NH Preschool Special Education Professional Development Initiative


Mary Beth LaSalle – mbl@tds.net

Mary Beth has called NH home now for 37 years and terms it “one of the best things that ever happened to me!”   Mary Beth worked for 30+ years as a special education teacher and administrator in southern NH and New York State. She holds a BS degree in Elementary Education, N-8 from the College of White Plains of Pace University and a M.Ed. in Special Education and Learning Disabilities from the College of New Rochelle in New York.

Mary Beth was an adjunct professor of special education at Rivier (College) University and currently she is the Preschool Outcomes Measurement (POMs) Technical Assistance Consultant at the Bureau of Special Education at the NHDOE.  She also provides consultation, training and support to numerous school districts and private schools through Creative Educational Consulting, LLC.  In her free time Mary Beth enjoys meeting people, cooking, traveling and hiking.


Michelle Lewis – mlewis@picnh.org

Michelle grew up in northern NH and after living in different areas of the country she returned to NH to raise a family.  She holds a Master’s Degree in School Counseling and has worked with families and systems for nearly 20 years.  Michelle is a skilled facilitator, having successfully led numerous statewide initiatives focused on educating and promoting collaboration for student success.  She is experienced in working at the national, state and local levels and understands the changing needs of systems.  She believes in what the research shows, when families, schools, and communities work together, children succeed.  In addition to her work on PTAN, Michelle is the Parent Information Center’s Executive Director and Project Director for NH’s Race2K project.


Consultation for Successful Inclusion of Young Children with Special Needs 


Sheila Demers

For many years Sheila has provided childcare consultation to programs throughout the state. With NH Department of Education certification in Special Education, Elementary Education and School Counseling, and over twenty years as a Preschool Coordinator, she has worked extensively with teachers and families with young children with special needs. She enjoys working collaboratively with educational teams to provide comprehensive supports for preschoolers based on the individual strengths and challenges of each child.

Ellen Ellsberg Edge

I hold an ABD in Education with a concentration in Early Childhood Special Education from the University of Massachusetts, and am anticipating completion of my Ph.D. this year.  My focus is on child behavioral health within the early childhood setting.  I know the early childhood field well, having taught and administrated a variety of programs and early childhood settings, such as center-based, laboratory-based, Head Start, and public school integrated preschool.  Some may remember me from my time at Keene State College, where I directed the Child Development Center for over a decade.

I believe that the work teachers do with young children is far more important than is understood among the general public.   I’m always eager to honor and support their work. Now that we understand what a critical role the early childhood teacher can play with respect to trauma and brain development, support for professionals in this field is even more critical.  For that reason, I am proud to be among the excellent educators and skilled professionals who comprise the PTAN team of consultants, and I look forward to opportunities to support our early childhood teachers in the field. 

Nicole Gagnon Fragala

Nicole Fragala, M.Ed., BCBA began her work with children with special needs providing child care while she was completing her bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education at Curry College. Nicole has worked in Early Supports and Services as a developmental educator specializing in program planning for young children with autism for five years. In addition, Nicole has developed and continues to conduct an adapted dance program for students with special needs. She has completed a master’s degree in  Early Childhood Special Needs and a certification in teaching  at the University of New Hampshire. While working in ESS, she studied with the Florida Institute of Technology’s Graduate Professional Development program and became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. After her work in ESS, Nicole continued her work as a special education teacher for students with autism. Currently Nicole works as an Associate Behavior Consultant. Nicole’s primary interest involves providing parent and staff training for understanding best approaches to interaction with children with special needs.

Sandy Hogan

Sandy Hogan is a NH Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor and is also credentialed as an Early Childhood Master Professional/Allied Professional with the Child Development Bureau. She has 25 plus years’ experience working with young children and families as well as the many professionals who interface with them. She has worked with PTAN for more than 10 years. For fun, Sandy likes to hike and to play with her grandchildren and dog.

Susan Peterson

Dr. Susan Peterson is a retired early childhood education professor who has been with the PTAN project for the past ten years.  In addition to being credentialed as an Early Childhood Master Professional she is highly qualified in Trauma Informed Early Childhood Services (TIECS); certified by the NH chapter of the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) as a professional trainer; by the Center for Teacher Effectiveness, which conducts “Time to Teach” seminars in classroom management; as a coach in the Cognitive Coaching™ approach to professional development; and the Military Child Education Coalition, Living the New Normal, supporting children in military families. She is the Director of Riverstone Educational Consultants, LLC providing professional development and support in training, coaching, mentoring, and program evaluation to schools and educational organizations.

Simonne Perry

Simonne Perry has a Master’s degree in Language and Learning Disabilities and is a Certified Teacher.   She has an extensive history working as an Early Childhood Special Education Teacher in public education in Southern New Hampshire.  She is an Educator and Evaluator for Early Supports and Services with children ranging from Birth to three.  As an Early Childhood Master Professional, she has taught at the college level and worked as a workshop trainer, consultant and mentor to many in the field of Early Education.  Her main objective is to work together with families and early childhood professionals to support each individual child.

Julie Sackett

Julie’s background in early childhood education (ECE) includes a variety of experiences, which began when she started a small child care center in Plymouth with her husband in 1991.  Since that time, she has served as Executive Director of a nonprofit child care organization in the Lakes Region, and as Director of Head Start, Early Head Start and Child Care for Belknap-Merrimack Community Action Program.  in addition, she has worked in Child Care Resource & Referral, served as Adjunct Faculty for Plymouth State University, and she has been actively involved with state-level organizations, including Early Learning NH, Spark NH, and the Child Care Advisory Council.  She has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, a Master’s degree in Community Psychology, and a Master’s degree in Education.  Currently, she enjoys working as an Independent Contractor on a variety of initiatives, one of which is providing technical assistance to child care program staff and administration, as a PTAN Child Care Consultant.  

Megg Thompson

Megg Thompson, a former Kindergarten teacher of ten years, is a Certified Behavior Consultant and Family/Life Coach in association with The Fitzgerald Institute with a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education.  She is also a PTAN consultant.  To get to where she is today she has interned with Bev Bos at the Roseville Community Preschool in Roseville, CA and with Jeanine Fitzgerald at the Fitzgerald Institute of Lifelong Learning in Northborough, MA.  Through these experiences she has adopted a proactive and strength based approach to behavior.  She uses this model to help ALL children and adults find success and empowerment through their natural design.  She spends her days in both public and private schools, early learning centers and in homes helping children of all ages be the best they can be.  Check her out at meggthompson.com

Amy Upton

Amy Upton earned her Master’s Degree of Science from Wheelock College in early childhood education. She in an adjunct faculty member at New Hampshire Technical Institute. She has presented hundreds of workshops and seminars on numerous topics relating to the education of young children. She currently holds nine (9) different certifications from the State of New Hampshire including Mentor/ Trainer/ Faculty.  She also sits on the Boards of the New Hampshire After School Network (NHAN) and ACROSS and has served as a PTAN child care consultant for over ten years.

Amy’s experience, however is not limited to these professional pursuits. She is the Director of an inclusive childcare center in Concord, New Hampshire that she started almost thirty (30) years ago.  East Side Learning Center has since grown to serve over 300 families each year from the greater Concord area. Her childcare center includes a 4000-square foot pre-school program, dedicated instructional swimming pool, and the area’s largest after-school program that is housed in a collegiate sized gymnasium.