A statement of support

A statement to students from the Office of the Dean

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ECE Faculty & Staff

Early Childhood Education Faculty, 2019-2020

Bellingham Based ECE Faculty and Staff

Megan Brown

Program Support




MH 302C

Office Hours: M-F,


Megan graduated from WWU in 2014 with a BS in Mathematics.  She has worked in the Elementary Education Department since 2015, and has provided student support for the ECE program since Fall 2017.  Megan enjoys the close relationships she builds with her students, and strives to make each student feel welcome and supported.

Dr. Marilyn Chu


ECE Program Director



MH 303D


Dr. Marilyn Chu, Professor and Early Childhood Education Program Director, has developed ECE higher education professional development courses and programs for entering and experienced ECE teachers in underserved areas of Washington State.  Her work, locally and internationally, has focused on developing community partnerships in family literacy, child care, Head Start, and with bilingual paraeducators. Marilyn's work emphasizes mentoring partnerships to develop culturally and linguistically relevant programs for adults and children. Scholarly interests and teaching focus on infant and toddler programs, family engagement for systems change, mentoring and coaching among working and preservice ECE teachers and the prevention of child maltreatment and the promotion of resiliency in the early years. Recent journal publications include: Creating synergies for change, Teachers College Record (2019) and others published with the Journal of Educational Controversy, Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, Journal of the National Network for Educational Renewal, and Young Children. Her book, Developing mentoring and coaching relationships in early care and education: A reflective approach (2014) is used in many state professional development initiatives.

Aumony Dahl

Faculty Field Supervisor



MH 303C

Aumony Dahl, M.Ed. is passionate about equipping our future teachers to reach & teach all students, especially those who have special needs or who have experienced trauma during their young lives. She earned a B.A. in Speech Pathology and Audiology and a M.Ed. and teacher certification in Exceptional Children. She was an Elementary Special Education teacher in the Bellingham, Washington public school system, and for the past 20 years has been teaching Special Education and Early Childhood Education courses for preservice teachers at WWU. She is also a Faculty Field Supervisor supporting and encouraging teacher candidates over the course of their Elementary internship leading to teacher certification.

Dr. Eileen Hughes

Professor Emerita


Dr. Eileen Hughes, Professor Emerita, has focused on the preparation of early childhood educators and the development of inquiry-based approaches. She is the former ECE Program Director and developer of the WWU ECE BAE Program and taught many program courses.  Her prior work in Alaska, Oregon, California and internationally includes engaging in diverse settings which encouraged her to ask questions to deepen her learning and teaching experiences.  She has enjoyed the continual study of the Reggio Emilia approach since 1989, which has influenced her understanding of the underlying principles and values that support adults and children to challenge their thinking and to find the joy in the daily life of schools. 

Click here to view Dr. Hughes' CV. 

Dr. Meilan Jin

Assistant Professor



MH 303B

Dr. Meilan Jin, Assistant Professor, has centered her teaching and scholarship on mixed methods research into the preschool years. Her dissertation is a collaborative cross-cultural study in preschool contexts in the US and China (Preschool Children’s Cooperative Problem Solving during Play in Everyday Classroom Contexts: China and the US). Her scholarship with Dr. Mary Jane Moran of the University of Tennessee and others has focused on preschool teacher's roles in inquiry, home visiting, and social problem solving. She is interested in developing a research agenda involving cross cultural learning associated with the WWU ECE program and the Southwest University in Chongqing, China and the associated preschool education partnerships. 

Dr. Anna Lees

Associate Professor



MH 303A

Dr. Anna Lees (Little traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians, descendant), Associate Professor, began her career as an early childhood classroom teacher in rural northern Michigan. Now, she partners with schools and communities to prepare teachers for the holistic needs of children, families, and communities. Anna is committed to developing and sustaining reciprocal relationships with Indigenous communities to engage community leaders as co-teacher educators, opening spaces for Indigenous epistemologies in early childhood settings and higher education. She is currently engaged in research around a land education professional development model led by tribal nations and relationship-based site embedded professional development model with tribal early learning programs. She has published with the Journal of Teacher Education, Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, Early Childhood Education Journal, Multicultural Education Magazine, Wicazo Sa Review, Routledge Research and she is co-editor of the Tribal College and University Research Journal

Dr. Margarita Ruiz-Guerrero

Assistant Professor



MH 302B

Dr. Margarita Ruiz Guerrero, Assistant Professor, earned her MS in ECE and an EC-6 Bilingual Certification at the University of North Texas. She worked as a preschool teacher at the University of North Texas Child Development Lab and earned her Ph.D. in ECE from New Mexico State University. Her 2019 dissertation is, Nutrition in early childhood: A Black feminist analysis of Head Start. Her interests are in connecting theory to the lived experiences of students and she engages in innovative projects such as using gardening as the context of integrated learning. She is interested in young children and wellness and began her academic career with a BS in Nutrition in Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico. She also describes her interests as: marginalized feminist perspectives, social justice, multicultural education, critical pedagogies and bilingual education.

