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At the 2020 Training Institute on Policies & Procedures, experts from NICCA and around the country will lend their own knowledge and resources on developing your own policies and procedures.

Priscilla Acosta  |  Jeanne Dengate  |  Michelle Key  |  Tricia Peoples  |  Sherry Rackliff  |  Norman Running, Jr.  

Priscilla Acosta

Tribal Quality and Compliance Specialist, Inter‐Tribal Council of Nevada’s Child Care Development Fund and Chair, NICCA



Priscilla Acosta is the Tribal Quality and Compliance Specialist for the Inter‐Tribal Council of Nevada’s Child Care Development Fund and serves as the Chair of the National Indian Child Care Association, a U.S. indigenous organization dedicated to improving early childhood education. Priscilla also serves as a member of the Indigenous People’s Action Group through the World Forum Foundation, the Nevada's Indian Education Advisory Committee, T.E.A.C.H Advisory Council, a Tribal Representative for Nevada’s Quality Rating Improvement System, and Nevada’s Early Childhood Advisory Council.

Areas of Expertise

Health and safety, quality improvement, coordination of services/communities, administration, advocacy, leadership, training. Large grantee.

Jeanne Dengate

CCDF Manager, Tulalip Tribes

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Jeanne Dengate has worked in Early Childhood Education for the last 38 years. She is currently the manager of the Tulalip Tribes 8-3 Program, which consists of CCDF and Early Head Start programs serving children and families. Jeanne has worked with the Tulalip Tribes for the last 20 years and with the Tribes’ CCDF grant for the last eleven. Prior to that, she owned and operated two Montessori preschool/child care programs for over 14 years. Jeanne holds a certificate in Family Support, ATA Degree in Early Childhood Education and Family Systems, and both Montessori Infant/Toddler and 3-to-6 Certifications through American Montessori Society / Montessori Institute of America and is trained as a Post-Partum and Labor Doula and Child Birth Educator. With these trainings, Jeanne has established a Partners for a Healthy Baby Home Visiting Program for their communities offering childbirth education to our expectant families.

Areas of Expertise

Health and safety, nutrition, quality improvement, coordination of services/family and parent engagement, social and emotional development, classroom strategies, curriculum development, indoor classrooms, environments, administration, program management, advocacy, leadership, construction and design, training. Large grantee.

Michelle Key

Child Care Director, Chickasaw Nation

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Michelle Key graduated from East Central University in 1995 with a Bachelor’s degree in elementary education and special education with an early childhood endorsement. While continuing her education at ECU, she worked as an early childhood special education teacher for Ada City Schools.  Upon completing her Master’s degree in counseling she began working for the Chickasaw Nation as an Upward Bound counselor on Murray State Campus in Tishomingo, OK. Michelle continued her education at ECU to complete an additional Masters in special education and school psychology. She also completed her certification degree in psychometry and is a licensed practice counselor (LPC). Ms. Key has been the child care director for the Chickasaw Nation Child Care program since 2002. 

Areas of Expertise

Health and safety, physical activities, licensing and monitoring, quality improvement, professional development, staff training, coordination of services/communities, social and emotional development, behavior management, curriculum development, outdoor classrooms, environments, administration, program management, policies and procedures, programming, advocacy, leadership, construction and design, training. Large grantee.

Tricia Peoples

Director of Child Care and Development, Cherokee Nation

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Tricia Peoples is the Senior Director of Child Care and Development for Cherokee Nation. She has been in her current position for seven years and in the profession of education for over 25 years.  During her career, she has worked with children from infants to high school age. As Senior Director of Child Care and Development, she takes great pride in knowing that her program is one that strives for excellence and quality in child care while promoting self-sufficiency for parents.  Part of her role as Senior Director is to keep abreast of and advocate for the early childhood profession.  Tricia serves as the Treasurer for NICCA and is involved with various committees that are dedicated to promoting the importance of early childhood awareness. She holds a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Southern Nazarene University in Oklahoma and an undergraduate degree in Business Education. 

Areas of Expertise

Quality improvement, coordination of services/102-477, classroom strategies, administration, program management, policies and procedures, legal, human resources, budgeting, accounting, programming, reporting, research, advocacy, leadership, construction and design, training. Large grantee.

Sherry Rackliff

Executive Director, Delaware Child Development

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Sherry Rackliff is the Executive Director of Delaware Child Development.  She has a BS in Elementary and Secondary Education and has been working with children and families in education since 1974.  Sherry has attended the Harvard School of Design Institute for Child Care Centers' summer session.  She is Chair of the Oklahoma Tribal Child Care Association (OTCCA) and currently serves as the Secretary of the NICCA. She has served as a Fellow with Children's Defense Fund Leadership Network and currently works closely with child advocate groups in Washington, D.C.  Sherry has presented at international, national, regional, and state-level conferences on Tribal/State collaboration, budgeting, grant writing, programming, and curriculum. She is a strong advocate of promoting agencies to work together to provide the best possible learning environments for young children and is committed to educating the communities on the importance of early childhood experiences sharing scientific data from the latest neuroscience research.

Areas of Expertise

Nutrition, CACFP, quality improvement, professional development, coordination of services/communities, classroom strategies, curriculum development, indoor classroom, outdoor classroom, environments, administration, program management, policies and procedures, legal, human resources, budgeting, accounting, programming, reporting, advocacy, leadership, construction and design, training. Large grantee.

Norman Running, Jr.

Early Childhood Specialist, Rosebud Sioux Tribe Child Care Services

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Norman Running, Jr., is the Early Childhood Specialist who assists home care and child care providers with identifying and implementing the best techniques in supporting and educating the children with their care. In his role, he is responsible for professional development in all areas that our providers request assistance. Norman has served as an advocate for our young men in his community supporting them with
the trauma they have experienced in their lives. Prior to this position, Norman was the Tribal SART Liaison for our Tribe's Domestic Violence Prevention Initiative (DVPI). He has advocated for and presented on how whole family healing can break the cycle of violence within their respective homes. Norm has a degree in Elementary Education with an emphasis in Early Childhood Education from Sinte Gleska University.

Areas of Expertise

Coordination of services, language and culture, administration, program management, advocacy, leadership. Large grantee.

Jennifer Rackliff

Executive Director, NICCA |  Impact Strategist, Stratem Consulting

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Jennifer Rackliff is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation who advises executives and leaders in strategic growth, leadership, and performance development. She has over 15 years of planning, implementing, managing, and evaluating capacity-building efforts that focus on family supports, health, education, child care, self-sufficiency, and workforce development. Jennifer has dedicated her career to working with underserved and marginalized populations, including American Indian and Alaska Native and rural communities. Her experience includes strategic planning and implementation, executive and management coaching, program design and project management, public policy research and advocacy, and research design and implementation. She serves as the Executive Director of the NICCA and serves on national advisory boards on data and health for early childhood programs. Jennifer is a World Forum Foundation Global Leader for Young Children and is on the Board of Directors for the Impact Network, a social impact organization transforming education through technology in Zambia.

Areas of Expertise

Professional development, coordination of services, environments, administration, program management, budgeting, policies & procedures, programming, reporting, research, advocacy, leadership, training.

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