Conference Presenters


Barb O'Neil

Barb O’Neill is the creator of the Transform Challenging Behavior Online Conference, a free annual online event attended by thousands of early childhood professionals from around the world. She has been in this field for 25 years and has worked as a preschool teacher, special education teacher, center director, and early childhood professor. Barb now devotes herself full time to speaking, training, and teaching online courses for early childhood professionals.






Harmony Langford

With more than 20 years of experience in early childhood settings, Harmony Langford loves to share her enthusiasm for early years learning with the students in her kindergarten classroom and in professional development settings.  She is especially passionate about child guidance and developmentally appropriate and engaging hands-on learning.  She enjoys life in Nephi, Utah, is the mother of five children (none of whom fit in her lap anymore) and has a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Curriculum and instruction.





Michael Bahr

Michael Bahr is the Education Director for the Utah Shakespeare Festival. He has been in this position for the last 20 years. He holds a BA degree in Theatre, Acting/Directing emphasis from Southern Utah University, certified in secondary subjects of theatre and history and a Masters degree in Education. He has taught in public schools in California and Utah. During this time he developed numerous educational theatre programs for grade schools, junior highs, and high schools. He has received many awards for his work with children, including a two year nomination for the Huntsman Award, outstanding teacher of the year (Kern County, CA and Box Elder School District, UT) and others, including Outstanding Contribution to the Arts (Iron County, UT,) and Utah Theatre Association Outstanding Contribution to Theatre. Michael has served on many education and art boards, Shakespeare Theatre Association, SUU Beverly Taylor Sorenson Center for Innovative Education, the Utah State Office of Education Theatre Advisory Board, and has been a founding board member on two theatre companies, the Old Barn Community Theatre and the Cedar City Theatre Company. He has directed 100+ school, community, university and professional productions. Michael is an adjunct faculty member of Southern Utah University, teaching courses in Theatre Methods for Elementary and Secondary Teachers. He oversees numerous theatre education programs including the Wooden O Symposium, Shakespeare in the Schools Tour and the Shakespeare Competition. Michael testified in 2009 before the Committee on Education and Labor of the United States House of Representatives.



Alda Jones
Alda has worked in the early childhood field in various capacities for a very long time. While doing his important work she also slowly, but surely completed a Bachelor's degree and Master's degree in Human Development and Early Childhood Education. Currently she works at The Children's Center in Salt Lake where she does community outreach and promotes the quality in early care and ducation with a particular focus on social/emotional/mental health of young children, the parents and caregivers.

Anna Lisa Kent
Anna Lisa Kent currently lives in Saratoga Springs, Utah with her 5 year old son. She is an Early Childhood Specialist at The Children's Center and absolutely love working with caregivers and young children. Her past work history includes having taught Head Start Preschool (for Salt Lake & Provo) for 8 years and Special Education (Resource) for 2.5 years. Anna Lisa received her Bachelors degree in Family & Consumer Sciences with an emphasis in Early Childhood Development from Southern Utah University and a Masters degree in Special Education from the University of Phoenix.

Bethany Forest
Bethany is founder and CEO of Hippie Skin a healthy, natural skin care company, and HEAL Yoga Studio based in Ogden, Utah.She has been a certified Yoga instructor since 2012. She teaches yoga and mindfulness to businesses, organizations and in elementary school classrooms. Bethany firmly believes that establishing a foundation upon which children and their caregivers/teachers can manage stress contributes to a well-rounded healthy childhood.

Dr. Brionne Neilson
Brionne Neilson is a professor of Family Life and Human Development at Southern Utah University. She has worked with Utah's children and early childhood professionals for several years. Her research focuses on young children's development in mathematics and executive function, including the influences of home and school environments.

Brittney Nelson
Brittney Nelson has a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education from Dixie University and a master's degree in Educational Leadership from Western Governor's University. She has been a Kindergarten and Preschool teacher, a preschool coach, preschool specialist and is currently one of the preschool coordinators for Washington County School District. She is also a CDA professional development specialist, a Care About Childcare trainer, the southern Utah UAEYC representative, and runs the Washington County Early Childhood Coalition.

Dr. Cari Buckner
Cari Buckner, EdD, is the Family Studies and Human Development Department Chair at Dixie State University. She used an integrated curriculum instructional method to teach kindergarten and first grade. Children in her classes mastered State Core Curriculum objectives through hands-on activities, exploration, and inquiry. She has experience working with children at different levels of abilities and interests.

Christina Pay
Christina has been an advocate for children for of her adult life. She has taught preschool and was a Co-Director at a Child Care Center. She has worked for The National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome, Intermountain Healthcare- Community Education, Davis School District, and is currently the Professional Development Specialist for Care About Childcare USU Eastern. Christina has also volunteered with the PTA, Bear River Safe Kids Coalition, Operation Underground Railroad, Castle Country Early Childhood Coalition and is currently serving as Eastern Representative for UAEYC. She loves to read, be in nature, and the happiest place on earth for her is with her family.

Christopher Weber
Christopher has been working with special needs and troubled teens in Southern Utah for over 8 years. He is an Intense Behavior Interventionist with the Washington County School District preschool working with both title 1 and sped students ages 3-5. Christopher also teaches social/emotional life skills classes as a Lead Registered Behavioral Technician with Utah Behavioral Services, working with students 6-18 years of age.

