Education During the Crucial Years

NAEYC logo Recently, early childhood education has received intense interest from public policy-makers, parents, and employers. New research emphasizes the importance of early learning and child development during the crucial year of infancy to 3rd grade. By giving our children a nurturing environment for learning during the early years while their brains are developing most rapidly, we make it possible for them to grow stronger and healthier and achieve at higher levels throughout their lives.

More early childhood professionals are starting to go back to school to get a degree or certificate, whether it’s to improve their job prospects, take on a leadership positioning, or gain insights on the latest research and trends in early childhood development. Walden University can help early childhood education professionals like you to get the skills and credentials that you need. Explore our programs

Meet Walden's Experts in Early Childhood Education

Walden’s Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership features a distinguished faculty of scholars, researchers, and professionals with real-world experience who share a commitment to teaching. Faculty members blend academic theory with firsthand knowledge to enrich your learning experience and to broaden your perspectives on the latest issues and best practices in the field.

Click on our faculty portraits to learn more about each of them.

Janet Williams

Janet Williams, EdD

Dr. Janet Williams is the Dean for the Division of Teaching, Learning, and Professional Licensure of the Riley College of Education and Leadership at Walden University.

Previously, she has served as an associate dean at the University of New Orleans, director for teacher licensure and assessment for the Louisiana State Department of Education, university faculty member for educational leadership, curriculum and instruction and mathematics education, director for the New Beginnings Charter Schools in New Orleans, P-12 public school administrator, and P-12 mathematics and gifted education teacher in Florida, Colorado, Hawaii, and Louisiana.

Dr. Williams’ service in professional associations includes reviewing college mathematics education programs for the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics in conjunction with the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education, school reviewer for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and a national evaluator for the U. S. Department of Education Office of Innovation for leadership and alternate certification programs.

She has been recognized as a Florida Regional Teacher of the Year, district mathematics teacher of the year, and one of a team recognized as Innovators of the Year by the New Orleans City Business Publishing Group for opening the first university-sponsored charter school in the city.

Her current research interests include data-driven decision-making by student teachers and their impact on P-12 student learning.

Brandy O'Leary

Brandy O'Leary

Dr. Brandy O’Leary is an Academic Coordinator at Walden University.

She has earned her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and her M.S. in Elementary Literacy from Walden University.

She has been in the educational field for over 15 years with experience in special education, early childhood, and higher education. Brandy is a Nationally Board Certified Teacher, and has worked closely with new and veteran teachers as a mentor.

She is devoted to spreading her love of teaching and learning beyond the four walls of the classroom.

Brandy currently resides in sunny Orlando, FL with her husband and two children.

Martha Cheney, EdD

Martha Cheney, EdD

Martha Cheney is the program director for MS Early Childhood Studies and BS Early Childhood Studies programs in The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership at Walden University.

Before assuming this role, she taught courses in Walden’s MS in Education program and in the School of Education at the University of Montana-Missoula.

Dr. Cheney began her career as a writer in educational publishing and has taught preschool as well as primary grades.

She serves as a specialty professional association (SPA) program reviewer for the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and as a site visitor for the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

Michele Lucia EdD

Michele Lucia

Michele Lucia is the academic coordinator for the MS Early Childhood Studies program in The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership at Walden University.

Dr. Lucia holds degrees from Cornell University and Vanderbilt University, and has a diverse and rich professional background that includes time spent as a childcare center director, educational consultant, Montessori teacher, and children’s photographer.

She has taught students of all ages, both in person and online, and published and presented on a number of topics related to early childhood education.

Dr. Lucia joined Walden University in 2007, and has worked as a contributing faculty member and Faculty Lead, participated in the development of courses and improvement of several programs, and served as an active member of various university committees.

Dr. Lucia assumed her current position in 2010.

Stacy Ness

Stacy Ness

Dr. Stacy Ness is the Academic Coordinator for the EdD, EdS, PhD, MAT, and MSED Special Education degree programs as well as the PhD in Early Childhood Special Education at Walden University.

Throughout her time at Walden, she has been a course instructor, lead university supervisor, mentor and dissertation chair. She has conducted research studies, presented at conferences, and is the creator of doctoral and master’s courses on various topics associated with Special Education and Early Childhood Special Education.

Past experiences include being a self-contained classroom teacher for students identified with autism, an Early Childhood Special Education Building Coordinator, and a trainer for the Minnesota Centers of Excellence for Serving Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CLD) Children and their Families.

Stacy has a passion for working with children with Autism and has presented at CEC as well as state conferences on this and other topics in the field of special education. She is active in her community as a volunteer at her local school, a volunteer for various community activities, and as a board member for community service entities.

Tina Marshall-Bradley, Ph.D.

Tina Marshall-Bradley, Ph.D.

Dr. Tina Marshall-Bradley is the Academic Coordinator for the Master of Science in Education (MSEd) program in the Riley College of Education and Leadership at Walden University where she works with the Teaching English Language Learners (TELL), Teacher Leadership (TL), and Self-Design (SD) specializations.

Previously she served as the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Professor of Education at Paine College in Augusta, Georgia.

Dr. Marshall-Bradley also directed the Academic Center for Excellence and Success (ACES) and the Paine College Honor’s Program at Paine College.

She is the founding Dean of the School of Education at Claflin University and has also worked in the Office of Teacher Education, with the Division of Teacher Quality at the South Carolina State Department of Education.

Dr. Marshall-Bradley has held faculty and research posts at Benedict College, the Citadel, South Carolina State University, Norfolk State University, and Iowa State University.

She has been a Fulbright Binational Fellow in Cairo, Egypt and was an American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Fellow at NASA’s Langley Research Center.

At the national level she served as a member of the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) Commission to prepare the standards for use in accrediting educator preparation programs in the United States.

She also served as the co-chair of CAEP’s Committee on International Accreditation. Her research on educator preparation and quality education for students in poverty and students of color can be found in scholarly journals as well as lay publications.

She is a graduate of the College of Charleston and completed her graduate studies at Iowa State University.

Joseph Walsh

Joseph Walsh

I have been in the education profession for over 41 years and my experience ranges from primary grades through graduate school.  I received my Ph.D. from the University of Southern Mississippi and am also a Presidential Awardee for Excellence in Teaching Elementary Mathematics.  

I was born and raised in New Jersey across the river from New York City.  I have also lived in Miami, Florida; Hammond, Louisiana; Diamondhead, Mississippi; Long Beach, California; and Folsom, California, where I presently reside.

I like sports and have done a great deal of coaching in the past.  I have written a book entitled, More Than A Championship, about a wonderful grammar school basketball team I coached in New Jersey.




Seletha Tucker

Seletha Tucker

MS in Early Childhood Studies Graduate / EdD Student
I like that if I was very knowledgeable about a certain topic, I could complete the competency more quickly, and if I needed to take my time on others, this was possible.
Walden’s instructors are there to assist in your education. You are never alone in your journey.
Being able to exercise, rehearse, and express my ideas regarding my passion in education has been a reflective process. I realized we should all aim to effect positive social change in our communities. If we leave a positive mark, then our job has been done well!
Jeneva Davis MS in Early Childhood Studies Student (Tempo Learning)
Yvette Taylor MS in Early Childhood Studies Graduate
Yvette Taylor
Gustavo Sever EdD Graduate
Gustavo Sever
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