I live in: Dauphin County
Background: Social Work, Autism, Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health
Experience in IECMH: My first experience with IECMH was when I began working in the program at the PA Key in the fall of 2010. Prior to that, my past experiences included almost every level of the behavioral health system in PA, including managed care. I have served in several roles within the program, including Coordinator, Program manager and now Director.
Something personal/fun fact: I knew I had found my calling and love for IECMH when I heard that we have 1 million opportunities per second to impact the developing brain and change the trajectory of a child’s life through their relational experiences with those around them.
I live in: Crawford County
Background: I have a B.A.in Psychology from Seton Hill College and an M.S. in Infant and Toddler Studies from Wheelock College. I have worked with children in a variety of settings from hospitals, foster care, early intervention and child care centers. I am endorsed as an Early Childhood Family Specialist and have been at the PA Key for 15 years.
Experience in IECMH: My college internship at Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh was the beginning of my interest in children’s development and infant mental health. I learned something new everyday from those children and their families. That led me to several different experiences with children and families. I was fortunate to find the PA Key and assist in the development of the IECMH Consultation program.
Something personal/fun fact: I am a mom to 4 amazing daughters.
South Central Team
I live in: Lebanon County
Background: I have a Bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies from Penn State and a Master’s degree in Social Work from Temple University. I have earned Endorsement as an Early Childhood Family Specialist through the Pennsylvania Association for Infant Mental Health.
Experience in IECMH: I have worked in various positions within the early childhood and mental health fields for about 18 years, and I am also the parent of a child with mental health needs. Most of my professional career was with Head Start as a family service worker where I visited families in their homes to promote healthy development and connect them with resources in the community. I also helped to coordinate the state of Pennsylvania’s first Early Head Start Child Care Partnership grant from 2014-2019. In addition, I have experience working in inpatient mental health as well as family-based mental health services. I transitioned into my role as an IECMH consultant in June of 2019.
Something personal/fun fact: The house I live in was built by my grandfather in the 1950s. My husband and I have lived in it for the past 10 years and have spent a lot of time fixing it up while raising our 3 children. I enjoy traveling with my family, listening to music, and taking long walks around my neighborhood.
I live in: Lancaster County
Background: I received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Millersville University. After working in the ECE and Human Services field for several years, I earned a Masters of Education (focus on ECE) from Arcadia University in 2019.
Experience in IECMH: I have worked with children and families in some capacity for over 20 years, starting as a classroom floater after high school. After working as a Quality Coach in the South Central Region for a few years, I became an IECMH Consultant in 2019. I love working with teachers and families to support their relationships with children.
Something personal/fun fact: I live near the Susquehanna River with my husband, twin 13-year-old girls (Harper and Molly), nine-year-old son (Liam), and two cats. I enjoy hiking, kayaking, yard games, reading, and live music.
I live in: Berks County
Background: I have a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Bloomsburg University and a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from Eastern University. During my time in graduate school I also focused on a concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA).
Experience in IECMH: I have about 15 years of experience in the mental health and social service field. I began working in settings where I learned about ABA and its application with children. I loved being a part of a child’s progress towards social-emotional growth, but I also noticed that growth would not have been possible without family engagement. So, I decided to focus on my capacity to build relationships with adults and obtain more clinical training. When I learned about IECMHC, I was very intrigued and excited to merge my skills in this area. I am also interested in developing my knowledge and skills in the field of equity work within IECMHC.
Something personal/fun fact: I am fluently bilingual (Spanish & English) and of Hispanic descent. I have a younger brother who has Autism and IDD. I live with my husband, teenage son and two dogs. My favorite place to eat is at The Pike Café in Reading, PA.
I live in: Cumberland County
Background: I received a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Bloomsburg University and continue my lifelong pursuit of learning with masters level coursework at Penn State University and Millersville University.
