School of Education Hosts National Conference

September 06, 2017
In October 2015, the School of Education presented, along with Los Niños, the 1st Young Child Expo and Conference (YCEC) in Spokane, attracting more than 500 early childhood education teachers, scholars, aids and administrators. Dean Alfonso and Dr. Scott Mesh, CEO of Los Niños Services in New York, developed the conference more than 12 years ago. When Dr. Alfonso assumed the position of dean at Gonzaga in 2013, he believed that bringing a YCEC to Spokane would attract a high level of interest. Bringing the event to Spokane is evidence of his dedication to improving Spokane schools, public and private.

The YCEC included a summit prior to the conference for community leaders. A keynote speaker led the summit and breakout sessions were held for the 75 guests to discuss early childhood education and creating a shared vision.

Local speakers at the summit and the conference included Spokane Mayor David A. Condon and Whitworth University President Beck A. Taylor, who inspired the leaders and educators to spark change in education. Attendees were primarily professionals from multiple disciplines (e.g., teachers, special educators, school psychologists, physical and occupational therapists, and speech pathologists). The event attracted people from around the country, but majority were from the Pacific Northwest.

This extensive network of key players involved in the YCEC contributed to the enormous success and would never have been achieved if it were not for the community coming together to make a change. Many thanks to the dozens of volunteers who assisted with planning and execution, including graduate students from Gonzaga, Eastern Washington University, Washington State University and Whitworth.