Supporting our Future: School and Community Collaboration for Child Health and Success
Thursday, May 18, 2023
High Country Conference Center – Flagstaff, AZ
3:00 pm – 3:30 pm – Check in
3:30 pm – 3:45 pm – Welcome & Introductions
- Steve Palmer (ABRC Co-lead, workshop host) – Professor – NAU Department of Health Sciences
- Kim Austin (workshop host) – Safe Routes to School Coordinator – Coconino County Health & Human Services
- Theresa Kulpinski (workshop host) – Program Manager – Coconino County Health & Human Services
- John Garcia – Program Director – Arizona Biomedical Research Centre (ABRC)
3:45 pm – 4:30 pm – The Challenge
- Keri Schoeff – Title IV-A Safe, Healthy & Active Students Specialist – Arizona Department of Education
- Monica Huber – Health Coach & Interim Physical Education Specialist – Tuba City Regional Health Care
- Elena Curley – Diabetes Prevention Coordinator – Tuba City Regional Health Care
- Jessica Perfette – Child Fatality Review Program Manager – Arizona Department of Health Services
4:30 pm – 5:15 pm – Nutrition Panel
- Steve Palmer (moderator) – Professor – NAU Department of Health Sciences
- Barbara-Ann Heerkens – Clinical Dietitian – Northern Arizona Healthcare
- Taryn Kunkel – Food Service Director – Flagstaff Unified School District
- Theresa Kulpinski – Program Manager – Coconino County Health & Human Services
5:15 pm – 6:00 pm – Physical Activity Panel
- Steve Palmer (moderator) – Professor – NAU Department of Health Sciences
- Monica Eklund – Professor – ASU – Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College
- Kim Austin – Safe Routes to School Coordinator – Coconino County Health & Human Services
- Martin Ince – Multi-modal Transportation Planner – Flagstaff Metropolitan Planning Organization
6:00 pm – 6:45 pm – Mental Health Panel
- Tori Damjanovic (moderator) – Assistant Professor in Early Childhood Education/Special Education – NAU College of Education
- Rebecca Cirzan – Director of the Early Learning and Development Center – NAU College of Education
- Jamie Smith – School Counselor – DeMiguel, Flagstaff Unified School District
- Rene RedDay – Engagement Consultant – Building Community Flagstaff
- Virginia Watahomigie – Executive Director – Coconino Coalition for Children and Youth
6:45 pm – 7:00 pm – Communication with People
- Noelle Veilleux – Population Health Dietician – Arizona Department of Health Services
7:00 pm – 7:30 pm – Wrap up Presentations – Networking Opportunity
- Hors D’oeuvres and Refreshments will be served
Steve Palmer, PhD – Professor, ABRC Co-Lead – NAU Department of Health Sciences
Steve Palmer, PhD, is a professor of health sciences in the physical education teacher education program at Northern Arizona University. Steve earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and California Single Subject Credential in Physical Education through Chico State University in Chico, California. Steve taught K-8 physical education in the San Jose, CA area at three schools. In 1998, he attended Virginia Tech and completed his doctorate in Curriculum & Instruction. Steve has been faculty at NAU since 2001. His professional and research interests focus on physical activity promotion through school physical education. After 9 years serving as associate dean of the College of Health and Human Services, Steve returned to a faculty appointment in 2021 training physical education teachers. Dr. Palmer believes that quality physical education teachers guide youngsters to become and remain physically active for life – this is accomplished through pedagogical content knowledge grounded in research on physical activity behavior.
Kim Austin, MS – Safe Routes to School Coordinator – Coconino County Health & Human Services
Kim has been an Injury Prevention Public Educator for the Coconino County Health and Human Services for the last 15 years, as well as a part-time instructor for NAU College of Health Science. She was the Coordinator for the Coconino County Safe Routes to School Program from 2007-2011. Kim was a member of the City of Flagstaff Pedestrian Advisory Committee from 2008-2017 and is currently a member of the Bicycle Advisory Committee. She is the Treasurer of Safe Kids Coconino County, a League of American Bicyclists Instructor and assists Flagstaff Biking Organization with their bike education for both youth and adults. Kim loves to ride her bike to work and walk around the Flagstaff area, and hopes many other kids and adults will join her!!
