Meet our Presenters


Welcome Speakers: 

Nadene McKenzie Reid Chair, Executive Team, Stamford Cradle to Career 

Mayor Caroline Simmons City of Stamford 

Dr. Tamu Lucero – Superintendent, Stamford Public Schools 

Edith Presley – President, Stamford Cradle to Career 


CT Cradle to Careers Leads:

0-5 Early Childhood CAN Chairs:  

  • Penny LehmanDirector of Program Services, Children’s Learning Centers of Fairfield County. She manages the agency’s health, nutrition, family service, and data analytics departments.  With more than 29 years of experience in the field of early childhood and early education, Penny’s contributions include serving on CLC’s Program, Data and Technology, Family and Community Engagement, and Government Affairs and Advocacy Committees, 
  • Kendra Brown – Director of Early Childhood, Stamford Public Schools 


Early Grade Reading CAN Chairs:  

  • Amy Beldotti Associate Superintendent for Teaching and Learning, Stamford Public Schools. Since 2019, Ms. Beldotti has been responsible for developing and overseeing the curriculum renewal system, including alignment with standards and assessments, providing content expertise and support to schools, developing professional development and ensuring all students have access to necessary support and high-quality instruction.
  • Elizabeth McKay – Youth Services Supervisor, The Ferguson Library youth services librarian for over 20 years, works children from all ages, from birth through high school. Experience doing collaborative programming with various community partners such as the Board of Education, the YMCA, and the Boys and Girls Club and the Stamford Center for the Arts.
  • Melanie Amador – Parent Ambassador, Stamford Cradle to Career 


Transition to Postsecondary, College and Career CAN Chairs:  

  • Nehemie Moise Young – Is an alumna and the Director of Student and Family Support at Horizons at New Canaan Country School. She has over a decade of experience in the non-profit sector and is a native Norwalker and new puppy mom.
  • Dr. Claudia Berlage – Assistant Principal for Career Pathways, Workplace Learning & Apprenticeships for Stamford Public Schools.  She teaches research methods in the doctoral program of the University of Bridgeport and has worked in education for 30 years in Europe and in the United States. 
  • Michael Hernandez – Graduate Student, University of Chicago 
  • Lauren Scopaz Daunais, Vice President, Strategy & Operations, Stamford Cradle to Career 


Community Schools Breakout Presenters: 

  • Heather Macura Restorative Student Support Facilitator at Rippowam Middle School and previously a Special Education Teacher for 10 years both in and outside of Stamford Public Schools. Heather is also licensed by the International Institute of Restorative Practices and uses her training to support students and staff to make a positive impact on her school culture and climate. 
  • Lauren Scopaz Daunais – Vice President, Strategy & Operations, Stamford Cradle to Career 
  • Latisha Williams Middle School Director, ROSCCO. Latisha has 20 years of experience in education. She is currently the Middle School director for a nonprofit. She holds a Masters in Secondary Education from the University of Bridgeport.


Race Equity Breakout Presenters: 

  • Yolande Ford Senior Director, Stamford Cradle to Career 
  • Douglas LaustsenManager of Education and Community Impact, INTEMPO. Douglas is a musician and educator focused on using both of those roles to build stronger and more engaged communities. He worked for Paterson Public Schools, where he was the lead arts teacher for the district’s Academy of Performing Arts.
  • Katherine Murphy – Data Manager, Stamford Cradle to Career 


Youth Mental Health Breakout Presenters:

  • Edith Presley – President, Stamford Cradle to Career 
  • Jody Bishop-Pullan – Director, Stamford Department of Health
  • Julie Degennaro – Associate Executive Director, Domus Kids
  • Georgette Harrison – Director of Clinical and Community Partnerships, Child Guidance Center of Southern CT
  • Joe O’Callaghan – Department Head School Social Work, Stamford Public Schools
  • Dennis Torres –  Chief Health Officer, Family Centers
  • Denique Weidema-Lewis – Manager of Implementation and Collaborative Action, Norwalk ACTS
  • Maggie Young – Chief Recovery Officer, Liberation Programs


Family Support Breakout Presenters: 

Tida Infahsaeng Food Policy Director, United Way of Coastal and Western Connecticut

Megan Hadley – Community Impact Program Coordinator, United Way of Coastal and Western Connecticut