SOURCE: Rocky Mountain Early Childhood Conference

Rocky Mountain Early Childhood Conference

November 22, 2013 15:13 ET

Dr. Sherri Killins, Dr. Dana Suskind Keynote Speakers at 2014 Rocky Mountain Early Childhood Conference

DENVER, CO--(Marketwired - Nov 22, 2013) - Dr. Sherri Killins, Ed.D, former Commissioner of Early Education and Care for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and Dr. Dana Suskind, M.D., founder of the Thirty Million Words Initiative, will be the keynote speakers for the 2014 Rocky Mountain Early Childhood Conference (RMECC) at the Colorado Convention Center. Dr. Killins will address conference attendees during the noon luncheon on Friday, March 14. Dr. Suskind's presentation is scheduled for the Saturday, March 15 noon luncheon.

Sponsored by The Colorado Association for the Education of Young Children, the Denver Preschool Program and the Early Childhood Education Association of Colorado, the Rocky Mountain Early Childhood Conference aims to support and solidify the growing understanding of the importance of investing in our youngest children. The confluence of science, research and common sense shows that early childhood education has a positive impact on our economy, workforce, schools and communities. As the largest and leading regional conference, RMECC provides an opportunity for teachers, practitioners and advocates to learn, share and connect. Now in its third year, the conference offers top-notch keynote speakers, hundreds of workshops and exhibitors, and networking opportunities.

Dr. Killins has been an advocate for children and families for more than 25 years, both as a provider of direct care and in leadership roles on issues relating to children and families. She is known for crossing organizational boundaries to create a child development lens on the work of organizations as well as within other state agencies, including public health and housing, and is uniquely qualified to speak about areas of interest to all RMECC attendees.

As Commissioner, Dr. Killins designed and implemented a Massachusetts' Quality Rating and Improvement System; a system being adopted by many states including Colorado to define, measure and communicate quality in early childhood education programs as well as out-of-school-time programs. Under her leadership, Massachusetts secured federal "Race To The Top Early Learning Challenge" funding. She previously was the founding President/CEO of the New Haven, Conn., Empowerment Zone; led operations and programs for both the Empowerment Zone Corporation and the Family Preservation Initiative of Baltimore; and served as Vice President for Human Development and Operations for the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Dr. Killins holds a nursing degree from the University of Pittsburgh, a master's of administrative science from Johns Hopkins University, and a doctorate in counseling psychology from the University of Sarasota.

Dr. Suskind is Professor of Surgery at the University of Chicago and Director of the Pediatric Cochlear Implant Program. The Thirty Million Words Initiative, which she both founded and directs, is based on scientific research demonstrating the critical importance of early language exposure on the developing child. With her dedicated team, Dr. Suskind has developed strategies to help parents enhance their home language environment in order to optimize their child's brain development and, concomitantly, their ability to learn.

An evidence-based intervention, Thirty Million Words is supported by a broad coalition of public and private partnerships and is an extension of Dr. Suskind's Project ASPIRE, which she created to assure that her patients from disadvantaged backgrounds reached their full listening and spoken language potentials. Dr. Suskind's ultimate goal, and that of her team, is to help all children reach their full potentials and to close the ever-widening achievement gap. Dr. Suskind is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Medicine.

For more information about the 2014 Rocky Mountain Early Childhood Conference, please visit