCPMI: The National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations

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SPEC facilitators have given me a boost of confidence. They have helped me with the challenging behaviors I have encountered.

-YMCA of York Staff