The EarlyEdU Alliance® Team

Our team began at the National Center on Quality Teaching and Learning (NCQTL), where we developed materials to improve teacher child interactions and improve outcomes for children in Head Start programs. Now, at the EarlyEdU Alliance, all of us – early childhood experts, video producers, graphic designers, instructional designers, content experts, software developers, managers, and support staff – contribute to advancing the mission to improve access to affordable, relevant bachelor’s degrees for the early childhood workforce.

Meet a few of our team members below.


Gail Joseph, PhD
Founding Director

Gail Joseph is the Founding Director for the EarlyEdU Alliance®. Her vision that Head Start teachers should be able to earn their bachelor’s degree without having to quit their jobs led to the creation of NCQTL in 2010 and then the EarlyEdU Alliance in 2014. As co-principal investigator and co-director, she co-led the development of EarlyEdU Alliance courses along with Bridget Hamre, and conducted research that supported this innovative practice-based model for teacher preparation. She imagined and established the Early Childhood and Family Studies (ECFS) bachelor’s completion program at the University of Washington. This program served as the initial pilot of the EarlyEdU Alliance model. She continues this work by providing strategic direction to the Alliance and teaching EarlyEdU online courses.

Gail is associate professor in the area of Educational Psychology at the University of Washington.  She is also a principal investigator and Director of CQEL (the Childcare Quality and Early Learning Center for Research and Professional Development). Formerly, Gail was the Director of the Early Childhood and Family Studies program at the University of Washington. In addition to teaching courses, Gail has been involved in a number of research projects and training and technical assistance activities at the local, state and national levels related to child care quality, teacher preparation, and promoting children's social emotional development as well as preventing challenging behavior in early learning settings.  She serves as a reviewer and editorial board member for journals in early childhood and early childhood special education.

Most recently, she was nominated as a Distinguished Faculty member for Innovation in Higher Education for her conceptualization and use of the Coaching Companion (Campus Edition) to improve early childhood teacher preparation.

All of Gail’s work has been informed by her experience as a Head Start teacher. This experience keeps her work focused on meaningful interventions for teachers and children.


Susan Sandall, PhD

Susan Sandall is the Co-Director for the EarlyEdU Alliance®. Her involvement with the Alliance dates back to 2010 when she collaborated with Gail Joseph to create NCQTL. As principal investigator and director, she led the research and refinement of the NCQTL approach and she created products for the professional development of teachers which included the EarlyEdU Alliance courses. Susan has experienced in her own teaching the transformative impact the EarlyEdU Alliance model has on her ability to foster the development of evidence-based teaching practices in her students. She continues this work through the EarlyEdU Alliance by overseeing course development.

Susan is a professor of education at the University of Washington. Her scholarly interests are: effective instructional practices for young children with disabilities in inclusive settings; the changing roles of teachers of young children with disabilities, their relationships with other providers, and the implications for personnel preparation; and effective approaches for professional development and knowledge utilization. Her research is informed by experiences in the classroom. At the beginning of her career Susan taught at the University of Oregon lab school in one of the nation’s first inclusive preschools blending children with and without disabilities. Additionally, she serves on DEC’s Commission on Recommended Practices and edited publications on the practices. She is co-author of Building Blocks for Including and Teaching Preschoolers with Special Needs (2000, 2008). Awards include the Mary McEvoy Service to the Field Award and the Merle B. Karnes Service to the Division Award from the Division for Early Childhood of the Council for Exceptional Children.


Randi Shapiro, M.Ed
Executive Director

Randi Shapiro is the Executive Director of the EarlyEdU Alliance® within the College of Education at the University of Washington. She oversees the program and works locally and nationally to forge partnerships that support its mission to help teachers earn meaningful bachelor’s degrees in early childhood education. Previously, she was the Executive Director of NCQTL.

Randi brings her passion for the early learning field to program development and implementation. She is an accomplished leader of teams and programs and has a history of effective partnerships and collaborations. Randi has an M.Ed. in Early Childhood/Special Education and has worked as a preschool teacher, home visitor, resource room teacher and center director. She was also the Education Director for the Infant Health and Development Program, an Early Intervention Program for Low Birth Weight Premature Infants within the College of Education at the University of Washington.