Dr. Verónica (Vero) Vélez

Associate Professor

ESJ Program Director



MH 404A

Verónica Nelly Vélez (Vero) is Associate Professor and Founding Director of the Education and Social Justice Minor at Western Washington University (WWU). Vero’s work broadly analyzes racial inequities in education, the causes of those inequities, and how they impact the educational trajectories and outcomes of Students of Color, particularly for Latinxs. Her research is informed by interdisciplinary training and expertise in Critical Race Theory (CRT), Latinx Critical Theory (LatCrit), Radical Cartography, and Chicana Feminist Epistemologies. She has published in multiple academic journals including Harvard Educational Review, The Educational Forum, Association of Mexican American Educators Journal, and Race, Ethnicity, and Education, in addition to several chapters in edited anthologies. In addition to her scholarly pursuits, she worked as a grassroots organizer for over 15 years with Latinx migrant families calling for educational reform in schools serving migrant children and youth. Vero is the proud daughter of a Mexican immigrant mother and a Panamanian immigrant father, whose journey to provide her with a quality education fundamentally inspires her work for social justice.


Bremerton-Poulsbo Based ECE Faculty and Staff

Lilla Bodo

Program Coordinator



Lilla graduated from Chapman University in 2010 with an MS in Human Resources Management and Organizational Development. She has been working as a program coordinator at WWU since 2006 for several programs (Human Services – 14 years, Elementary and Special Education – 5 years, Early Childhood Education – 1 year). She is also a part-time instructor in the Human Services BA program. Lilla enjoys guiding students along their academic journey from program inquiry to graduation by providing individualized support.

Dr. Carolyn Brennan

Assistant Professor





Dr. Carolyn Brennan, Assistant Professor, has a Ph.D. from the University of Washington (UW) in Educational Psychology, Human Development & Cognition (2013). She is a former toddler teacher with a graduate certificate in infant mental health, and a dissertation focused on teacher responses to challenging behavior in infant and toddler settings. Her four years of practice-based teaching in the UW Early Childhood and Family Studies BAE program in Seattle will be especially relevant to the new WWU-ECE program in underserved Kitsap County. In addition to teaching child development and how to individualize, assess and promote care and education for our youngest children, she also taught Social Policy and Children and Families courses at UW. Her scholarship interests also include: ‘teacher as researcher’, understanding the impact of coursework on student outcomes and peer coaching learning teams with preservice early childhood educators.

Dr. Jessica Kirchhofer

Faculty Field Supervisor




Dr. Jessica Kirchhofer is a program advisor, course instructor and Faculty Field Supervisor in many ECE practicums and internships in the Bremerton/Poulsbo based ECE BAE program. She also teaches the Fundamentals of ECE and Science Education among other courses in the program. She has extensive experience working with families in home visiting programs as well as a classroom teacher in early elementary education contexts. Dr. Kirchhofer recruited, advised and set up university-school field-based partnerships during the 2018-2019 academic year for the new ECE Bremerton/Poulsbo-based ECE program.

Dr. Tasha Tropp Laman

Assistant Professor



Dr. Tasha Tropp Laman’s research examines the literacy learning of elementary-aged children identified as English Learners in general and multilingual children’s literacy learning opportunities in particular. She is the author of From ideas to words: Writing strategies for English Language Learners published by Heinemann in 2013. She has over 30 articles and book chapters focused on English Learners’ literacy development, critical literacy, and teacher education.  Her work has appeared in journals such as The Reading Teacher, Language Arts, Educ. Leadership, Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, English Journal, Equity and Excellence in Education and Research in the Teaching of English, and Talking Points.  Her most recent research examines culturally sustaining practices in an early childhood classroom. This collaborative research with a second-grade teacher was supported through the National Council Teachers of English Professional Dyads for Culturally Responsive Teaching (PDCRT). Dr. Tropp Laman supports classroom teachers through professional development in cultivating best practices for facilitating children’s literacies across the languages they speak. She received the 2019 Service Award from Languages and Literacies for All.  She serves on the Elementary Section Steering Committee for the National Council of Teachers of English. Dr. Tropp Laman is a former elementary classroom teacher and Peace Corps volunteer where she worked in Belize, Central America as a teacher educator. She will teach in the new Bremerton ECE P-3rd grade endorsement program.

Charlene LaDawn Montaño Nolan

Assistant Professor



Charlene LaDawn Montaño Nolan, Assistant Professor, is completing her PhD from the University of Washington and beginning her teaching at the WWU-ECE Bremerton BAE program. She is interested in concept development and cognition in early childhood with an emphasis on cultural, play-based, and placed learning. Her scholarship focuses on developing equity-oriented theories of human learning that build upon diverse family and community leadership, teacher innovation, and child creativity and interest. Charlene enjoys learning outdoors and discovering how nature and culture support robust and meaningful educative experiences for children and adults. Charlene has diverse teaching and professional development experiences, including as an early childhood educator (birth to age five), a college instructor, and as a program “co-designer” with working teachers and families. She also has extensive experience in designing informal science-based learning programs for urban, Indigenous youth.