Experience in IECMH: I have worked with children and families in some capacity for over 30 years. My earlier experiences with young children include infant/toddler teacher at Capital Area Head Start, Early Intervention Developmental Therapist at The Infant Development Program in Harrisburg. For ten years I was the Preschool Curriculum Specialist for Hildebrandt Learning Centers. Prior to returning to IECMH, I was the Education Facilitator for York City School District’s PreK Counts program.
Something personal/fun fact: I have three grandchildren who live in Colorado where I love to visit! We can see the Rocky Mountains from their house.
I live in: Dauphin County
Background: My inspiration to work with children stemmed from a couple of my elementary and high school teachers. I graduated from Elizabethtown College with a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education and a minor in Psychology. I have 27 completed credits towards a Master of Education from Millersville University. Because of my passion of working with young children, I have enjoyed 30+ years as a childcare provider and director, substitute elementary teacher, instructor for Early Childhood Specialist Program and Developmental Therapist in Early Intervention supporting children birth to three years.
Experience in IECMH: I have been a consultant with the IECMH program since 2010. Starting in 2019, I supervise the consultants in the South Central region and continue to stay connected to the field by carrying a small caseload. I enjoy partnering with families and childcare staff to support the social emotional needs of young children. I am motivated by my passion of making a difference in the lives of children.
Something personal/fun fact: I am married and an empty nester except for my two loving Labs who are convinced they are lap dogs. Always “mom” but also known as “Gigi” to my grandchildren. I love Italian food and chocolate, listening to music, watching Hallmark and finding my inner child. I am excited to do more traveling and exploring our beautiful country with our new camper.
Northeast/North Central Team
I live in: Northampton County
Background: I hold a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education with a Level 1 Teaching Certification in Pre-K through Grade 3 and an English Language Learner add on. Additionally, I have a Private School Academic Teaching Certificate and a Pennsylvania Director’s Credential.
Experience in IECMH: I found myself in the IECMH role after spending the last four years teaching in Pre-K counts and Head Start programs. Prior to teaching in the public sector of Early Childhood Education, I spent several years, since I was a high school student, as a teacher’s assistant and then a teacher of multiple age groups at a private childcare center and then 3 years as a Director of an Infant and Toddler center.
Something personal/fun fact: I am a proud boy mom to Weston and Hunter, and wife to my wonderful husband, Ryan. We have two resident dogs, Sadie and Tucker, and spent a few years fostering puppies for a local rescue, which is a passion we plan to continue once the boys get older. In addition to anything dog related, we enjoy outdoor activities and spending time with our extended families. I personally enjoy reading, online shopping, and organizing! My favorite food is anything that I didn’t cook, and I am a self-proclaimed hot chocolate connoisseur.
I live in: Columbia County
Background: I have a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Master of Education in Elementary and Secondary School Counseling from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. Additionally, I have completed trainings in many areas of counseling including an intensive cohort from the North Carolina Child Treatment Program in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
Experience in IECMH: I have worked in a variety of settings supporting children and their caregivers including: school counseling, in–home therapy, outpatient therapy, mental health and disabilities specialist for a Head Start program and working with children and counselors at a camp for children with special needs. While working in the role of in-home therapist- I recognized my passion for working with young children and caregivers in supporting them to grow in their home and natural environment. Through all my work I have valued and enjoyed the ability to be creative and supportive to empower children and caregivers to discover what makes them feel successful and watch them grow.
Something personal/fun fact: I am intensely competitive and can make almost anything into a game! I live for physical activity and love sports and anything outdoors. While I grew up and moved back to NE/NC Pennsylvania, I lived and in continue miss Western North Carolina and visit as often as I can! I previously have coached youth and high school basketball and was a course coordinator/instructor for an outdoor education program and camp for children with disabilities. I live at home with my husband, two spirited children, and two even more spirited dogs.
I live in: Lycoming County
Background: I received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Liberty University.
Experience in IECMH: For over the past twenty years, I have worked with children and families. My career experiences include working with the United Way as their Child Care Scholarship Coordinator; Head Start as a Family Advocate, and Mental Health and Disabilities Manager; and as a STARS Quality Coach and Technical Assistance Coach. I’ve also started and ran my own non-profit focusing on supporting children and families oversees.