Sarah Hamilton
Associate Director of EarlyEdU

Sarah Perez Hamilton has been with the University of Washington since 2010. For the last eight years she was the Associate Director at the Carlson Leadership and Public Service Center and the Senior Site Manager for Jumpstart. Her work there focused on increasing educational opportunities and access for preschoolers and supporting undergraduate college students engaged in community service within early learning settings. Originally from North Dakota, she developed a passion for working in education when teaching English overseas. Now Sarah calls Seattle home and she appreciates the overlapping connections between her work and personal life as an active community member in her neighborhood and daughters’ school.


Katie Emerson-Hoss, PhD
Higher Education Outreach and Implementation Manager

As the Higher Education Outreach and Implementation Manager for the EarlyEdU Alliance®, Katie is responsible for outreach to key stakeholders at the state level as well as faculty and administrators at higher education institutions. Additionally, she works with system stakeholders to consider innovative implementation strategies to support accessible and affordable pathways into and through higher education for the early childhood workforce. As a regional field specialist for Region 2 with NCQTL, she worked with federal staff to design, pilot, and implement a regional grantee support and development process and helped launch the Practice-Based Coaching initiative in the Region. She currently facilitates the national EarlyEdU Faculty Community of Practice.

Katie has a PhD in educational psychology, with a focus on early childhood special education and mental health, and an M.Ed. in early intervention and family support. She brings a wealth of experience from her work as a home visitor and educator. As a consultant Katie has worked with children, families, teachers, and organizations to develop strong relationships for learning and well-being. Her teaching experience includes over 15 years teaching undergraduates and graduate students in early childhood and special education.

Eliana Medina
Assistant Director of Integrated Learning

Eliana joined Cultivate Learning and EarlyEdU in Jan 2019. For the past 13 years, she has been involved in numerous projects to improve learning and teaching using technology, especially in the field of teacher education and higher education. Eliana has successfully produced a variety of courses and training modules in multiple formats and platforms and has led teams of instructional designers. She is passionate about helping design learning experiences grounded in learning science and user-centered design principles. Eliana earned a PhD in Learning Sciences from the University of Washington College of Education.

Sharmaine Regisford
Senior Instructional Designer

Sharmaine has over 20 years’ experience in education in both k-12 and higher education as a classroom teacher, online course facilitator, and instructional designer. She has worked closely with the Early Care and Education faculty at the University of Washington in supporting their online course offerings. Sharmaine is an active member in the Canvas LMS Community and is committed to making the learning experience engaging while maintaining a focus on accessibility and mobile use. Shar brings to the EarlyEdU Alliance her enthusiasm and curiosity, clear communication of ideas, innovative ways of thinking about how to present information to adult learners, and her commitment to excellence in the design process. Sharmaine has an M.Ed. in Science Education and is pursuing her PhD in Educational Technology.


Clare Juico
Higher Ed Program Coordinator

Clare Juico is a Higher Ed Program Coordinator at the EarlyEdU Alliance®. She is the Alliance’s chief point of contact and ensures that any requests from Alliance faculty, students or state team members are routed correctly and responded to in a timely manner. Clare also assists with editing course materials

Clare recently completed an AAS in early childhood education at North Seattle College. She is currently working toward her BAS, also at North Seattle. She has previously worked part time in a home-based childcare facility in Shoreline, WA. She is a firm believer that early childhood educators need accessible opportunities to further their knowledge in helping children succeed in school and in life.

Tonya Clegg
Higher Education Specialist

Tonya joins EarlyEdU after many years working as a math tutor and reading specialist for the Seattle School District. She has a BA in English Literature from Western Washington University. Tonya has a background in nonprofit management that includes the American Red Cross and various social service agencies. She currently volunteers as a Parent Educator for Forefront (UW School of Social Work). She lives with her family in Seattle.

Leslie Janes
State Implementation Specialist

Leslie has worked with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Implementation States to support the development of high-quality professional development for early childhood professionals since 2017. After starting her career as a Special Education teacher, Leslie left the classroom to hold a variety of positions at a large community based social service agency that focused on supporting children, youth, and families. Leslie joined the National Center staff of the National Center on Quality Teaching and Learning in 2014 where she served as the Regional Field Specialist for Region V, and transitioned to the same position at the National Center for Early Childhood Development, Teaching and Learning in 2015 when the contract shifted from the University of Washington to Zero To Three. Leslie holds a BA in Sociology and African American Studies from the University of Virginia and a Masters of Education from Southeastern Louisiana University with a concentration in Special Education.

Contact Us

For more information about our work, email Your message will be routed to the appropriate team member. We look forward to hearing from you!