Participating Mentors

Portrait image of Wendy CarterHello everyone! I am Wendy Carter and am so excited to have the opportunity to mentor other trainers. I am an Education Support Manager for BiCAP Head Start in Bemidji, and love my job in supporting and coaching teachers in their use of curriculum and assessment, and helping them to find strategies that are effective in working with children and families in the classroom and on home visits. I also train in these same areas through face to face classes with Child Care Aware and online through Eager to Learn. My passion is in building relationships with others and assisting them to discover their strengths and grow in their practice, all in the context of helping young children and families. My husband and I are empty-nesters as our 4 daughters are off leading their own life adventures. We enjoy reading, making music, and exploring the beauty of northern Minnesota.

Portrait image of KimberlyKimberly has been working in the field of Early Childhood for over 25 years and has over 28 years of experience training adults. In addition to her experience as an early childhood trainer, she works with the National Family Child Care Association as an accreditation observer. Kimberly is a professional development specialist for Child Care Aware MN West/Central, assists with trainer recruitment project through Child Care Aware MN and coordinates an Emergency Preparedness training project with Child Care Aware MN and Child Care Aware of America. Kimberly also has experience in developing educational materials, writing training curriculum, coordinating early childhood conferences, and life skills coaching. She is a blogger and has authored two children picture books with a nutrition theme.

Portrait image of Hannah RiddleHannah Riddle is a founder of SolBe Learning, a Boston-based early education center, having previously worked both as a teacher and center director. She is also a bilingual educator and owner-operator of Semillitas, a Minnesota-based professional development company. In addition, as a Professional Development Specialist, Hannah conducts CDA verifications visits in English and Spanish. Hannah earned a B.S. in Child Psychology and a B.A. in Spanish Studies at the University of Minnesota and is a Master's degree candidate in Adult ESL Education at Hamline University. As a mentor, Hannah is ready to help trainers develop effective facilitation skills and help foster a better understanding of training systems and tools.

Portrait image of Pat GentzPat Gentz began serving children and families as a licensed Family Childcare Provider in Dakota County in 1983. She believes that “children learn to love when they are loved” - and that is the primary philosophy of her work with young children. One of her greatest joys is having her own grandchildren in her care. Pat received both her NAFCC Accreditation and her BA in Child Development, from Concordia University, in 2009. Pat’s initial training opportunities were offered in 1994 and to this date, she continues to provide training opportunities for Think Small, local childcare associations, and other Early Childhood organizations across the state. Pat is a strong advocate for the Family Childcare profession and a mentor to many caregivers.  Pat enjoys spending time with family and friends, cooking/baking/entertaining, sunrises/sunsets, traveling…and having FUN!

Portrait image of Sara MulsoHi -I'm Sara Mulso and I'm excited to be a part of the field of early childhood when we see the valuable opportunities that exist for our next generation!  I've been involved in this field for the past 20 years (and even longer if we go back to those days of babysitting -although maybe what I did then wouldn't fall into the highest quality care).  I have a diverse background from teaching toddlers in a Montessori program to being an assistant director of an early childhood center.  I left the "hands on with children" field to pursue my Master's Degree and from there unfolded an entirely new and unexpected world of being involved in early childhood.  I began doing some adjunct teaching in the area of child development and had the opportunity to begin to train.  At first I was a nervous wreck!  If I didn't have everything written out and lots of visual cues, I wasn't sure if I would make it through the session, however over time my comfort in presenting has increased.  I still continue to learn from others and "borrow" their ideas -and I enjoy sharing tips and techniques with others.  There is such a need for training in early childhood as well as other areas and we need folks who are comfortable with this teaching strategy to help others grow.  I've also been able to do some online training.  It is different -yet surprisingly engaging and in my busy world, it has been a good fit.  I work hard to find a balance in my training schedule with being active in my children's education and activities.  My husband and I have a son who is a freshmen in high school and is a basketball player.  We also have a 5 year old!  I love seeing how both of my children have benefited from high quality experiences -and hope that my training helps other children have this same opportunity.

