Previous Community Education Program Speakers

Nonverbal to National Speaker, a story of defying the odds

May 10, 2016

K Magro headhsotKerry Magro

Non-verbal until 2 1/2 and diagnosed with autism at age 4, Kerry Magro is a best-selling author, motivational speaker, movie consultant, nonprofit founder, and 2016 nominee for the Temple Grandin Award.

Download Kerry’s PowerPoint slides from his presentations in Appleton.

  • Presentation at Appleton North High School – slides
  • Professional Development for AASD staff – slides
  • Public Presentation – slides


Music and Storytelling for Optimal Brain Development

May 6, 2015

stuartwguitarStuart Stotts

Stuart Stotts will lead discussion on how music and storytelling — and the arts in general — are so critical for young children’s brain development, creativity, confidence and memory. Parents, grandparents, childcare providers and anyone with an interest in child development wtill enjoy learning more about these topics and will receive practical suggestions to incorporate music and storytelling into daily life.


Exceptional Returns: The Social Value of Investing in Early Childhood Education

October 30, 2014

2009-08 JeffSnell3K5B7640_V1Jeff Snell, Ph.D.

Through his presentation, Snell explores what it means to create social value by addressing root causes of social problems – a key aspect of social innovation – and relates it to the importance of new Community Early Learning Center of the Fox Valley (CELC), which recently opened September 2.

See photos from this presentation on Facebook.


Exceptional Returns: Music and the Developing Brain

March 18, 2014

pertls pic for webLeila Ramagopal Pertl and Brian Pertl

With years of experience as music educators, Brian and Leila Pertl speak passionately about music as a “birthright.” They team up in this presentation to discuss the important role music can play in early childhood brain development and learning. They also share how we as parents and caregivers can use music and rhythm to nurture children’s (and our own) language, coordination and creativity.

See photos from this presentation on Facebook.


Brilliant Brains: Talk and Play is the Way!

March 5, 2013

9a2d8a00e21464d963bb3a48b92cd293Deborah McNelis

This presentation provides some basics of early brain development along with insights into the importance of language and play for optimal learning. McNelis will inspire parents and caregivers with ways to incorporate techniques into busy everyday life.

Watch the video of McNelis’ presentation at Fox Valley Technical College.


Books Build Better Brains

February 11, 2013

23589fa6f296cbd666c92566796c2b5cDipesh Navsaria, MD, MPH, MSLIS

Dr. Navsaria champions the value of literacy for long-term learning and overall well-being. Hear what the research says about how early brain and childhood development affect literacy. The presentation will also include brief overviews of local literacy efforts provided by representatives of the Appleton Area School District, Appleton Public Library and St. Elizabeth Hospital.

View Dr. Navsaria’s PDF presentation.


The Sociology of Young Children – How Infants and Children Understand Their Social World 

March 21, 2012

K ShuttsKristin Shutts, Ph.D.  

We’ve all heard that good social skills are nearly as indicative of children’s success as are their academic achievements. As Director of the Social Kids Lab at UW-Madison’s Waisman Center, Shutts brings her personal observations and insights about how infants and children learn to perceive, think about and interact with the world around them. For example: What do infants know about other people? How do preschoolers select playmates for themselves? When and why do children start to notice others’ gender and race? Shutts will address these questions and others by sharing findings from her research with infants and young children.

Learn more about Shutts’ research:

Parents resources

Students and researchers resources


Learning to Hear and See During Early Life – Perceptual Development in Infants and Children

February 21, 2012

R LitovskyRuth Litovsky, Ph.D.

Infants and children learn to hear and see in a complex world, where they have to unravel information from parents and caregivers, such as their voices and faces, and they also must learn to ignore “distracting” sounds and images. Learn how this happens as our little ones navigate their complex auditory and visual environments.

Watch the video of Litovsky’s presentation at Fox Valley Technical College.


Parenting Tools You Can Use … From Newborns to Toddlers to Teens

April 13, 2011

Dr. Patricia Nan Anderson

Dr. Patricia Nan Anderson marks her first visit to the Fox Valley on April 13, 2011, with a free presentation about navigating the different stages of parenthood – from infancy through the teen years. Fun, supportive and full of fresh ideas, Dr. Anderson explores early learning matters related to the Read-Talk-Play initiative and addresses top parenting concerns, including behavior.

A Focus on Early Learning
These days, we’re hearing how important it is to prepare our kids for school from babyhood on. But has all of this talk overwhelmed parents? Dr. Anderson explains that we don’t need to be paging through encyclopedias with our tots during diaper changes, but instead, turning everyday experiences like play time into opportunities for learning.

During her week-long visit to the Fox Cities, Dr. Anderson will make a dozen appearances, talking with parents, teachers and community leaders about good parenting and the value and importance of early childhood learning.