Something personal/fun fact: I live with my five children, two cats and one dog. We enjoy many activities together including sports, working outside in our garden, and traveling- especially to the beach.
Name: Alyssa Heggenstaller
I live in: Snyder County
Background: I have a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education from Messiah College, a Pennsylvania Director’s Credential, as well as a Level 1 Teaching Certification in Pre-K through Grade 3.
Experience in IECMH: I have always had a passion for young children. What started out as an intention to teach in the public school system quickly changed into a specific passion for the early childhood field and working with children from birth-5. For the past 4 years I held the Center Director role at an Early Learning Center on the campus of Susquehanna University. Prior to that I was able to experience teaching in all of the age groups from infants to preschool. In the IECMH role I am able to combine all of my experiences of working directly with children, families and programs in a broader sense while assisting in programs throughout the state.
Something personal/fun fact: I live with my husband Abe, two sons Noah and Luke, and daughter Ella. We love anything outdoors, especially riding bike and going on hikes. I love all things fall, have taken a recent interest in gardening and houseplants, and love spending time with a good book!
I live in: Lehigh County
Background: I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and Early Childhood Education degree. I then earned a Master of Education in Elementary Education. I am a certified N-3 and K-6 teacher. I am also Endorsed by Pennsylvania Association for Infant Mental Health as an Early Childhood Family Specialist.
Experience in IECMH: I transitioned into the IECMH consultant role in 2013 after providing home-based early intervention services to the birth-3 year old population for 17 years. My favorite part of IECMH is the balance of being able to interact with the children, and also work with the teachers, to help promote healthy social and emotional development, while building relationships with everyone I come in contact with.
Something personal/fun fact: I am married, with 2 children and 1 granddaughter. In my spare time, I love watching my son play competitive ice hockey along the east coast, walking, and reading. My favorite foods are perogies & popcorn. My favorite movies are Youngblood and Top Gun.
I live in: Susquehanna County
Background: I have earned a Bachelor of Arts in Behavioral Neuroscience and Psychology from Lehigh University and a Master of Science in Child Development with a Specialization in Infancy from Erikson Institute. I am endorsed as an Infant-Family Specialist through PA-AIMH, am a Shanker Self-Reg® Champion, and a proud lifelong learner.
Experience in IECMH: I came to IECMH accidentally! In the beginning I wanted to learn how to provide expert advice to caregivers. However, my path led me to the conclusion that the full potential of knowledge of child development and learning can only be fully realized in partnership with the actual experts on an individual child, you! Over the past decade plus I have invested this mindset in support of children, families, providers, stakeholders, and systems in early intervention, child care, training and quality improvement, and with expectant parents. I joined the IECMHC team at the PA Key in 2019.
Something personal/fun fact: I live in a multigenerational household with my husband, our young son, my parents, and two tireless dogs. I am originally from New Jersey and routinely miss the pizza, bagels, and day tripping to the beach, but am cultivating a new love for perogies, kielbasa, and therelative lack of traffic.
I live in: Lehigh county
Background: I have a Bachelor of Science in Elementary and Early Childhood Education, ECE Director’s Diploma, as well as a Masters in Education in Teaching and Learning with a focus on ECE.
Experience in IECMH: I had have held almost every job in early childhood prior to coming to IECMH. I’ve started as an aide in a school age program, then moved on to be a floater in an ECE program, then an assistant teacher in infant classroom. I taught elementary grades as well as preschool, pre-K and infant/toddler. I also served as a director in small and large early learning programs. My previous role prior to IECMH was an Infant/Toddler Specialist where I worked to support infant/toddler programs around IECMH principles of building relationships and developmentally appropriate environments to reduce challenging behaviors and improve overall quality of care.
Something personal/fun fact: I was born and raised in the Ukraine and I speak fluent Russian and only some Ukrainian. I now live in Allentown with my husband, our two children and our new puppy. In my free time, I love spending time sharing home cooked meals with family and friends, reading, taking the puppy for walks, and exercising.