Portrait image of Judy BissenJudy Bissen is a licensed teacher who has been working with children and their families for over twenty-eight years.  Her experiences include working as a child care center teacher and director as well as a child development consultant.  She is now employed with a Minnesota school district as an Early Childhood Educator in their ECFE program, teaching in both the parent-child classes and in the integrated preschool.

As a Master Trainer through Develop, she works with a number of state initiatives and training projects as well as writing her own curriculums.  Other adult education opportunities have included working as an adjunct professor at several colleges teaching child development courses and working as an Eager to Learn instructor. Judy feels working with both children and other adults who care for young children offers the best of both worlds.

Portrait Image of Marian HassanMarian Hassan is an empowering educator, compassionate advocate for children and families in transition, and children’s picture book author.  As an educator, Marian advises, mentors and trains areas in early childhood education, family education, program development and evaluation. She is committed to contributing to a better understanding of how programs in diverse and cultural settings can create inclusive teaching and learning environments. Lately, she has been speaking to dual language families and teachers about the importance of the home language to the development of the second language.  Marian earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from York University in Canada in English Literature and Mass Communication and has done graduate work in Elementary education as well as a K-8 teacher licensure with specialty in Language Arts at St. Thomas University.

Portrait image of Kristen Wheeler HighlandHello, my name is Kristen Wheeler Highland and I am pleased to be participating in this project mentoring trainers. . I have been working in early care and education for over thirty years. In my career I have been in a variety of roles - teacher, center director, special project manager, accreditation specialist, training, and curriculum development. I have been involved in the professional development of staff (and trainers) for more than 25 years. I have been a trainer to staff and leadership & management personnel; I have been an ECE Instructor in the technical college system and have been involved in the support, development and training of trainers! I was part of a dedicated group of trainers and others that created and served trainers through MECSATA (Minnesota’s Early Childhood and School Age Trainer’s Association) which preceded this project. It is my passion to work with, support and learn from other trainers. I look forward to this work and to meeting many gifted trainers who will be supporting professionals in our field!

Portrait image of Angele Sancho PasseAngèle Sancho Passe is a consultant and writer in early childhood education. She coaches educators with the same optimism that she taught children. Her goal is that they feel confident and competent. Her other interests are sailing, snowshoeing, and being mamita to her grandchildren. Find her at



Portrait image of Hope DoernerHope Doerner is a child development instructor at Minneapolis Community & Technical College and a master trainer through the Minnesota Center for Professional Development. She is certified in many state curricula and has developed several statewide trainings that are used with the Parent Aware Rating Tool. She believes that children are empowered to when educators understand and foster development at the appropriate level for each individual child. She facilitates learning through course materials, but even more so through the interaction among colleagues in the classroom.  She has mentored many training professionals over her 20+ years as a trainer.

Portrait image of Barbara WagnerBarbara Wagner has been in the Early Childhood Field for over 20 years serving in a variety of roles from Family Child Care Provider, Mentor Program Coordinator, Accreditation Specialist and currently, the Executive Director of the Minnesota Licensed Family Child Care Association. She has been training for over 14 years and has presented to early education staff both nationally and throughout the state. She is currently obtaining her Master's Degree in Early Childhood Education.


Portrait image of Joshua KoeppJoshua Koepp has over 23 years’ experience serving children, youth and families and 17 years of experience as a trainer. For 14 years, He worked full time directly with children and families in a variety of School Age, Early Childhood, and Family Camp programs, until his second son was born. For the last seven years he has been a part time faculty at several colleges and universities and consistently training for Child Care Aware of Minnesota both online and face to face. He holds degrees in Education, Child Development and Counseling. He has experience as an inclusion consultant with the Center for Inclusive Child Care, NAEYC Accreditation Consultant, and Certified Parent Coach. He loves to teach and learn through play and encourage adults as they creatively care for children.