Meet the Team

Michael Bachman

PROJECT DIRECTOR

Michael Bachman has worked at all levels of the early education and care in Indiana. He started out working for a registered ministry and helping them advance through Paths to QUALITY. He worked at United Way of Central Indiana where he helped programs across Central Indiana improve their quality. Most recently, Michael worked at IN AEYC supporting programs as they work towards national accreditation. Connect with Michael at mbachman@indianaspark.com.

Ericka Gergely

Ericka Gergely

SCHOOL AGE SPECIALIST

As our School Age Specialist Ericka develops new courses for our providers serving before and after school and summer programs for School Aged children. And with more than 15 years experience teaching students from Kindergarten all the way through 8th grade you can be certain you’re in good hands. 

Ericka and SPARK Learning Lab, in partnership with Indiana Afterschool Network (IAN), supports all school-age and out-of-school programs including 21st Century Learning Centers, School Age Child Care (SACC) grantees, community-based early learning programs, and so many others!

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Kim Hodge

DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS & STRATEGIC INTEGRATION

Kim is busy at work preparing our SPARK Learning Lab Help Desk for your calls, setting up the SPARK Virtual Coaching platform for group coaching opportunities, calibrating Indiana Learning Paths for SPARK training and Learning Forums, and creating a high quality user experience for all!

Kim has worked “behind-the-scenes” in the early education and care system for most her career, having over a decade of experience at the local, state and national level of, where she has worked within all aspects of CCR&R service delivery. Connect with Kim at khodge@indianaspark.com.

Leslie Kerner

Leslie Kerner

COACHING MANAGER

Leslie leads our expert team of Coaches in SPARK’S southern region, including portions of SDA 3, 4, and 5. Her team troubleshoots issues and concerns over the phone, offers group coaching opportunities, and is on-site in your Center, Ministry, or School to provide intensive, one-on-one technical assistance that you can achieve your quality improvement goals!

Leslie has worked in the early care and education sector for nearly 20 years. She began her career as an infant/toddler, preschool teacher and eventually became a director of a licensed child care center. Prior to working with SPARK, Leslie was a Master Coach with the Indiana Association for the Education of Young Children. She coached Early Care and Education programs enrolled in the Paths to Quality system and those working towards achieving or maintaining National Accreditation. 

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Elizabeth Massey

DIRECTOR OF FAMILY CHILD CARE

Beth has spent her career working in the early childhood education field. She started out as a teacher at a licensed early education and care facility. She has worked as a Program Manager for a Head Start program. Most recently she has been the Program Director of the Child Care Resource and Referral Agency (CCR&R) in northwest Indiana. Connect with Elizabeth at bmassey@indianaspark.com.

Alice Miller

Alice Miller

COACHING MANAGER

Alice has held several roles in the field of early education and child advocacy. She worked with Families First Center, the Domestic Relations Counseling Bureau, Head Start, and was a center director. Most recently she was the Program Manager and Coaching Specialist at Family Development Services where she was responsible for coaching 12 coaches. 

Alissa Mwenelupembe

Alissa Mwenelupembe

INCLUSION SPECIALIST

Over the past 19 years, Alissa has worked in many areas of early care and education. She spent time as a teacher, director, trainer and coach. As a center director, she managed three NAEYC accredited programs and led one through a successful re-accreditation. As a Paths to Quality coach and trainer, Alissa worked with homes, centers and ministries to improve their quality. 

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Courtney Penn

DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF PROGRAM SUPPORTS

Courtney has held many roles in the field of early education and care across the state of Indiana. She has worked as a teacher in the classroom and a center director. She has provided professional development and support for early education programs. Most recently, she worked at Early Learning Indiana where she supported local Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (CCR&R) in meeting the needs of their local communities, early education and care programs, and families. Connect with Courtney at cpenn@indianaspark.com.

Vicci Rydzinski

Vicci Rydzinski

OPERATIONS AND COMPLIANCE SPECIALIST

Vicci has experience supporting coaches and child care providers with mandated trainings and working in cohort settings to enhance the quality of care for children across the state of Indiana. Prior to joining the SPARK team,  she was the Subject Matter Expert with Indiana Early Learning. In that role, she support local Child Care Resource and Referral agencies across the state with training needs, technical assistance and resources. 

Tina Thompson

Christina Thompson

EDUCATION SPECIALIST

Christina has held several roles in the early care and education sector throughout her career including: preschool teacher, childcare center director, ECE/fitness business owner, kindergarten teacher, first grade teacher, elementary intervention specialist, and college instructor. Prior to joining the SPARK team, she was an early childhood education instructor at Kellogg Community College. In this role, Christina taught online college courses designed around numerous disciplines of early care and education.

Bridgetta Bullock

Bridgetta Bullock​

SR HR GENERALIST​

Bridgetta is an experienced HR professional in the fields of early childhood education, banking, and retail. Before joining the SPARK team she served as Sr Director of Talent for Early Learning Indiana where she oversaw human resources. She enjoys working with diverse talent pools and creating a culture where employees can thrive.
Tracy Johns

Tracy Johns​

INFANT TODDLER SPECIALIST

Tracy has worked in the early education field for more than 20 years, working primarily with infants and toddlers. In her previous role she served as the Infant Toddler Specialist with The Child Care Resource Network. As the Infant Toddler Specialist she worked closely with early education providers across a 12-county service delivery area to offer professional development opportunities and technical assistance around infant and toddler car.

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Renee King​

ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT​

Renee brings more than 15 years of administrative experience to her role at SPARK. Prior to joining the team she was the administrative and personal assistant at Mother’s Earth. There she worked to ensure that day to day business matters were handled efficiently. She brings to her work a versatile skill set and is excited to be a part of a group that is focused on early childhood education.

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Darcy Marlett

COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

Darcy has a wide range of communications experience working in the fields of non-profits, associations, and government. In her prior position she was the Director of Marketing and Communication for the National Chimney Sweep Guild, a national trade association. There she created and executed strategic communications for the association’s membership and convention.
Joy McCall

Joy McCall

TIER 3 COACH

Joy McCall has worked in the early childhood education field for more than twenty years, holding many job titles including teacher, center director, Paths to QUALITY coach, enhanced coaching specialist and project manager. In her previous position she served as a Pre-K Project Manager for the Indiana Association for the Education of Young Children, managing the On My Way Pre-K program for Marion County.

Son Dao

Son Dao

DATA SPECIALIST

Son Dao is SPARK Learning Lab Data Specialist. In his role with SPARK Son puts his data management and analysis skills to work helping our team maximize our impact.

Prior to working with SPARK, Son recently graduated from Western Kentucky University with a Master of Arts in Applied Economics. He also obtained a Graduate Certificate in Economic Data Analytics, which prepared him for advanced quantitative disciplines including applied economic statistics and data management skills.

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