Theresa Kulpinski – Program Manager – Coconino County Health & Human Services
Theresa Kulpinski has worked with Coconino County Health & Human Services for twenty years. She is the Program Manager for the AZ Health Zone and First Things First Quality First programs. She came to Flagstaff from Pennsylvania, receiving a BS in Health & Physical Education and Dance from Trenton State College. Before working at Coconino County, career opportunities were with Flagstaff Unified School District as a physical education teacher and basketball coach and with the City of Flagstaff Parks and Recreation overseeing adult and children’s athletics.
Theresa works with a great team throughout the county and enjoys collaborating with partnering schools, early childcare programs, and communities offering support and resources towards policy, systems, and environment change to impact the overall health of Coconino County positively.
Whenever the opportunity arises, Theresa enjoys spending time with her family and friends, hiking a mountain, kayaking a lake, or traveling. She also loves volunteering at Hope Cottage or with the United Way in her spare time.
Keri Schoeff – Title IV-A Safe, Healthy & Active Students Specialist – Arizona Department of Education
Keri Schoeff currently serves as the Title IV-A Safe, Healthy & Active Students Specialist for the Arizona Department of Education where she provides leadership and professional development on all components of Title IV-A funding and programming, specifically ensuring that every student is provided with a safe, healthy, active, and supportive learning environment. Keri has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Physical Education and Health Education. Her prior work experience includes teaching health and physical education to secondary students, providing leadership on the USDA’s Child Nutrition Programs, and the CDC’s and ASCD’s Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) Model. Keri has been a SHAPE America member since 2011 and has served as a national CSPAP Trainer, a State and District Leaders Special Interest Group Co-Chair, and Past President of Arizona Health and Physical Education. Keri currently serves as the SHAPE America Western District President, and on the SHAPE America Physical Activity Council. Keri has a passion for Health, Physical Education, and Physical Activity, specifically advocating for access to quality programs for all students.
Monica Huber – Health Coach & Interim Physical Education Specialist – Tuba City Regional Health Care
My name is Monica Huber, I am from Tuba City, AZ and have been working with Tuba City Regional Healthcare Corporation, Health Promotion Disease Prevention Program for 4 years. With our program I serve as a Health Coach in implementing our Childhood Obesity Invention Program, Take CHARGE. Along with that role for the past 2 years have been filling the role of the Physical Education Specialist, where I work along side our School Health Team Leaders to focus on increasing physical activity, nutrition education, and disease prevention within the schools.
Elena Curley – Diabetes Prevention Coordinator – Tuba City Regional Health Care
My name is Elena Curley, I am from Kayenta, AZ and have been working with the TCRHCC Health Promotion Disease Prevention Program in Tuba City, AZ for the past 9 years. Within the past 9 years I have worked with the Tuba City HPDP Program in implementing our Childhood Obesity Intervention Program – Take C.H.A.R.G.E. for youth between the ages of 9 to 12 years old focusing on physical activity, nutrition and goal setting to improve patient health outcomes.
Jessica Perfette – Child Fatality Review Program Manager
Mrs. Perfette is a highly experienced public health professional with ten years of experience in the field. Throughout her career, she has demonstrated a deep commitment to improving the health and well-being of communities through evidence-based interventions and policies.
Mrs. Perfette has a strong background in injury prevention and health promotion and has worked on numerous public health initiatives at the local, state, and national levels. She has also collaborated with various stakeholders, including health providers, community leaders, and policymakers, to develop and implement effective public health programs and policies.
Mrs. Perfette has a Master’s degree in Public Health from Grand Canyon University and has completed advanced training in various public health disciplines, including biostatistics, health policy, and health communication. She is also an active member of several professional organizations, where she stays up-to-date on the latest trends and best practices in public health.
With her extensive experience and expertise, Mrs. Perfette is a valuable asset to the Arizona Child Fatality Review Program. She is committed to promoting health equity and reducing health disparities and fatalities, and is passionate about improving the health outcomes of vulnerable and marginalized populations.
