Our Team

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Amy Heller, M.S.

Amy Heller has a Master's Degree in Early Childhood Special Education. She was a preschool teacher for 12 years and spent three years as education specialist for a Head Start in New York, where she helped implement the HighScope curriculum. She also has been a Child Development Associate (SDA) instructor and advisor. Amy has coached teachers on all aspects of early childhood, including planning developmentally appropriate activities, inclusion, transitions, behavior issues, and room arrangement. She is a certified Pre-K, K-3, and Upper Elementary CLASS Observer and a reliable observer for HighScope Preschool PQA and ELLCO. Amy’s favorite word in the English language is “unitard” as it is hilarious and she tries to use it whenever possible.

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Ann Rosen, M.A.T.

Ann Rosen, former Co-Director of The Family Connection, has a Masters of Art in Teaching and has been working in this field for over forty-five years. She has experience as both a preschool teacher and director and developed and directed the first after school program for South Bend Schools. She has proficiency with the PQA, PreK and K-3 CLASS assessment, the Classroom Practices Observation Measure and the Early Literacy and Language Classroom Assessment. Together with Sue Christensen, she has conducted early childhood needs assessments, written successful Federal grants for schools and family-school partnerships, and co-authored Partners in Learning, a statewide newsletter on family engagement in education. Ann has been coaching and training teachers for over 15 years on a wide range of topics, including science, math, early literacy, concept development, and partnering in play.  Ann’s favorite quote is "It is not your responsibility to finish the work [of perfecting the world], but you are not free to desist from it either.” Rabbi Tarfon

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Beth O’Connor, M.A., Co-Director

Beth O’Connor, Senior Curriculum Specialist of The Family Connection, has a B.A. in Behavioral Science and a Master’s Degree in Education (School Psychology). She has worked in elementary schools and preschools since 1982, including experience as director of an early childhood program. For many years, she taught developmental and lifespan psychology at Saint Mary’s College. Beth is a Certified HighScope Trainer and reliable in Infant, Toddler, Pre-K, K-3, and Upper Elementary CLASS. Since joining The Family Connection in 2005, she has coached in all areas of early childhood education, including literacy, adult-child interactions, challenging behavior, and the impact of early stress and trauma, and is our primary trainer for the HighScope infant-toddler curriculum. In addition to her work with The Family Connection, Beth is also a developmental consultant to Sassy Baby Products. When she was 5 she was pretty sure she would be an Olympic ice skater, and she still enjoys the exhilaration of skating on thin ice.

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Chris Mann, B.A.

Chris Mann has her bachelor’s degree and is a Certified HighScope Trainer. She has seven years experience as a preschool teacher in a HighScope classroom. Among other duties, Chris conducts PQA and ELLCO assessments and coaches both Pre-K and Infant/Toddler teachers. She is also a reliable Pre-K and K-3 CLASS assessor. In the office Chris is in charge of PQA and ELLCO assessment scheduling as well as assessment data input.  She is also the scholarship coordinator for the Education Initiative of the Community Foundation of St. Joseph County. Chris’ favorite quote is “Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” -Theodore Roosevelt

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Stephanie Hooks, M.S., Co-Director

Stephanie Hooks, Co-Director of The Family Connection, has a Master’s Degree in Education with a focus on Early Childhood. She is a Certified HighScope Trainer and reliable Pre-K, K-3, and Upper Elementary CLASS, ELLCO and PQA assessor with 12 years experience as a PreK teacher. Stephanie has been working with The Early Years Count since 2007 and currently oversees program operations. Stephanie has coached teachers on all aspects of the HighScope curriculum and led training on a wide range of topics, including classroom environment, greeting time, outdoor time, social studies, creative arts, and diversity in the classroom. In another life, we are pretty sure she was an astronomer because the moon stops her in her tracks every time.

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Stephanie Wojtkowski, B.A.

Stephanie Wojtkowski has a B.A. in Education and directed a registered ministry for 15 years. She’s also had experience working as a lead teacher for two and three-year-olds. Stephanie conducts classroom and agency PQAs and is a reliable Infant, Toddler, K-3 and Upper elementary CLASS assessor.  At The Family Connection office, she inputs CLASS assessment data and processes ECAP grants. Stephanie’s favorite quote is “Often when you think you are at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something else.” -Fred Rogers

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Sue Christensen, M.S. Ed.

Sue Christensen, former Co-Director of The Family Connection, has a Master’s Degree in Education (Counseling and Human Services). She is a Certified Trainer for McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership and for the Early Language and Literacy Classroom Observation (ELLCO). Together with Ann Rosen, she has conducted early childhood needs assessments, written successful Federal grants for schools and family-school partnerships, and co-authored Partners in Learning, a statewide newsletter on family engagement in education. She has experience teaching at the elementary level and worked with mothers of infants and toddlers for many years. Sue serves on the St. Joseph County Ready To Grow Early Childhood Coalition Advisory Committee and is part of the Family Connection leadership team. Sue’s favorite children’s book is Goodnight, Richard Rabbit, sadly, so sadly, out of print.