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Connect with Staff

Our team is one of our strongest assets in advancing our work and making a difference for Wisconsin’s youngest children. Each of our team members bring unique strengths and talents that blend together to make our efforts successful.


Amanda Austin

Training Specialist
(608) 443-2124

  • Has a degree in Early Childhood, and is at a total loss when it comes to her tween and teenage daughters
  • Not sure what she wants to be when she grows up, but is enjoying the adventures along the way
  • Finds peace when running, biking or fishing – especially in the fall
Baby Picture - Abbe Braun
Abbe Braun

Professional Development Manager
(608) 443.2491

  • Is a fearless trainer, ready to dive into content and problem solve with professionals
  • Has a fascination with child development and the way children learn and grow
  • Dances for a hobby and now inspires the same love of dance in kids through her teaching
Baby Picture - Gloria Campos
Gloria Campos

Accounts Payable Specialist
(608) 443.2121

  • Moved from IL to WI to be closer to her family; especially her grandsons
  • Her favorite hobby is reading, and she hopes to visit Israel one day
  • Loves working with children and looks forward to her work through SFTA to support providers in building the best possible child care
Penny Chase

Quality Improvement Manager
(608) 443.4308

  • Has a talent for breaking down concepts and drawing connections when training and mentoring others
  • Knows the NAEYC Code of Ethics like the back of her hand
  • Loves this quote from Mr. Rogers: “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.”
Connie Dunlap

Family Engagement Specialist
(608) 443.4311

  • Is passionate about prevention work with families and loves to engage them by building on their strengths and working through their challenges
  • Is a proud military wife and mother of two adorable boys who she learns from each day
  • Loves to be active outdoors, whether it be snow skiing, water skiing, biking, scuba diving, gardening, or anything really
Lisa Hassenstab

Co-Director, Programs & External Relations
(608) 443.2494

  • Has worked in just about every role one can have in a non-profit organization, from direct service to fundraising to volunteer management to government relations to leadership.
  • Geeks out over policy and politics, and will probably ask you if you’re registered to vote.
  • Lives in Madison with her husband, kiddo, three cats, and a whole lot of yarn, vinyl records, and books.
Hillary Johnson

Data & Evaluation Specialist
(608) 443.4309

  • Has a background in international geography and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and is passionate about using geographic analysis for identifying needs and gaps in services, including child care. Could stare at maps all day
  • Lived in the Middle East for 3.5 years working in information management and mapping to support the Syrian refugee response
  • Enjoys traveling, paddling lakes and rivers, playing tennis, biking, camping, cooking and really, really wants a garden someday
Baby_Picture_Kathy Kadar
Kathy Kadar

Quality Assurance Specialist
(920) 858.3868

  • Believes building relationships and supporting others at whatever level that may be, is the key to advancing quality childcare in the state of Wisconsin
  • Lives, sleeps and dreams, (with an occasional nightmare), about the environmental rating scales
  • Is a lover and supporter of the fine arts
Toni Kutner

Licensing Preparation Technical Consultant
(414) 238.2926

  • Is a strong advocate for prevention, mentoring those entering the field on how to prevent child abuse and neglect
  • Is the person to talk to if you’re thinking about renting or buying a building for child care in Milwaukee because she knows city zoning ordinances inside and out
  • Is a concert connoisseur
Baby Picture - Erik Larson
Erik Larson

Co-Director, Operations
(608) 443.2492

  • Is a forecaster of budgets and champion of accounting
  • Volunteers with five other nonprofits in the Madison area, including the FEED Kitchens Project
  • His dog, Boise, is named after one of the many cities he’s lived in
 Baby Picture_Jenny Martin_cropped
Jenny Martin

ERS Observer
(608) 279-7922

  • Knew at early age she wanted to work in the Early Childhood after being around 17 cousins at family events
  • Loves watching the Badgers, especially the Badger basketball team, and plans family vacations around basketball tournaments in the Virgin Islands, South Padres Islands, and other fun places
  • Has her hands full with two energetic children, so if they aren’t at home, you can find her family at the baseball field
Debi Peterson

Micro-Grant Specialist
(608) 443.2122

  • Has a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and over 25 years of experience in Early Childhood
  • Is known for her attention to detail and loving spreadsheets
  • Has a son, Jacob, and a Lhasa Apso named Millie
 Baby Picture_Leah Purcell_cropped
Leah Purcell

ERS Observer

  • Loves working in the early childhood field, and is inspired by children’s endless curiosity
  • Born and raised in Madison, she is an avid Badger and Packer fan
  • Enjoys volleyball, cooking, and traveling with family and friends (favorite trips have included Italy, Spain and Greece)
Anna Ramirez

Licensing Preparation Manager
(262) 898.7067

  • Has experience in six different facets of programming that support early childhood, but has found her true love in preparing potential child care professionals for licensure
  • Began Milwaukee’s first Hispanic provider support group for family child care providers
  • Is a gardener extraordinaire
 Baby_Picture_Sherri Underwood_cropped
Sherri Underwood

Micro-Grant Manager
(608) 443.2120

  • Is a former high school Spanish teacher
  • Loves knitting, making crafts, baking, canning, and herb gardening
  • Believes in the power of kindness, compassion, and respect as key to successful interactions with all people
Baby Picture_ Sue VanderLoop_cropped
Sue VanderLoop

ERS Observer
(715) 212.7022

  • Proud mother of two adult children who have taught her to “Live, Love and Laugh” through good times and bad
  • Loves to read and is a self-proclaimed book nerd who will share this passion with anyone who will listen
  • Words to live by: “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view – until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” To Kill a Mockingbird
 Baby Picture_ Diana Zorn-cropped
Diana Zorn

Quality Assurance Specialist
(920) 819.7444

  • Believes strongly in the “Power of Play” for young children and in Jean Piaget’s words: “When you teach a child something you take away forever his chance of discovering it for himself.” Strives to communicate through her work with child care providers, children’s need for unstructured time to imagine, pretend, jump, dance, run, and explore
  • Opens her home to foster kittens and cats from the Bay Area Humane Society in Green Bay, and has fostered over 100 kittens and cats in the last several years
  • Is married with two teenage children and enjoys spending time with family and friends watching sports, (Go Packers!), going to see bands, and just hanging out together

Interested in joining our team? Learn more.

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