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.

Amy Niemiec holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Goucher College in elementary education, a Master of Education from Arcadia University in special education, and a Graduate Certificate in applied behavior analysis as she works towards becoming a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst. She has spent the past ten years working with youth and young adults in various capacities including as an instructional assistant in a school for children with autism, a classroom teacher in general education, as a behavior specialist in early intervention, and as a behavior consultant with various agencies and programs in northern Pennsylvania. Amy’s focus lies in working with families, caregivers, school, and communities to best meet the social and emotional needs of their children through direct coaching practices. In her free time, she enjoys kitchen dance parties with her husband and two young children along with baking.

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!

O ur F acilitators

SPEC facilitators provide early childhood programs and 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 Positive Behavior Interventions & Support process. Our seasoned facilitators are well versed in PBIS practices across multiple-tiers of support, implementation science to ensure sustainability and thus can help expedite your implementation timeline.

W ho W e A re

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 and 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) and The National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations (NCPMI) provided the foundation for the SPEC program.

A bout U s

I n P artnership W ith

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

SPEC was originally funded and supported by York/Adams HealthChoices Management Unit and 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 and interactive trainings. The content from each of the trainings focuses on the three tiers of the CSEFEL pyramid Model. A scope and 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 and assessment tools to inform on-going decision making. After nearly three years of planning, refining and 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 and 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 46 early childhood programs and school-age programs across 22 counties in Pennsylvania. Most recently in 2017 our trained facilitators have partnered with Local Education Agencies (LEAs) to provide School-wide PBIS facilitation.

Our SPEC program and 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 and 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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Anne Katona-Linn, is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and she was the State Project Co-Director for the Pennsylvania Safe Schools/Healthy Students Partnership from March 2014- Sept. 2018. She has also been an Instructor at Bloomsburg University of PA in the Dept. of Exceptionalities training future teachers in Special Education, she was the Team Leader/Educational Consultant in the area of Behavior, and Educational Consultant in the area of Autism with PaTTAN in Harrisburg from 2003-2010. Anne was also a Coordinator of the PA Positive Behavior Support Network (www.PAPBS.org) from 2007-2010. Anne has received her M.Ed. in Special Education from Lehigh University, is a Board Certified Behavioral Analyst, and is currently completing her doctoral research in Educational Psychology at West Virginia University. Anne enjoys spending time with her husband Mark stand up paddle boarding on whitewater and spending time with family and friends, especially her step-children and their families (3 granddaughters).

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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

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