Barbara-Ann Heerkens – Clinical Dietitian – Northern Arizona Healthcare
Barbara-Ann Heerkens is currently a Clinical Dietitian at Flagstaff Medical Center and works with all acute and chronic age groups and an adjunct professor at NAU for an intro to nutrition course. Public health and dietetics is her second career. She originally became interested in public health and nutrition education while teaching as a science teacher in low-income schools in Flagstaff and Tucson. She also worked for Proximity Learning Incorporated which filled high-need science positions in the south. While teaching Biology Anatomy and Physiology, she saw how the lack of scientific understanding and health support contributed to disordered eating, eating disorders, and body dysmorphia in her students. Anatomy and physiology helped students understand the value of their bodies and increased her students’ values for themselves. She has built several types of curricula and has created programs based on health and nutrition education for the Museum of Northern Arizona and Wolf Ridge Environmental Center as Director of Specialised Curriculum. During graduate school, Barbara-ann worked with the school district and the county to increase access to and learning about nutrition in childhood populations. She presented for the state’s SNAP-ed department on the breakdown of nutritional education in the state. She was eventually offered an RD and Assistant director position at FUSD nutritional services. During her time at FUSD, Barbara Ann focused on increasing the quality of meals and access to fruits and vegetables and reduced sugar options. She started the “What’s Eating You Article” and worked on the wellness committee. Well on the wellness committee, she pushed for the policy to be based on updated research on obesity and Health At Every Size, and encouraged the policy to move away from the focus on obesity to focusing on behavior.
Now at FMC, Barbara-Ann provides inclusive Health At Every Size medical nutrition therapy for youth with disordered eating patterns The behavior health units, and pediatric units. She also works with individuals who have illnesses very much exacerbated by the lack of nutritional access and knowledge. These experiences have reinvigorated her passion for preventive health education through childhood education and family support. She has made pushing for evidence-based nutritional education the focal point of her career. Her research interests include nutrition education, Motivational Interviewing, Health at Every Size, eating disorders among adolescents, and transgender health.
Taryn Kunkel – Food Service Director – Flagstaff Unified School District
I have spent the last 9.5 years working as an advocate for Child Nutrition Programs and a school nutrition professional. I am the Director of Dining Services for the Flagstaff Unified School District. I have been with the FUSD’s Food & Nutrition Services Department for 2 years. Prior to working at FUSD, I was a School Nutrition Programs Specialist with the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) for 5.5 years. My primary responsibilities included: conducting Administrative Reviews (audits) of the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program throughout the state of Arizona and serving as a state agency point of contact for 30+ School Food Authorities. I currently serve as the Engagement Chair on ADE’s School Nutrition Programs Advisory Council, a group of 12 school nutrition professionals who advise ADE on issues that impact growth, compliance, and nutrition integrity in Arizona school nutrition programs. As a community, it’s our responsibility to ensure that children in Flagstaff are exposed to healthy foods and consistently have healthy foods available to them.
Monica Eklund, PhD – Clinical Assistant Professor – ASU Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College
Dr. Monica Eklund is a clinical assistant professor in secondary education for the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University. Currently, Dr. Eklund holds the position of program strategist for the Physical Education Teacher Preparation department. Prior to Dr. Eklund’s appointment at Arizona State University, she was an instructor at Northern Arizona University in the Physical Education Teacher Preparation department. Dr. Eklund earned her PhD from Grand Canyon University in 2021. Dr. Eklund’s current line of research focuses on physical activity promotion in the academic classroom.
Martin Ince – Multimodal Transportation Planner – Flagstaff Metropolitan Planning Organization
Martin Ince is the multi-modal transportation planner for the City of Flagstaff, and is responsible for planning Flagstaff’s trails, bicycle and pedestrian facilities. He is also planner for the Flagstaff Urban Trails System (FUTS), a city-wide network of more than 50 miles of shared use pathways that are used extensively for commuting and recreation. Mr. Ince has been a city planner for more than 35 years, including 25 years in Flagstaff and 12 years in the Chicago area. He has a bachelor’s degree from Carleton College and a master’s degree in urban planning from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Rebecca Cirzan – Director of the Early Learning and Development Center – NAU College of Education
I have had a life-long passion for serving children, families and communities. This is fully reflected in my career. I have been in the education sector as a teacher, program director, coach, trainer, and mentor. I now am a director of several programs across several communities, providing high-impact outcomes and overseeing new and existing work expansions. My experience in leadership roles has led me to change systems and develop programs specific to improving child and family outcomes. My skills include supervisory experience, program development, grant-writing, budget management, fundraising, and establishing partnerships. At the heart of my success is my passion and drive to continuously improve in my work. I have been promoted at every organization I have ever worked for. I have made positive changes in every program I have touched. My work fulfils my need to serve others, and it is a core element of who I am.