Crystal Knippers
Crystal is the director of the Care About Childcare agency at Weber State University. She has worked for the agency for 18 years and during that time has worked with the Environment Rating Scales, as a supervisor of Course Instructors and has worked with coaching and other areas as needed. She received her Masters in Family and Human Development from Utah State University. Building relationships in the Early Childhood setting is a passion of hers. She is the proud mom of a daughter who is currently as Utah State University majoring in Psychology with a minor in Family and Human Development.

Daphne Storie
Daphne Storie enjoys laughing and having fun in the classroom. Daphne started as a parent volunteer years ago and was hooked. She is currently a Facilitator at SUU Head Start. Daphne is also a mother to 3 amazing teenagers while finishing her Bachelors in Early Childhood Development.

Janet Wahlquist
Janet Wahlquist currently serves as the Professional Development Trainer for Care About Childcare at Weber State University. Janet has worked with young children for more than 25 years, working in a variety of programs and positions, including Head Start preschool, State preschool, 2nd and 3rd grade, before and after school programs, and private child care. Janet owned her own early childhood enrichment center for several years, with the center offering preschool, mommy and me classes, Kindermusik, cooking, art, and themed parties. Janet believes in the importance of music and play in the lives of children, and works to be a voice for high quality early childhood programs everywhere.

Jody Zabriskie
Jody has a degree in Early Childhood Education. She has served on numerous committees to help maintain and provide quality care and experiences for children. She currently serves as Chair for the Utah Childcare Center Licensing Committee. She is on the board for the Utah Private Child Care Association (UPPCA). She works closely with and teaches for the Care about Childcare and other programs that provide additional training and education for teachers. She owns and operates four successful child care facilities in Utah County.

Katie Ricord
Katie Ricord is the Executive Director of the Utah Association for the Education of Young Children. She has been a classroom teacher, teacher mentor, infant/toddler specialist, Early Head Start Program Director, and state leader for both Head Start and Early Childhood professionals. She has also been a part of the Power to the Profession movement from the beginning, first as a UAEYC Board Member and now as a UAEYC staff member, participating in many meetings, conversations and trainings at the national level as the work for this movement formally began. Katie has a Master's Degree in Child Development from the Erikson Institute in Chicago, IL and a Bachelor's Degree in Family & Consumer Science from the University of Utah.

Kim Hanson
Kim Hanson has been in the education field for 18 years as a teacher in every age group and as a Center Director. She has a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education from Southern Utah University. She has spent the last 5 years as a School Age teacher in Cedar City. She is very dedicated to children and strives to continuously learn the best way to teach her students.

Linda Hunt
Linda Hunt enjoys glitter, and walks on beach, along with her 4 children and new grandbaby. She has worked for SUU Head Start for 15 years. Starting as a substitute and currently as a facilitator. Linda graduated from SUU with a Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education.

Dr. Linda Wright
Linda Wright, PhD, is a faculty member of the DSU Family Studies and Human Development Department. She teaches Early Childhood Education and Development classes. She has completed research identifying the importance of dramatic play in educating young children.

Marcella Viladiu
About 10 years ago Marcella traded the California beaches for the Utah mountains. She has been married for five years andhas an 18 month old son who loves Daniel Tiger, walks in the neighborhood and throwing the ball to our three year old poodle. Marcella has been in the Early Childhood field for almost ten years now. Most of that time was spent in a classroom and just this last year my role switched to working with directors and caregivers. Some of herfavorite things are walking the aisles at Target, spending time with my family and bubble baths!

Patti Zabriskie
Patti Zabriskie is first and foremost, an early childhood educator, who has chosen to combine her love of early childhood and learning, by supporting families in the home child care setting. She has been a home child care provider for 23 years and counting! She attained her bachelor’s degree in Family, Consumer, and Human Development online through Utah State University in 2010, where her senior project encompassed 100 hours of comparing and contrasting a mixed-age versus a single-age group preschool setting, then creating a mixed-age group curriculum to use in her own child care preschool. Her emphasis in early childhood education and development has allowed her to teach classes specifically designed for child care providers by the State of Utah and Care About Child Care. She has been teaching home and center providers in this capacity since 2012.

Susan Knott
Susan has gone from college to pre-kindergarten to research why college students in her courses lack the basic learning skills enabling them to be successful in college, let alone life. Her college courses require students to create solution-based research projects and she has learned that education has the greatest potential to bring about social change. While teaching at Westminster College, Susan returned to college and graduated with another advanced degree in Education. She is currently a child care director, professor, and teaching a Caregiving Essentials Training Program at the Refugee Education Center on the SLCC Meadowbrook Campus.

Terry Shumway
Born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada, now residing in St. George, Utah for the past twenty-five years. Married for 41 years to a great guy and are the parents of six great children and ten amazing grandchildren! Background includes: Dance Education major from Brigham Young University/Cougarette Drill Team/Folk-dancers/Modern Dance/Children's Dance. Experience at Disneyland Theme Park California and University of Nevada Las Vegas Children's Dance Teacher. Currently CDA/teacher at the Washington County Preschools for the past twenty-four years. I have a great love of family and all their interests, plus animals, traveling, staying active, and collecting Lucille Ball memorabilia.