I live in: Lycoming County
Background: I received a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania. I then went on to earn a Director’s Credential from Pennsylvania College of Technology and a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from California University of Pennsylvania. I am endorsed as an Early Childhood Family Specialist through the Pennsylvania Association for Infant Mental Health.
Experience in IECMH: I’ve been working with children from over 15 years. What began as a love for the “older” elementary aged children who I could teach content knowledge to quickly turned into a passion for the “little ones” when I took a job as a toddler teacher so my young son could come to work with me. That joy and awe developing relationships and playing with those little ones spread to many years as a toddler teacher while earning advanced degrees and eventually becoming a Childcare Center Director. I happened to be in the right place at the right time to learn about IECMH and knew right then it was the job for me so I could combine all my passions for assisting children, families, and staff from many different locations into one role.
Something personal/fun fact: I live with my husband, two children, and two cats. We love spending time playing games, working on puzzles, and going on adventures as a family. My spare time is spent reading many books.
I live in Allegheny County
Background: I graduated with a degree in Elementary Education and a Certification in teaching K-6th grade. I also have a Private Academic Teaching Certification Nursery/Kindergarten and a Family Development Credential. I have been working in the field of early childhood education for 29 years.
Experience in IECMH: I transitioned into my role as an IECMH Consultant after working as a Technical Assistance Consultant in the Southwest region for University of Pittsburgh Office of Child Development. I have experience in many different positions in the early childhood field. I started my career as a preschool teacher and quickly transitioned to a center director. I worked in Head Start as an Early Learning Consultant, Home Visitor, Head Start teacher, and Education Advisor. I have experience as Director and Education Coordinator of a childcare center for medically fragile children. I also have experience as a TSS, Therapeutic Support Staff, supporting children with Autism. I love to share the experience and knowledge I gained working in each of these positions with the professionals and families I support in my role as an IECMH Consultant.
Something personal/fun fact: I love spending time with my family. I live with my husband, two children, and sweet dog Dixie. I am addicted to sweets and coffee! I like to run to relieve stress.
I live in: St. Marys, Pennsylvania, Elk County
Background: I graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Lock Haven University in Early Childhood Education. I worked diligently to get my master’s degree in early childhood education from Grand Canyon University in 2018.
Experience in IECMH: My Early Childhood Education background began when I was the Director of the Ridgway YMCA for seven years. While working with parents, I eventually took a position as Parents As Teacher Educator for Dickinson Mental Health. In that job, I wore a variety of hats and had various experiences in the field of Early Childhood Education. One of my jobs as an educator was to work with child care programs. While working with programs, it made me realize that my heart was in child care.
Eventually, I obtained a job for the Northwest Institute of Research as a STARS Manager and Infant Toddler Consultant.
When the state structure of child care changed, I applied for the job of Infant Early Childhood Mental Health position. I have been working in this position for almost two years. Reflecting on all my job experience, I have grown throughout the years, and I have appreciated all my career experiences.
Something personal/fun fact: I am married to my husband, Jim. I have two children: Michaela and Rachael. I enjoy being with family and friends. I love going on walks and exercising.
I live in: Allegheny County
Background: I earned my degree in Elementary Education and taught for a couple years prior to returning to school to obtain my master’s in clinical counseling. I am currently working on my PhD in Counselor Education.
Experience in IECMH: After doing direct therapy for many years, I transitioned to the role of IECMH Consultant about 10 years ago. The practice of infant mental health was new to me but has become my passion. This role is a great fit because it blends both my teaching and counseling backgrounds!
Something personal/fun fact: I live in Pittsburgh with my three children, all officially teenagers! We have one dog and three cats. A favorite pastime is heading out with my youngest and exploring the city. I am a fan of photography and the city provides a great background.
