Board Spotlight

Michelle Rupiper, Ph.D is an Associate professor of Practice and Assistant Department Chair of Child, Youth & Family Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Prior to becoming Assistant Department Chair, Michelle served as the director of the Ruth Staple Child Development Laboratory at UNL.  She has maintained her office at the child development center and continues to work closely with the program. As a member of the N4C Board, Michelle serves as co-chair of the Conference Committee. This committee works to solicit conference session proposals, select proposals for the conference, and ensure a great conference for attendees. Michelle notes “It’s invigorating to work behind the scenes of the conference; to assist with a fantastic professional develop experience for our members.”  Michelle continues, “Membership on the board has strengthened my respect and admiration of N4C. Getting to know such talented, committed and tireless individuals has inspired me to continue to grow professionally.” Michelle rates the personal connections she has developed through her Board work as highly valuable. She now has colleagues across the country in a variety of setting who she can call upon when in need.  “None of us need to work harder, so knowing people who understand your role and are willing to offer insights and suggestions is truly fabulous.” Michelle has gained many good ideas from Board members and N4C members that have benefited her children’s programs and her campus overall. She says “It has been more than worth the price of membership over the years!”

Pamela Pallas, Ph.D. served as the Director of Baby Gator Child Development and Research Center at the University of Florida for 13 years.  Under her guidance the center grew from a small center serving less than 100 families to three centers serving 335 children of students, staff and faculty of UF.  Pam joined N4C 12 years ago after hearing a presentation about the organization. She knew immediately she had found a group of like-minded professionals who valued and supported child care and early education on college and university campuses.  Pam has worn numerous hats while serving on the Board. She was the Secretary and President, has co-chaired the Conference Committee through two conferences, and served on numerous committees. Recently retired from Baby Gator, Pam has devoted her Past President year to assisting with committee work and co-chairing the 2017 Conference.  Pam states “There is tremendous satisfaction in seeing good ideas and good intentions blossom into a high quality professional conference that meets the needs of over 200 early childhood professionals each year.” Through her time as an N4C member and Board member Pam has gained a wealthy of contacts and partnerships across campuses nationwide. “N4C was a life line when I became the Baby Gator director. It was where I could go for information, guidance, and support. I am pleased to have been able to assist in the continued growth and health of this valuable organization.”

 Dana Keller Bush, Ph.D.  is the  Department Chair of Family and Consumer Sciences and Associate Professor of Child and Family Studies at Eastern Kentucky University. Prior to taking on the Chair position, Dana was the director of the Burrier Child Development Center, the campus lab school, for 10 years. As department chair and faculty in child development she continues to support and advocate for expansion of the program. The first time Dana went to an N4C conference, she knew she wanted to get involved with “this wonderful group of people”. She says, “I felt like I was a member of an organization that understands me!!!” As a Board member Dana has served on several committees and co-chaired the Conference Committee. She began her two-year term as N4C President in 2016. In her new role, she works closely with Executive Director, Tonya Palla, and Committee Chairs to ensure the organization is financially  healthy and is meeting the needs of our members. Dana values her involvement in N4C and her service to the Board. She states, “My participation in the N4C organization has made me a better advocate for our campus program. Knowing what other universities are doing is great information to have in my “back pocket”.

Stacey Smith-Clark is the Child Development Center Manager at Child Development Center and Lab School on the Pacific Coast Campus of Long Beach City College.  She oversees the day-to-day operations of the center, serving  155 children and families of students, faculty, staff and the community, and also teaches part-time for the Child Development and Educational Studies Department.  Stacey has been working in a campus-based children’s center for the past 16 years and still absolutely loves it. As a new Board member she is just beginning to learn about the roles and responsibilities of Board work.  She describes her participation in the N4C Board as an opportunity to “share a vision with a larger group” and  “helping our college administrators and community understand the unique characteristics and great benefits of child care on campus”.  Stacey brings her passion for advocating for the needs of students and for the field of early childhood education to the Board and plans to use that passion and her years of experience to assist and support other members of N4C.

Kim Kramer, MEd, is the Vice President for Mini University in Dayton, Ohio.  In her position with Mini University she oversees two University programs.   Prior to her current position, she was the Director of Mini University at Wright State University for 10 years.  Kim joined the N4C Board in the spring of 2012.   Kim is currently a co-chair for the Nominations and Awards Committee and is the Treasurer.  In March, she will begin her term as President Elect.    Kim states “I deeply value all that NCCCC has to offer and have benefited from all the resources and networking over the years. Our centers have also benefited from the CCAMPIS grant which I learned about through NCCCC.  I will never forget my first NCCCC conference, I felt like I had met colleagues that I had been searching for.   I chose to be on the Board to give back for all that NCCCC has done for me.”