Senior Instructor Julia Koumbassa

University of Michigan, United States
Julia Koumbassa has been working in the field of Early Childhood Education for almost 25 years - as a leader, teacher, trainer and parent educator.

Julia has a passion for bringing new understandings and perspectives to the work and finds joy in helping educators grow and thrive.

More recently, Julia has developed a keen interest in Learning Stories. She has visited Aotearoa New Zealand twice.

ECE Consultant Nicole Talarico

Melbourne, Australia
As the Principal Facilitator at Talarico Consulting, Nicole has been active in the early childhood sector for over 20 years.

Best known as an advocate for professionalism and children’s rights. Nicole has worked in tertiary supervision, managing local government children’s services teams, and as an ECE consultant and trainer at Gowrie Victoria. Nicole is currently a mentor for Semann & Slattery, and she specialises in helping teams create and maintain a positive workplace culture and community engagement.

Nicole’s coaching strategies have been outlined in a range of early childhood publications, with particular reference to educational leadership, managing teams to value ethical decision-making in curricula, environmental education, and sustainability.

Nicole is a mother of four, and also the founding Director of Medical Action Bag, supporting first aid and environmental practices in Australia and New Zealand.

Learn more at her website here.

Senior Instructor Allyson Montana

New York, United States
Allyson has a Masters in Education and is currently working on her PhD. She has spent many years in the classroom and the last two years as the PD Director at Educa.

Allyson has presented on Learning Stories and other ECE PD at a number of conferences, including the McCormick Institute's Leadership Conference, the SALSA Learning Story Conference, and Head Start and Hilltop.

Allyson has two children, and is a fierce advocate for quality early childhood education.

Associate Professor Annie White, PhD

California, United States
Dr. Annie White is an Assistant Professor with the Early Childhood Studies program at California State University, Channel Islands where she teaches early childhood courses.

Dr. White has conducted research in the USA on Learning Stories with Head Start programs, homeless shelter child care centers, infant and toddler programs, and diverse family child care homes.

Senior Instructor Ali Porteous

Wellington, New Zealand
With 18 years of Early Childhood teaching experience, Ali is now a teacher and trainer at Ngaio Childspace, where she has lots of fun with getting to know the interests and passions of her tamariki. She also does research, trains teachers, and facilitates courses in Peaceful Curriculum design. Among her many educational interests are the importance of nature, curriculum planning, and writing Learning Stories.

When she is not teaching or looking after her two small children, she loves travelling the country and helping other teachers learn about what can make assessments great.

Senior Instructor Isauro Escamilla

Dr. Isauro M. Escamilla, born and raised in Veracruz, Mexico, is an experienced Spanish/English dual language public school teacher at Las Americas Early Education Center, San Francisco Unified School District. He has published on inquiry and multilingualism and is a co-author of Learning Stories and Teacher Inquiry Groups: Reimagining Teaching and Assessment in Early Childhood Education (NAEYC, 2021). He is a Lecturer at San Francisco State University and the Vice-President of Supporting the Advancement of Learning Stories in America (www.salsa-global.org). Growing up in Veracruz, he spent his early childhood years close to the beach. On Saturday mornings he and his cousins would be playfully helping fishermen pull their fishing nets out of the water for a chance to get a few fresh fish that his mom would clean, cook and eat for lunch. Playing on the beach on Saturday mornings is something he will always remember.