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Meet Our Team

BBF employees form a statewide network of early childhood professionals, working both in communities and on the state level. We use a collective impact model to work toward meeting the diverse needs of Vermont’s young children and families.

 

Morgan Crossman

Executive Director

As the Executive Director of BBF, Morgan is responsible for leading the development and ongoing work of the statewide network that serves Vermont children from birth to age 8. Her deep background in research informs her leadership of Vermont Insights, BBF’s data platform.

Dr. Morgan Crossman, a native Vermonter from Rutland, is the Executive Director of Building Bright Futures (BBF). Morgan holds a PhD in Social Policy from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University, specializing in Child, Youth and Family Policy as well as Disability Policy, and a Masters in Applied Developmental and Educational Psychology from the Lynch School of Education and Human Development at Boston College. Prior to joining BBF, she was appointed to the Harvard-wide Pediatric Health Services Research Fellowship at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital for Children. There she led many research studies focused on service integration and improving care transitions for children with special health care needs and their families as they navigate multiple complex service systems over the life course. During this time, she also taught two graduate classes as Boston University’s School of Public Health as an adjunct faculty member: Children with Special Health Care Needs and Preventing Mental Health Disorders, a Life Course Approach.

She previously served as the Clinical Research Program Manager for the Laboratories of Cognitive Neuroscience at Boston Children’s Hospital within the Division of Developmental Medicine. In this role, she submitted multi-million-dollar, federally funded grants and coordinated the implementation of multi-site, national research projects focused on families of children, youth, and adults with autism spectrum disorders and other neurodevelopmental and related disabilities, such as Rett syndrome, Down syndrome, and Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC). She was also trained to conduct clinical assessments of children using the Mullen Scales of Early Learning and the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule.

To this work she brings a strong background in the quantitative and qualitative research methods necessary to critically examine issues for Vermont’s youngest and most vulnerable children and families. Morgan has specific expertise in child development, maternal and child health and well-being, early intervention and early childhood education for children with disabilities and special health care needs. Her work emphasizes the importance of early childhood development through the life course theory which is a layered conceptual framework that can be used to understand factors that contribute to optimal health and well-being. This approach examines how patterns or trajectories develop over a life time, across generations and within many contexts, suggesting that exposures and contexts during early childhood influence later health and well-being. Stemming from this lens, Morgan views families as the most critical context for child development. Morgan’s career has always been informed by a social justice framework with a focus on the promotion of equitable outcomes for families and children.

As Executive Director of Building Bright Futures, Morgan partners with stakeholders in early care, education, health and mental health sectors to advance the goals and strategies of Vermont’s Early Childhood Action Plan to impact conditions for Vermont’s children birth to age 8. She is also responsible for advising the Governor and Legislature on matters of early childhood in Vermont using data-driven approach.

Morgan also manages the comprehensive infrastructure of a statewide and 12 regional councils and works with individuals, organizations and agencies to develop best approaches for an integrated system that advances data-driven progress for all Vermont’s young children and their families. In addition to her work at the systems level, Morgan oversees BBF’s data platform, Vermont Insights, a powerful tool for BBF and its stakeholder network as they seek to understand the challenges and successes of children and families in the state and craft strategies that turn the curve on some of the biggest hurdles facing Vermont families. Through collaborations with partners across the state of Vermont, Morgan seeks to build the capacity of BBF to serve as the state’s neutral convener of key stakeholders, resources and the most up-to-date, high quality, accurate data to inform key policy recommendations that will ultimately improve the system of services for children and families.

Morgan is currently residing in South Burlington with her husband, Chris and daughter, Amelie.

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Beth Truzansky

Deputy Director

As ECAP Coordinator, Beth maintains the vision and strategic direction outlined in the Early Childhood Action Plan, Vermont’s strategic plan to improve the lives of children and families. She builds  connections and thoughtful integration across the 7 Action Plan committees by convening committee leaders, ensuring a data informed process, and maintaining an annual implementation cycle.

Amanda Biggs

Regional Coordinator, Chittenden

As the BBF Chittenden Regional Coordinator, Amanda seeks purposeful opportunities to develop strong connections with community partners, caregivers, and organizations that result in systems that better serve young children and families. Collaborative Leadership is the thread that weaves together her career and aspirations – she truly believes that our communities are strongest when we all work together. Amanda holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Johnson State College, and is currently working towards her Master’s in Education at UVM. In addition to her work at BBF, Amanda also teaches dance to young children, and visits Vermont’s beautiful mountains to snowboard as often as she can in the winter. She resides in Underhill with her husband and two daughters.

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Darla Senecal

Regional Coordinator, Rutland and Addison

Darla serves as the Regional Coordinator for both Addison and Rutland counties. She works to support collaboration between families, educators, community partners and others dedicated to creating the best outcomes for children and families. Darla has spent much of her career working in community service, first as a volunteer, then as Recreation Director for 17 years, and most recently as a newly elected Selectboard member in the Town of Bristol. Working on projects that bring communities together is when Darla finds herself most energized. Darla can often be found working in her gardens, regularly accompanied by her cat Angus.

