Staff

Jeffrey Leffler

Jeffrey Leffler
Visiting Assistant Professor, Executive Director for the Center for Child Development

Education
2015 (anticipated) Ph.D.
Curriculum and Instruction

2010 Ed.S., Elementary Education

2001 M.S., Early Intervention

2000 B.S., Child and Family Studies

Outreach
Served in various executive board positions for Mississippi Early Childhoos Association, review manuscripts for Dimensions of Early Childhood, and currently serves as member-at-large on the Southern Early Childhood Association executive board.

Professional Goal
I am interested in how developmentally effective practices relate to kindergarten readiness and how innovative approaches can support the emergent literacy development of young children.


Melissa Weaver

Philosophy of Educating Young Children:  Children develop and establish brain functions throughout their early years.  Teachers must create and utilize a learning environment that scaffolds children through their developmental milestones.  A learning environment that focuses on developing the whole child is essential and necessary.

Melissa Weaver
Program Director, Instructor

Education

  • Specialists, Adult Learning, Walden University
  • Masters, Early Childhood Studies, Walden University
  • B.A., Early Childhood Education, University of Cincinnati
  • Associates, Early Childhood Education, University of Cincinnati

Experience

  • 23 years experience working with children from 6 weeks to age 5
  • Instructional courses taught at USM Gulf Park Campus:

    • CD-455 Supervised Practicum

    • CD 351 Advanced Child Development

    • CD-452 Methods and Materials

    • CD 352 Behavior & Guidance Young Children

    • CD 350 Child Development

Professional Goal

  • Attaining a Doctorate in Early Childhood Education and teaching more adult courses in the field of Early Childhood

Keana Austin

Keana Austin
Lead Two-Year-Old Teacher

Education

  • B.A., Child and Family Studies, The University of Southern Mississippi
  • Master's degree (anticipated), Child and Family Studies, The University of Southern Mississippi

Experience

  • 2 years experience working with toddler and preschool aged children

Organizations

  • Mississippi Early Childhood Association
  • Southern Early Childhood Association

Certifications

  • CPR and First Aid
  • Infant/Toddler Early Guideline Series
 
Chelsea Hill

Chelsea Hill
Lead Infant Teacher

Education

  • Master's degree (anticipated) in Child and Family Studies
  • Bachelor's Degree in Child and Family Studies, The University of Southern Mississippi

Experience

  • 5 years experience working with children in the pre-school environment

Organizations

  • Mississippi Early Childhood Association (MsECA)
  • Southern Early Childhood Association (SECA)

Certifications

  • First Aid and CPR
  • Infant/Toddler Early Learning Guidelines Series

Katie Womble

Katie Womble
Lead One-Year-Old Teacher

Education

  • Bachelor of Science degree in Child and Family Studies, University of Southern Mississippi
  • Master's degree in Child Development (anticipated), University of Southern Mississippi

Experience

  • 600 hours of practicum work at the Center for Child Development
  • Lead Teacher, Team Lead Management at La Petite Academy

Organizations

  • National Association for the Education of Young Children
  • Southern Early Childhood Association
  • Mississippi Early Childhood Association

Certifications

  • Early Learning Guidelines
  • Medication Administration Training
  • Director Designee Training

 Amanda Moran

Amanda Moran
Lead Three-Year-Old Teacher

Education

  • Bachelor's Degree in Human Development and Family Studies with an emphasis in Child Studies from Mississippi State University

Experience

  • 180 classroom lab hours; 600 practicum hours in a classroom setting; 1 year as an assistant teacher

Professional Goal

  • Enroll in the Master's program at The University of Southern Mississippi

 Carmen Stilwell

Carmen Stilwell
Lead Four-Year-Old Teacher

Education

  • B.A., Child Development, The University of Southern Mississippi

Experience

  • 8 years experience working with children in the pre-school environment

Professional Goal

  • Pursuing a Master's in Child and Family Studies (starting 2014)