Presenters for WAVES 2020-2021

Dr. Tessie Rose Bailey is an Adjunct Professor at Montana State University Billings (MSUB) and a Senior Technical Assistance Consultant at the American Institutes for Research (AIR). For AIR, she provides technical assistance and consultation for the Center on Response to Intervention (RTI), CEEDAR Center, and National Center for Systemic Improvement (NCSI), state departments of education, and local districts. Additional responsibilities include supporting research, product development, and technical assistance for states and districts in the area of RTI. She has extensive experience in RTI in a variety of capacities. She served as Co-coordinator of Technical Assistance for the National Center on Response to Intervention (NCRTI) and collaborated on the development of numerous national and state RTI/MTSS technical assistance resources. While a professor at Montana State University Billings (MSUB), she collaborated with local districts to develop a pre-service teacher preparation program in RTI/MTSS for which she was honored with the 2014 Montana State University Billings Faculty Excellence Award. She has coordinated several MTSS/RTI grants and contracts, including facilitation of a statewide MTSS Community of Practice, evaluating the efficacy of multi-tiered systems of supports (MTSS) implementation, developing model demonstration sites in progress monitoring, supporting RTI implementation in rural schools, and scaling up RTI/MTSS. As a result, she has provided direct MTSS/RTI support and professional development to teachers and leaders in 39 states. She completed her PhD at the University of Utah in special education and post-doctoral work in RTI/MTSS at Lehigh University’s Center for Promoting Research to Practice.


Nikki Baldwin, Director of The Wyoming Early Childhood Outreach Network and Program Coordinator of The Wyoming Early Childhood Professional Learning Collaborative, University of Wyoming. Co-lead of the Wyoming Early Childhood Professional Learning Collaborative. She has spent the last 20 years working in a variety of early childhood settings in Wyoming. These include: teaching kindergarten, providing special education services to children birth-5 years, coordinating curriculum for a Head Start program, directing preschool programs, starting a family-centered non-profit, and becoming a member of the University of Wyoming early childhood education faculty in 2008. Nikki’s work at UW over the last 12 years has included coordinating curriculum and pedagogy at the UW Early Care and Education Center, taking groups of students to Nepal for an international early childhood teaching experience, leading the Early Childhood Special Education endorsement program, and directing the Wyoming Early Childhood Outreach Network (WYECON). Nikki completed her PhD in Curriculum Studies at UW in 2013.  Nikki enjoys traveling to Ohio to visit her granddaughter, reading, camping, and wandering in the hills with her dogs Molly and Scout.


Kathy Buchanan is a 25-year educator who has worked primarily within the field of special education in a variety of public school systems.  She has spent the past 10 years as a Special Education Coordinator for the Child Development Centers in Sheridan and Johnson counties.  Kathy believes children of all ages deserve the opportunity to develop social emotional competence and has worked with special educators and preschool teachers to implement universal and personalized supports to enhance self-regulation through routines and relationships.


Brian K. Butler is a retired principal and an educator with over 30 years of experience. He is an education consultant who has worked with thousands of schools throughout the United States, Australia, and Canada presenting on the PLC at Work and RTI at Work models. Brian last served as principal at Mason Crest Elementary School in Fairfax County, Virginia in 2017. Mason Crest received Solution Tree’s first annual DuFour Award in 2016. The honor, named for Professional Learning Communities at Work (PLC) process architect Richard DuFour, credits high-performing PLCs that demonstrate exceptional levels of student achievement. The recipient of the DuFour Award is the highest award that a PLC at Work school can achieve. For that year, Mason Crest was the model of all models from around the world. Brian has been an administrator at three different National Model PLC at Work Elementary Schools.


Ellen Condon, M.Ed. is the Transition Projects Director, and the Montana Deaf-Blind Project Director at the University of Montana’s Rural Institute on Disabilities where she has worked since 1996 on Transition and Employment for youth with significant disabilities. She is also a consultant with Marc Gold & Associates (MG&A) and works part time for the National Center on Deaf-Blindness.  Ellen has worked in the field of Developmental Disabilities since 1986. Prior to coming to Montana her experiences included hands-on service delivery, program development and program management in community residential and supported employment programs. She received her Master’s degree in Special Education from Boston College in 1990 after completing course work in Transition and Supported Employment. At the Rural Institute she has served as the Principal Investigator and Project Director for numerous Federal and state-funded grants. She has provided technical assistance, training, and on-site support to schools, agencies, and individuals and families predominantly in the areas of customized employment, transition, and systematic instruction.