Learn more about Rutland

and

Addison

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Dora Levinson

Regional Coordinator, Southeast Vermont and Policy Analyst

Dora has two roles with BBF that inform and enrich each other. As Southeast Vermont Regional Coordinator, she supports collaboration and communication among families, organizations, agencies, and partners who are all committed to making the region the best place for children and families. As Policy Analyst, Dora works with the most high quality, up-to-date data and evidence to inform policy and practice. She continues to find inspiration in seeing the impact that effective policies and community collaboration have in shaping the lives of children and families. Dora enjoys spending time with her dogs – hiking, cuddling, and even tolerating their zoom bombing.

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Ellen Taetzsch

Regional Coordinator, Springfield Area and Northern Windsor/Orange

Ellen is the Regional Coordinator for Northern Windsor and Orange and Springfield Area. She collaborates with partners and families within these communities to support children under 8 and their families. Ellen has worked in community development both domestically and in Africa. She enjoys seeing the impact communities can have when working together. Ellen enjoys being outdoors with her dogs and testing out new recipes in the kitchen.

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Jay Austin

Finance Manager

As the Finance Manager for Building Bright Futures, Jay supports the fiscal management of grants awarded to BBF, preparation for the annual financial audit and tax return, reports on BBF’s financial operations, and the annual preparation of BBF’s organizational budget. Jay has worked for 40 years in for-profit and nonprofit organizations in Vermont. He enjoys spending time with his wife, three adult children, his grandson, and many relatives. Whether it’s spending time exploring Vermont during the annual family car tour or being outdoors in the woods, hills and fields of the Northeast Kingdom or Pleasant Valley he enjoys being outside during every season.

Katie Mobbs

Office Manager

As the Office Manager for BBF, Katie wears many hats and tasks range from accounts payable and receivable to events planning to human resources to maintaining day to day operations for BBF. Katie has over 20 years of experience in this field; before coming to work for BBF she worked for the Visiting Nurse Association for many years. In Katie’s free time she enjoys spending time with her family exploring the woods of the Northeast Kingdom.

Linda Michniewicz

Regional Coordinator, Caledonia & S. Essex and Orleans & N. Essex

Linda is the Building Bright Futures Regional Coordinator for Caledonia, Essex, and Orleans Counties. She has devoted her career to early childhood education starting as a preschool teacher, Head Start director and most recently the Early Childhood Program Coordinator for the Caledonia North Supervisory Union. Linda serves on the Board of Directors for Northeast Kingdom Learning Services, the Lake Region Union High School, and elementary middle school Boards. She is also a Justice of the Peace and on the Board of Civil Authority for the Town of Westmore where she resides. She enjoys living in the NEK and taking advantage of all the great outdoor natural resources it has to offer!

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Liz Hamel

Regional Coordinator, Franklin Grand Isle

Acting as a supportive and community-based resource and partner, Liz holds a dual role of BBF Regional Coordinator and Children’s Integrated Services Coordinator for Franklin and Grand Isle Counties, embedded in the local Parent Child Center of NCSS. Liz’s role allows her to act as a direct resource and connector for local community partners in all areas of the early childhood system. She brings over 6 years of direct service experience, 2 years (and counting!) of macro-level systems knowledge and a social work lens to the work she does for children and families. Liz loves to meet new people, be outdoors in beautiful Vermont, and all things art-related!

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Mariah McGill

Regional Coordinator, Central Vermont and Lamoille Valley

Mariah is the regional coordinator for Central Vermont and the Lamoille Valley. Throughout her career, she has been focused on addressing the needs of children and families, first as an early educator and later as a policy and systems analyst. She began her career as a preschool teacher in Middlebury before attending law school in the Boston area. After graduation, Mariah engaged in extensive research and scholarship on health, health care, education and the role of human rights. Prior to arriving at BBF, Mariah served as the Director of the Early Childhood Leadership Institute at the Snelling Center for Government and ran a small consulting practice. Mariah lives in Waitsfield with her husband and daughter. She loves to swim in the many swimming holes of the Mad River Valley and bake cookies with her daughter.

Learn more about Mariah’s regions:

Central Vermont Region

Lamoille Valley Region

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Robin Stromgren

Regional Coordinator, Bennington

Robin is the Regional Coordinator for the Bennington region and has worked for BBF since before it inception with Act 104. Bennington uses its regional plan to guide the work of the Council. Robin believes it is the interface of the early childhood sectors that makes the regional work productive. Robin loves to travel to new places and is always trying something new. She took up karate in January 2020. Robin believe that it is important to gain knowledge while learning new skills. It is important to have balance in life and work.

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