I live in: Erie County
Background: B.S. in Early Childhood/Elementary Education from Edinboro University; MA in Early Childhood Education from University of Phoenix
Experience in IECMH: I became an IECMH consultant after 19 years being in the ECE field being a infant/toddler teacher, a preschool teacher in a behavioral center, a home visitor and the lead teacher in a Head Start classroom for 15 of those years. I love being an IECMH consultant because I am very passionate about helping children, families and ECE professionals connect to help their children be successful. Being a mom myself, we need to stick together and help each other navigate the joys and struggles of raising children.
Something personal/fun fact: I have been married for 24 years to my husband Jay and I have three children, Austin, Ryan and Olivia. I enjoy reading, putting together 1000 pc. puzzles with my daughter and watching my children in all their extracurricular activities.
I live in: Erie County, PA
Background: I graduated from California University of PA with a Bachelor degree in Elementary Education. I followed this up by attending Clarion University to obtain an Early Childhood Education Certification. I received a Master Degree in Early Childhood Education in Spring 2020 from Grand Canyon University.
Experience in IECMH: I transitioned into my role as an IECMH Consultant after being a Quality Coach for an Early Learning Resource Center. I believe that the capacities of being a Head Start teacher, Pre-K Counts Supervisor and Daycare Director in different early childhood programs guides me in the support of building relationships with others and being there to actively listen so that I can support the teaching staff that I work with.
Something personal/fun fact: I enjoy shopping and decorating my home during my spare time. I also enjoy cooking and making new recipes for my husband and 3 children.
I live in: Allegheny County
Background: I am originally from Puerto Rico and received a BA in psychology from La Roche College, PA in 1995. I furthered my studies at Duquesne University, PA achieving a MsEd in School and Community Counseling in 1998 and received PA National Board Counselors Certification in 2002. I became a Licensed Professional Counselor in 2004 and completed the Infant Mental Health Certificate Program at Chatham University, PA in 2011. I became a PA Quality Assurance (PQAS) instructor and a PLAY Project Certified Consultant in 2012.
Experience in IECMH: Prior to my IECMH work, I worked with school aged children, I felt we needed to reach children and families in Kindergarten. Upon entering the ECE, IECMH world I quickly learned Kindergarten is too late! We need to reach Mom during pregnancy, infants at birth, toddlers in ECE and preschooler before they go on to Kindergarten. In my 11 years of IECMH work I have learned Flip it, CD, TCIT, Circle of Security and many more wonderful strategies that target our main goal in IECMH; relationships!
Something personal/fun fact: I am a daughter, sister, aunt, wife, mom to 3 amazing kiddos, new puppy and friend. I work for quality moments with family and friends that nurture my spirit. I love what I do for a living and balance life’s challenges through art, dance and rich relationships.
I live in: Clearfield County
Background: I received my Bachelor’s Degree from IUP in Child Development/Family Relations and my Master’s Degree from Liberty University in Human Services with an emphasis in Executive Leadership.
Experience in IECMH: I have had a wide array of experiences ranging from child care worker, private duty child care/nanny, Head Start Home Visitor & Teacher and Child Care Center Director. Immediately preceding my work with IECMH Consultation I worked for the Regional Key as a Quality Coach supporting providers throughout several counties in Western PA. I started with IECMH in July 2017 and I love being able to connect with teachers and families in support of young children.
Something personal/fun fact: My husband and I have two daughters and two granddaughters who fill our lives with joy beyond words. Our household also includes two cats and two dogs. In my spare time I enjoy crocheting and researching my family history with a passion for genealogy.
I live in: Philadelphia
Background: Both my undergrad and graduate degrees are in the field of social work. I earned my bachelor’s degree from Temple University and my Master of social work degree from Widener University.
Experience in IECMH: I am new to IECMHC but have been working in some capacity with children, adolescents and/or families for 7 years. Some of my experience includes work in a developmental pediatrician’s office, time as a pregnancy and parenting educator, a mental health worker as well as a counselor. After several years of providing direct service/therapy I decided to transition to IECMHC.
Something personal/fun fact: When I’m not working, I enjoy spending time with my family which includes my partner John and our children Ayden, Ashton and Avery.
