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Quality Programs

Quality Programs

A high-quality early childhood program provides a safe and nurturing environment while promoting the physical, social, emotional, and intellectual development of young children.  Early childhood is generally defined as birth through age eight.  While growth and development can be seen as a continuum from birth onward, we know that there are some significant changes at certain ages and stages.  The Early Learning Coalition offers School Readiness providers the opportunity to participate in various quality initiatives-both local and state driven-to enhance the quality early learning experience within their programs.

Meet our Team


LaTisha Jones, Quality Programs Supervisor
LaTisha is a Florida native.  She holds a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice with an emphasis on Leadership and Management and has been working in the Human Services field for over 18 years.  She has held many positions over the years such as Case Manager, Child and Family Consultant, Supportive Intervention Specialist, VPK Specialist, CCR&R Coordinator, has supervised several different Coalition programs, and is a certified PreK CLASS Observer. LaTisha is a mother of three and has three young grandchildren. She is passionate about building and maintaining relationships and is dedicated to assisting and supporting her staff and the childcare providers in the community.


Carol Terrazas, Quality Programs Coordinator
Carol has a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Development from the University of South Florida and taught PreK / VPK for twenty-five years in Pinellas County.  She enjoys technical writing and is proud of the revised Child Developmental Checklist & Tips Booklets (Flip Books) that she created with a small group of early childhood professionals. Carol is married and has three grown children and a cat. When she’s not at work, she loves to travel and explore new destinations.


Shrieka Hollis, Quality Specialist-Assessor
Shrieka is a Florida native. She has a Master’s degree in Public Health with a focus on Early Childhood Education. Shrieka has 22 years of experience working with children and providers including teacher assistant, teacher, center director for school age, and her current role as Quality Specialist for birth to 5. Shrieka is a certified PreK, Infant and Toddler CLASS Observer, as well as an Early Learning Florida
Lastinger Coach.  She is a mother of one adult daughter. Shrieka values positive relationships that are crucial to development and learning; she is passionate about quality care and truly believes in supporting teachers and providers in an effort to increase quality for children.


Sima Saffary, Quality Specialist-Assessor 
Sima has a BA in Education from Eckerd College and has over 30 years of experience working in Early Childhood Education. Sima is a certified PreK, Toddler, and Infant CLASS observer as well as an Early Learning Florida Lastinger Coach.  She believes supporting teachers and directors enables them to reflect on their impact in their classrooms and achieve their full potential.  Sima is a mother to a beautiful daughter and has two young grandsons whom she adores. Her passion for young children receiving quality early learning to prepare them for school success is undeniable.


Mallory Akers, Quality Specialist-Assessor
Mallory is a Florida native and has been in the Pinellas area since 2011. She has been working in the early childcare field for nearly 10 years and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Preschool Studies. Mallory is a certified PreK CLASS Observer and is working toward her certification for Infant and Toddler.  She is also in the process of becoming an Early Learning Florida Lastinger Coach as well as a trainer for Making the Most of Classroom Interactions (MMCI).  While she has worked with every age group, the majority of her experience is with infants and toddlers, which is her passion. Mallory’s goal is to share her knowledge with teachers in order to help create a more positive and loving environment for the children they care for each day.


Linda Johnson, Quality Specialist-Literacy
Linda is a Polk County Florida native.  She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education/Early Childhood Education from the University of South Florida.  She also holds an American Montessori Society Pre-primary certificate and a Florida Director’s credential.  For over 35 years, she was Head Directress at a local Montessori school where infants through eighth graders attended.  Linda has been involved in education from a very young age, volunteering at childcare centers, and then following her dreams to become a teacher/administrator to young children. Linda believes that teaching young children through hands-on, sensory materials and developing early literacy skills are the pathways to early learning success.  She greatly enjoys sharing her knowledge with other childcare providers, families and always with children.


Edie Bradley, Administrative Specialist I
Originally from Michigan, Edie has lived in the St. Petersburg area since her teenage years.  With over 15 years of experience in the field and a background in childcare, Edie has dedicated her administrative work to creating materials and tools for the classroom-helping teachers to bring what they learn to life.  Edie has a passion for children, especially those with special needs that derives from being a parent of a young man who has always needed her advocacy. It brings Edie great joy to be able to contribute to the lives of the young children and teachers of Pinellas County.

Literacy Programs



Officer Friendly’s Book Club

Officer Friendly’s Book Club pairs local law enforcement officers and early learning centers together to promote literacy and positive police relationships.  The shared reading experiences promote a love of reading and build positive relationships between our youngest citizens and law enforcement.


Help Me Learn!

A hands-on literacy program, where age-appropriate materials, books, and activities are provided to Family Childcare Homes.  Families are encouraged to “check out” the materials and bring them home to engage in the activities with their children.  Coalition staff provide technical assistance and monitor progress.


Nemours. Reading Bright Start!

A research program that researches, develops, and offers evidence-based tools that target young children at risk for reading failure.  The goal is to effectively instruct children at the very beginning of their reading journey to ensure long-term reading success.  The program helps parents and teachers understand key concepts and actions needed to promote reading success for children through a variety of specific tools, services, and resources.


For more information or questions on our literacy programs, please contact our Literacy Quality Specialist, Linda Johnson, at

Performance Funding Project

The Performance Funding Project (PFP) rewards School Readiness providers with additional funds for meeting increased quality standards.  Locally, the Early Learning Coalition supports providers in obtaining Gold Seal Accreditation through ELCAAP.  Click here to learn more and watch WEDU’s piece on the project below.



Sponsored by Florida’s Office of Early Learning