Meet the Team

Michael Bachman


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

Ericka Gergely

Ericka Gergely


Ericka has been a licensed elementary teacher for 16 years, teaching students from Kindergarten through 8th grade. She is the former director for a large child care center that served over 130 children. Prior to working with SPARK, she was a School Age Specialist at Geminus providing technical assistance, community resources and connections as well as overseeing the School-Age programming and professional development. 

Photo of Kim Hodge

Kim Hodge


Kim has worked on the operations side or “behind-the-scenes” of the Indiana early education and care system. Most recently she worked at Early Learning Indiana supporting their management and use of early education data from providers across the state. She previously worked for Child Care Aware of America where she helped CCR&Rs and state partners across the country in managing and using their data. Prior to that role she worked at IACCRR. Connect with Kim at

Leslie Kerner

Leslie Kerner


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. 

Photo of Elizabeth Massey

Elizabeth Massey


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

Alice Miller

Alice Miller


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


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. 

Photo of Courtney Penn

Courtney Penn


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

Vicci Rydzinski

Vicci Rydzinski


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


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.

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