top of page

Please check back for 2025 updates!

 Thursday, March 7, 2024

Deb Lawrence.jpg

Thursday Keynote
So, What do you do for a Living?

Dr. Debra Lawrence

So, What do you do for a living?

Celebrating SECA's 75th Anniversary and celebrating what early childhood educators do every day is the focus of this session.  Honoring your work, and honoring you as professionals, is the heart of this session.


What do you say when someone asks you where you work?  What is their response when you tell them you are an early childhood educator? How does that response make you feel?  


During our time together, we will explore the value of your chosen profession, identify strategies for communicating the significance of your work, and validate the critical role you play in children's development, and we will have some fun too.

Meet Dr. Debra Lawrence

Debra has presented workshops and seminars at the international, national, state, and local level.   Debra’s leadership positions include Colorado AEYC President, A Governor-appointed Early Childhood School Readiness Legislative Committee member, and a NAEYC Governing Board Member.  She is currently the President of the American Association for the Child’s Right to Play, the International Play Association, USA affiliate.


She is the author of How Public Investment Contributes to High-Quality Early Childhood Programs, Lessons from Pennsylvania, and contributed to Learning from Head Start. In addition, she has a chapter on Bronfenbrenner and Play in the publication Scholarly Snapshots.  She is the recipient of numerous awards. She recently received the National Association for the Education of Young Children Ed Klugman Lifetime Achievement Award as an Advocate for Play, and the Delaware County Community College, President’s Award for Excellence.

Click here to learn more!

 Friday, March 8, 2024


Friday Keynote Speaker
Creating a Caring Community that Supports the Inclusion and Belonging of Each and Every Child

Mary Louise Hemmeter

Creating a Caring Community that Supports the Inclusion and Belonging of Each and Every Child

Is your early childhood space created for each and every child and family? Building early childhood spaces with your children and families in mind, is the beginning of creating a community where each and every child and family feel like they are valued, respected, and belong. In this session, learn how to create community through the design of your physical and social environment, engaging and partnering with families. 

Meet Mary Louise Hemmeter

Dr. Mary Louise Hemmeter is a professor of Special Education at Vanderbilt University and holds the Nicholas Hobbs Chair in Special Education and Human Development. Her research focuses on effective instruction, supporting social emotional development and addressing challenging behavior, and coaching teachers. Dr. Hemmeter conducts presentations and workshops throughout the US and abroad. She has directed numerous multi-site projects funded by the US Departments of Education and Health and Human Services. Through her work on the National Center on the Social Emotional Foundations for Early Learning and IES-funded research projects, she was involved in the development of the Pyramid Model for Supporting Social Emotional Competence in Young Children and the Practice Based Coaching Model. She is a co-author on the Connect4Learning Early Childhood Curriculum and the Teaching Pyramid Observation Tool. She was co-editor of the Journal of Early Intervention and President of the Council for Exceptional Children’s Division for Early Childhood. 

 Friday, March 8, 2024

Headshot Me_edited.jpg

Friday Luncheon Speaker
Your Voice Matters: Let's Advocate for Children!

Deborah DePaoli
(additional registration fee)

Your Voice Matters: Let’s Advocate for Children!

 Are you ready to use your voice to make important changes for children? Your lived and professional experience make you an expert on early childhood. That expertise makes you the perfect person to advocate on behalf of young children. During this “Your Voice Matters” luncheon you will hear about everything you are already doing to advocate for children and learn how you can strengthen and amplify those skills to have an even greater impact. You will learn concrete advocacy skills and even get to practice a few during the session. Your expertise is powerful, and your voice is essential. Together we are creating a brighter future for children!

Meet Deborah DePaoli

Deborah started her career in public education and community development at the age of seventeen, working with migrant farmworkers and their children in Southern California. She served for years as a public-school teacher and administrator working with marginalized students: second language learners, at-risk preschoolers, and the children of low-wage earners. Having lived in South Carolina for 18 years, Deborah's passion for collaboration with her community has brought her to a place where she is now working full-time as a community organizer, engaging with families, agencies, and elected officials to advocate for children. Equity in education, access to political power, and real opportunities for establishing generational wealth are some of the issues that Deborah is most passionate about. 

bottom of page