Contact Information: (406) 370-0262


Clark Fairbanks is the Assistant Director of Youth Emergency Services, Inc. (Y.E.S. House) and a certified Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE’s) and Trauma Informed Care trainer.  His career has spanned more than 35 years working with youth and their families. His career began in 1985 at a youth corrections facility, Northwest Juvenile Training Center, while he was a social work student at Bemidji State University. He transitioned to the Evergreen House, a runaway and homeless youth program where he progressed from a part-time youth advocate to the Executive Director.  In 1992, Clark moved to Wyoming and served as the Executive Director of the Y.E.S. House. From 2005 to 2010 he was the Superintendent of the Wyoming Girls School.  He returned to the Y.E.S. House in 2011 as the Assistant Director, where he continues to pursue his passion for improving the care and treatment of youth and families through training and advocacy.


Laura Fowler currently serves as a Family Engagement Facilitator (PEEPS) for LCSD#1 with her co-worker, and friend, Nicole George. Prior to working with families, Laura served as an Elementary Music Educator in the district for 33 years, and has a Master’s in Education. Throughout her career, Laura taught in schools inherent to the challenges of students with strained circumstances, whether financial, emotional or both. This drove her to seek supplementary training beyond her music degree.  She is a certified Love and Logic Facilitator, as well as a Facilitator for Ruby Payne’s A Framework for Understanding Poverty, and Eric Jensen’s Teaching with Poverty in Mind. Laura and Nicole have studied the work of Dr. Constantino and they incorporate the five principles of his book, “Engage Every Family” into their daily work with families. It is with this rich professional history and personal passion that Laura now places her energy into becoming a conduit for which challenged families or individuals feel confident and secure in seeking help and finding resources.


Nicole George brings 23 years of experience as a school social worker to her current role as a Family Engagement Facilitator for Laramie County School District #1. She has spent her years working in schools implementing Positive Behavior Intervention Support (PBIS); developing student support programs, such as teacher-student mentor programs and student playground monitors; and involved a therapy dog in her engagement with children. In 2019, she and her colleague, Laura Fowler, developed the Parent Engagement and Educational Partnership with Schools (PEEPS), a model program that provides critically needed support for parents struggling to keep their students successful in school.  In her current role, Nicole enjoys problem solving and brainstorming next steps that will address each family’s unique needs and build capacity in the parents she engages with. The PEEPS program embodies Dr. Constantino’s five principles: communication, engagement, empowerment, decision making, and community connection.


Tiffany Hunt is a faculty member in the Special Education Program at the University of Wyoming. Dr. Hunt’s research interests include bullying and students with disabilities, school violence, competency-based learning modalities, and harnessing innovative technology to support learning. Her areas of expertise also include affective needs, learning disabilities, inclusion services, special education law, and Individualized Education Plan (IEP) compliance. Dr. Hunt has a wide range of experience both in the classroom as well as at the administrative level. She has taught both general education and special education. Dr. Hunt has worked with a variety of students with special education needs ranging from preschool to 8th grade. She was a member of the education faculty at Clarke University in Iowa, where she taught in a professional development school and worked at the Wyoming Department of Education, as the Special Programs Division Director. This range of experiences has helped Dr. Hunt grow and advance her knowledge and skill in the field of special education. She has her undergraduate degree in elementary education from the University of Wyoming. She earned her master’s and doctoral degree from the University of Northern Colorado.


Barton Lyman is originally from Cody Wyoming. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management with a minor in Psychology from the University of Wyoming. In addition, Bart completed an Educational Specialist degree in School Psychology at Brigham Young University. Other post graduate work includes a Diplomate in School Neuropsychology and certificate in Educational Leadership. Bart’s career has generally been focused on the practice of School Psychology, but he has also served as the Wyoming Multi-Tiered Systems of Support Coach. He currently works for Region V B.O.C.E.S. as an Outreach Program Director. Bart’s professional affiliation includes being a member of the National Association Of School Psychologists, Wyoming Association Of School Psychologists, and the Association Of Educational Service Agencies.


