Center for Best Practices in Early Childhood Education
Western Illinois University
20 Horrabin Hall
1 University Circle
Macomb, IL 61455
Dr. Lindsay Meeker, Director/Center for Best Practices
Lindsay Meeker, Ed.D Early Childhood, MsEd Bilingual Education, MsEd Educational Leadership, BS Special Education joined us in the School of Education in 2021 as Visiting Professor in Early Childhood and Director of the Center for Best Practices in Early Childhood. She comes to us from an Early Childhood and Special Education Director position in West Liberty, IA, partnered with Head Start and the Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency. Her previous roles included Director of Multilingual Learners, Teacher of Multilingual Learners, and students who qualify for Special Education, including English Language Development coach and specialist in the Dual Language program and Kagan Cooperative Learning school trainer. She also worked in community-based childcare for children ages birth-8. She serves as a Childcare Resource and Referral provider for adult learning and has served as an adjunct instructor for Western Illinois School of Education for approximately five years in Early Childhood, ESL/Bilingual, and Curriculum and Instruction. Her current research field is equity for early childhood learners and their families and mindfulness/yoga in schools with students and families. Dr. Meeker has presented at international, national, state, and local conferences. Her published works include Chapter Contributor for “Stories of School Yoga: Narratives From the Field” (SUNY PRESS, 2019) and Family Perspectives on Yoga in Schools: A Qualitative Study (Proquest, 2020 -Dissertation – NCU).
Lindsay is looking forward to working with the School Of Education to develop the early childhood program and a Bilingual Early Learning and Family Empowerment center on the Quad Cities campus and continue and grow the fantastic work of the Center for Best Practices. Teaching in-person classes this fall is one of her most favorite parts of her current position.
Amy Betz, Credentialing Manager
Amy has a Bachelor of Science degree in Child Development/Early Childhood Education and a Master of Arts in Gerontology. She has worked with young children in child care centers, Head Start, early childhood, and early intervention programs. Amy has been at the Center since 1992. She has written curricula in the areas of math, science, social studies, and expressive arts while working at the Center. Amy worked on TechTools, which focused on birth to three technology activities. She also has developed the videos and podcasts for Provider Connections.
Robert Derry, Project Director
Robert Derry, M.S. Ed, NCC, became involved with the Illinois Early Intervention System in 1997 when the Illinois State Board of Education granted STARNET responsibilities for early intervention credentialing. Rob was initially responsible for credentialing and enrolling all providers interested in gaining the ability to provide services in the, then Part H Early Intervention System. Rob became the project manager when Provider Connection added systems training responsibilities. Rob has five years experience working with children and families through the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.
Carrie Woodside, Enrollment/IMPACT Specialist
Carrie Woodside first became involved with the Early Intervention System in 1997 when her son was diagnosed with a severe language and developmental delay. Since then she has been actively involved with his direct treatment and therapy. Carrie joined the Provider Connections team in July of 1999 and assumed the responsibilities of the Resource Assistant position. Carrie maintains the 800 line for Provider Connections, providing technical support on the credential and enrollment process. She is responsible for coordinating mailings and oversees the enrollment process for providers. Carrie provides general clerical work, collating information and reporting to the Project Manager. Since July 2002, Carrie has been the primary person responsible for processing new Central Billing Office Enrollment applications. She also provides optimal technical information to providers and agencies regarding the procedures of the Early Intervention System as it is defined in Rule 500. Carrie has attended and facilitated training’s related to the Early Intervention System.
Deb Grace, Office Manager
Deb became part of Provider Connections in October 2020, when she became the office manager. Prior to her work at Provider Connections, Deb worked with high school kids in the Special Education Department as a Paraprofessional. Along with the Special Education work, Deb also worked as a Credentialing Specialist helping Optometrists to become providers with insurance companies across the country, in each of their areas. Prior to this work, Deb worked in the various office settings for 20+ years. This work varied from general clerical work to managing the office. In her role at Provider Connections, Deb will be assuming the duties of answering phones, background checks with the Illinois State Police and DCFS, processing applications as they come in along with the budget responsibilities. As one of the more important roles, Deb is responsible for the postings that help keep providers up to date on information from the Bureau of Early Intervention.