Tori Damjanovic, PhD – Assistant Professor in Early Childhood Education/Special Education – NAU College of Education
Victoria (Tori) Damjanovic is an Assistant Professor in early childhood education and early childhood special education in the Department of Teaching and Learning as well as Educational Specialties. She began her career in early childhood as a preschool teacher for several years working with children of all ages birth-5 years. Upon completing her bachelor’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis at the University of North Texas, she worked as a Behavior Analyst for young children diagnosed with autism while working on her master’s degree in Development & Family Studies. She then began working with teachers and parents with various backgrounds as a coach and provider of professional development. Upon moving to Tampa, Florida she began working at Easter Seals as a Developmental Specialist. In this role, she worked with children and their families diagnosed with developmental delays, Head Start teachers, and other educators to provide support in the classroom and at home. This led her to pursue her Ph.D. at the University of South Florida in Curriculum and Instruction in Early Childhood Education. After completing her degree, she became the director of the exemplary teacher-educator laboratory preschool at USF. During this time, she coached pre-service and in-service teachers in areas such as documenting children’s learning, social-emotional development, content methods, and early childhood pedagogy. Her research explores in-service and pre-service teachers’ content and pedagogical knowledge, STEM in early childhood, communities of practice, and the role of documentation in child and teacher learning in early childhood contexts through dimensions of equity.
Jamie Smith – School Counselor – DeMiguel Elementary – Flagstaff Unified School District
Jamie has been School Counselor at DeMiguel Elementary School in Flagstaff Unified School District since 2004. She is also the Children’s Projects Coordinator through Northern Arizona Regional Behavioral Health Authority (NARBHA). She has her Master’s in Education School Counseling from Northern Arizona University and a Bachelor’s of Arts in Human Services from Colorado Mesa University.
Rene RedDay – Engagement Consultant – Building Community Flagstaff
Mrs. Rene RedDay, M.Ed., has 28 years of combined teaching, supervision, program development, and project coordination experience. She has worked for Malden Public School, NACOG Head Start, Candelen, Coconino County Education Service Agency, and Southwest Human Development. Rene co-chairs Arizona ACEs Consortium Resiliency Coordination Council. She also facilitates professional development opportunities for Arizona Adverse Childhood Experiences Consortium, Coconino Coalition for Children and Youth, Elevate PreK, and Prevent Child Abuse Arizona.
With a passion for strengthening families, community, and inter-agency collaborations, Rene launched a social- entrepreneurship, Building Community, focusing on increasing public engagement in program and community planning. Building Community supported Coconino Coalition for Children and Youth in expanding community leadership. Elevate PreK contracts with Building Community to develop, coordinate, and implement their Family Service Coordination Plan. Building Community also works on behalf of the Coconino Education Service Agency to facilitate dialogue among school-based administrators and educators.
Virginia Watahomigie – Executive Director – Coconino Coalition for Children and Youth
Virginia Watahomigie has worked in the child welfare, behavioral health, and prevention fields for two decades with expertise in trauma-informed and resiliency building systems, crisis de-escalation, leadership strategies, human stress, regulation, and behavior management. She is the Executive Director of the Coconino Coalition for Children & Youth, holds a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology and a master’s degree in administration/ leadership from Northern Arizona University. Her background includes work in a children’s residential treatment program and directing programs across five AZ counties that included: foster care, therapeutic foster care and ICPC (interstate compact).
Noelle Veilleux, RDN – Population Health Dietician – Arizona Department of Health Services
Noelle Veilleux Markham, RDN serves as the Population Health Dietitian at the Arizona Department of Health Services. Noelle has 9 years of experience as an RDN and has spent the entirety of her career in public health nutrition with a focus on nutrition messaging and policy, systems, and environmental change strategies. In her current role, Noelle leads the Emerging Nutrition Initiatives team in their collective efforts to shape health and nutrition messages that promote weight inclusion and resist stigmatizing language. Noelle is proud to be part of a team at the Arizona Department of Health Services that strives to influence the public health landscape to become more trauma-informed and grounded in health equity.