The Professional Development Institute (PDI) is an extension of the Early Learning Coalition’s Professional Development Department, set to improve services, support, and education for young children. Programs enhance early childhood professionals’ knowledge, skills, and professional advancement through various classes, courses, and conferences offered in face-to-face or web-based formats.

Child care providers provide children in their care with well-rounded and appropriate tools to help them develop
into successful learners. We understand many providers can’t afford to stop working to continue their education or certification. We support providers by offering programs and incentives to continue working while advancing their professional goals and education.

The training offered through the Professional Development Institute at the Early Learning Coalition provides high-quality content and support to ensure the implementation of concepts into the classroom. All training with the Florida Early Learning and Developmental Standards (2017), The Classroom Assessment Scoring System® (CLASS), Florida Core Competencies for Early Care and Education Practitioners, and Florida Core Competencies for Early Care and Education Directors.

The Early Learning Coalition’s Professional Development Department has recently received the CDA Gold Standard
from the Council of Professional Recognition. We have also been approved as an International Association for
Continuing Education and Training (IACET) Accredited Provider.

Training Opportunities

Child Development Associate (CDA) Infant/Toddler Program CLICK HERE

If interested contact, Mallory Akers at

Child Development Associate (CDA) PreSchool Program CLICK HERE

If interested contact Liz McClendon at

Child Development Associate (CDA) Director Program CLICK HERE

If interested contact Jaime Holevas at

Resource Room

Come visit the Early Learning Coalition’s resource room. It is equipped with a laminator, book binder, Ellison Machine, and resource books. Providers can use their own materials or purchase them for a nominal fee. School Readiness providers can receive three (3) free yards of laminating per month. Please contact Sharon Dennany at to schedule a time to use the resource room.

Infant, Toddler, or Preschool
Classroom Support

The Early Learning Coalition provides support and guidance to providers in any classroom. We are here to help you improve your quality of care and education, overcome challenges, and/or meet state and local requirements.
For more information, contact Sharon Dennany at

Additional Resources for Providers

Safe Sleep for Babies: What You Need to Know

Breastfeeding and Safe Sleep

Sleep Baby Safely

Gadgets, Guidance & Common Sense

Our Team

Jaime Holevas
Professional Development Program Supervisor
Jaime has a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood/Special Education along with an Infant Toddler Credential and is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction. For 20 plus years she has been in the early childhood field and was inspired by the endless opportunities teachers have to make a difference. She is committed to inspire, motivate, and support others.
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Mallory Akers
Infant/Toddler Specialist
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.
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Robin Cooke
Training & Development Specialist
Robin has a Bachelor’s Degree in Child and Family Community Services and Associates in Early Childhood Education. She has worked in various ECE positions over the past 20 years. Robin is a certified Pre-K, Infant, and Toddler CLASS Observer. She is also a certified Trainer in Nemours Brightstart. Robin wants to continue to share her knowledge and experience with Teachers and Directors, in hopes they will use the strategies and suggestions provided. For the past 10 years, Robin has worked with 8-11 years old at her church. She is an advocate for all children and loves to see them learn and flourish.
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Elizabeth Dixon
Training & Development Specialist
Liz is from Clearwater, FL and has been in the Human Service field for over 26 years. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Human Services from Springfield College, and is skilled at assisting families with special needs and providing services for preschoolers, school-age children, teens and adults. Liz has worked as a Supportive Intervention Specialist and Inclusion Specialist. Liz is a certified PreK CLASS Observer and a certified MMCI Instructor. Liz is a Trainer for Making the Most of Classroom Interactions(MMCI). Liz is an Early Learning Florida Lastinger Coach. Liz is a mother of three daughters and has five grandsons. In the community she enjoys giving back by doing ministry work and working with the middle school age youth and volunteering at Pinellas County Schools. Liz is actively involved at her church, teaching Vacation Bible School (VBS) to 3 – 5 yrs. old. Liz loves being in this field to inspire others and provide quality services to our providers and families. She believes in making a difference in our future by enhancing the developmental skills in children, building relationships with families and providing Innovative trainings for providers.
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Camille Eckrem
Training and Development Specialist
Camille has a Bachelor’s Degree in Preschool Education from St. Petersburg College and is currently pursuing her M.Ed. in Early Childhood Curriculum and Instruction, with a certificate in Positive Behavior Support, from USF. She has held various roles in the field of Early Childhood Education for over twelve years. She believes strongly in the importance of supporting quality care and education for young children through empowering teachers and caregivers.
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Brett Engisch
Training & Development Specialist
Brett has taught children and teachers from Pre-Kindergarten to College over the past forty-five years. She has a Master’s in Education and had certifications for Kindergarten, Specific Learning Disabilities and Administration. Children inspire her to see the best in everyone. She commits to find the best ideas for them and their teachers to be successful learners in life.
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Louis Marinkovich
Training & Development Specialist
Louis is a Professional Development Trainer who has presented for many years for the ELC, NAEYC, FLAEYC, Head Start, OEL/VPK, and privately. He graduated with my two undergrad degrees (BSEd Elementary Education/BSEd Early Childhood Development) from California University of Pennsylvania in 1992, and graduated from their Master’s program (MSEd Early Childhood Education) in 2014. His teaching experience has ranged from 3-year-olds up to fifth grade and has spanned over 24 years. Louis believes that anyone and everyone can benefit from some type of support; trainers have a huge responsibility and he is happy to accept that challenge.
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Kim Scarlata
Training & Development Specialist
Kim is a Florida native. She holds an AA degree in Early Childhood Education from St. Petersburg College and a Bachelors of Arts in Therapeutic Recreation from Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina. Later, she attended the University of West Florida where she majored in Social Work. Kim has over 25 years of experience working with children and providers and believes that positive relationships are crucial to development and learning. She has held many different roles over the years including teacher, center director, Supportive Intervention Specialist, and now a Training and Development Specialist. Kim is a dedicated mother to one teenage son; she is passionate about early intervention and believes in supporting children, parents, teachers and the community.
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Zoe Turner
Training & Development Specialist
Zoe is a graduate of the University of South Florida and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communication and Science Disorders. She has worked as a Speech and Language Therapist as well as an Early Interventionist providing intervention services to infants and toddlers with developmental delays within the community. She is also certified as an Infant and Toddler Development Specialist. Zoe has worked in various roles within the Early Intervention field for over 10 years and is very passionate about helping little ones reach their full potential while building her mastery in these areas. She has served on various committees and initiatives in the community and enjoys volunteering her time and efforts in order to give back to the community. Zoe is committed to working in her current role by supporting early childhood professionals, parents/caregivers, and children in her community.
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Angela Loring
Trainer/Quality Initiatives Manager
Angela holds a M.Ed. in Early Childhood Curriculum and Instruction from USF, and has worked in the early childhood industry for almost 25 years. The birth of her son inspired her to enter the early childhood field. Angela strives to increase child outcomes by providing dynamic training opportunities for early childhood professionals.
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Kathleen Moss
Professional Development Trainer
Tammi McGinn
Professional Development Trainer
Provider Trainings & Conferences

December 2021



2536 Countryside Blvd Suite 500, Clearwater, FL 33763

Hours of Operation: M-F, 8:00am – 5:00pm