I live in: Montgomery County
Background: My work in child psychology began with graduate work in Clinical Developmental Psychology at Bryn Mawr College. Prior to this, I had studied American Literature in college and completed a post-baccalaureate program in Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, where my favorite class was Child Psychology—I fell in love with the field of early childhood and made a career shift to working with children and families.
Experience in IECMH: I have worked with parents and children in clinical research projects at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Temple University, and the University of Pennsylvania. Before joining the PA Key, I spent 10 years working with families of young children at the Child & Parent Center of the Hall-Mercer Community Behavioral Health Center at Pennsylvania Hospital. I joined the PA Key as an Early Childhood Mental Health Consultant in 2016.
I am also the mother of child with special learning needs, who is thriving today because of the dedication of the early intervention and special education community. I believe that Infant-Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation helps caregivers, teachers, and parents to create a vital network of support with each other. Watching my own children grow, I have found that it truly does take a village to raise a child. For me, IECMH work is about helping to build that village.
Something personal/fun fact: I grew up in Delaware County and I am a “soccer mom” to two teenaged children. Even though I spend most of my time watching my children play sports, I love art, music, and dance and I’m happiest at an art museum, ballet, or theater.
I live in: Montgomery County
Background: I graduated with a degree in Drama before working my way through most of the ECE field and eventually getting my Masters in ECE and Certification in Teaching PreK-3.
Experience in IECMH: I transitioned into the IECMH role after being a Quality Coach for the Southeast Region for 4 years and then an Infant Toddler specialist for 1 year. I had previously taught Pre-K for many years. Because of this, my favorite part of IECMH is connecting and building relationships with the teachers I work with.
Something personal/fun fact: I live with my husband Lee and my two daughters, Bryer and Edie. When I’m not doing consultation, I love hiking, going on adventures, exercising and reading. My favorite food is pizza and I am a dessert junkie.
I live in: Montgomery County
Background: I graduated with a Masters in ECE and Bachelors in Psychology.
Experience in IECMH: I transitioned into the IECMH role after being a Center Director for a Early Head Start and Head Start program for a few years. I had previously taught Pre-K, been a home–based visitor, and after school youth worker, for many years in different states.
Something personal/fun fact: I am a Dominican vegan living with my lifelong partner and our 1 yr old puppy named Johnny. I enjoy cooking, anything outdoors, boxing, and traveling.
I live in: Montgomery County
Background: I graduated with a Bachelors degree in Social Science with a Concentration in Education.
Experience in IECMH: I transitioned to the IECMH role after being a Keystone STARS Quality Coach for 4 years. Prior to that I have held many different roles within licensed programs in the Southeast area of Pa including Director, Assistant Director and teacher.
Something personal/fun fact: I live with my wonderful husband, Shawn and two very lively and different girls, Ellie and Lilith. We love spending time together as a family outdoors and I like to listen to music, do word searches, run and exercise.
I live in: Chester County
Background: I am originally from Buenos Aires and earned my Bachelor of Arts in Educational Psychology from Universidad Catolica Argentina. After relocating to the USA, I furthered my education with a Masters in Autism from ITEAP and a Masters in Counseling Psychology from Immaculata University.
Experience in IECMH: I have worked with children for over 20 years in many different roles and settings. I have held positions in teaching, early intervention, outpatient therapy and mobile therapy. These jobs have enabled me to work in pre-schools, elementary schools, specialized schools as well as in home and outpatient locations. I am trained to work with different approaches such as ABA, DIR/Floortime and IFC (Intensive Family Coaching). I have enjoyed and learnt from each of these jobs, which together, have provided me with the tools, skills, understanding and compassion that I use to guide my work as a consultant.
Something personal/fun fact: As previously mentioned, I am from Argentina, my husband is British, and we have two American children, Matias and Zoey. I’m very grateful for all the opportunities and friends the US has given me in the last 15 years. Whenever possible, I love to travel, visit family and indulge myself with empanadas and anything with dulce de leche!