Jose Martín, J.D., Attorney at Law, is a partner with the school law firm of Richards Lindsay & Martín, L.L.P. in Austin, Texas. His practice focuses exclusively on disabilities issues and litigation affecting public schools, including special education consulting and litigation under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Mr. Martin graduated from the University of Texas and the University of Texas School of Law, and, in April, will have been a practicing attorney for 30 years, all in special education. He has presented in more than 40 states, from Hawaii to Florida to Alaska to New Jersey. He has been partnering with the Wyoming Department of Education to bring quality professional development and guidance on special education issues since 2007.


Amy Reyes has a combined experience of over 18 years’ in human services and early childhood education. Her primary areas of expertise involve leadership development, strategic planning, and early childhood education. As an Early Learning Specialist for the Department of Education Amy draws on her experience in human services working for Medicaid, Department of Labor, Head Start, and Teaching. Prior to the Department of Education Amy worked as an elementary teacher, then a director for the Head Start Program. Amy wrote and executed the grants while working for the Head Start Program. In this role she implemented several family literacy projects. After leaving Head Start Amy worked at the Department of Labor in a role teaching adult literacy programs that enabled those that hadn’t worked outside of the home to get back into the workforce. While working for the Department of Labor Amy received the Changing Lives Hero Award, the highest honor in Human Services. When that program lost funding Amy quickly moved to a position at Wyoming Medicaid. In her professional career Amy has worn many hats but all have been geared around bettering Wyoming citizens. Amy has degrees in Early Childhood Education, Child Development, Human Services, and as of recently a Masters Degree in Business Administration.


Becca Steinhoff has been the Executive Director of Wyoming Kids First since 2010. She provides thoughtful, strategic leadership for the organization to communicate a comprehensive vision for early childhood work that develops, connects and/or extends community systems for the benefit of young children. Becca appreciates the challenges presented by her role that has concurrent responsibilities at both the state and local levels, and looks forward to facilitating processes that strengthen the dynamic connections between different layers of work for kids and families. Becca received a bachelor’s degree in Agriculture Business and Environment and Natural Resources from the University of Wyoming, and a Master of Public Administration degree from The George Washington University. 


Erin Swilling, Parents Helping Parents of Wyoming, Inc – Executive Director:  Erin Swilling, B.S.; University of Wyoming.  Ms. Swilling is the parent of a seventeen year old son who was diagnosed with a disability at 20 months of age.

In addition to being an advocate for her son, she has also been instrumental in her work in early childhood education and intervention.  Ms. Swilling has spent the last twenty-three years working with children and families with the belief that connecting them to their community and resources helps build capacity and sustainability as productive, successful citizens.  As part of those efforts she has been the director of the Wheatland Early Childhood Center, the Open School, and the Parent Information Center where she spent her time fostering the growth of comprehensive development in young children through early learning, health and family well-being initiatives.  This led to the opportunity for Erin to serve as the Executive Director of Parent Helping Parents of Wyoming, where her commitment to supporting education, special education and family engagement initiatives continue to grow.

Along with Ms. Swilling’s professional commitments to children and families, she has taken an active role in the community and is currently a member of the Wyoming Home Visitation Network (2016-present) and is the current Chair for the Wyoming Advisory Panel for Students with Disabilities where she has serves as a member since 2017.  In addition to her son Kade, who at seventeen years old is on his high school cross country and track team and is a 3.8 honor roll student, Ms. Swilling has two other teenage children, a daughter and a son.


Annastashia Teepe is an Educational Consultant with the Wyoming Department of Education. Annastashia came to WDE after practicing School Psychology in Wyoming for 12 years. Prior to her work in Wyoming, Annastashia was a School Psychologist in Nebraska serving rural schools through the Service Unit system and participating as part of the Nebraska Early Development Network as an Early Childhood School Psychologist.  Annastashia holds a Masters of Science Degree in General Psychology with an emphasis in cognition and instruction and an Educational Specialist Degree in School Psychology.