Thursday, February 25, 2021

Online via GoToWebinar


This is an online event.


Online sign in opens at 8:00 am              Conference begins at 8:45 am

Thursday, February 25, 2021 from 8:45 AM to 4:15 PM CST
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Mickey Alford
(601) 969-0601

Conference Sponsors



If your company, organization or agency would like to be a conference sponsor, contact us at 601-969-0601 or


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Keynote Speaker: Libbie Sonnier, Ph.D.  

Libbie Sonnier is the Executive Director of the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children where she leverages her nearly 20-year career supporting young children and their families. Recognized for her tenacity and deep commitment to children, Dr. Sonnier has led teams of individuals in system-wide initiatives for the betterment of children, families, caregivers, and practitioners. Her experiences conducting longitudinal and experimental research allow her to translate scientific findings into meaningful and practical policy implications that support better life outcomes for children. She is coauthor of multiple publications, technical reports, and training curricula.

Dr. Sonnier received a Doctor of Philosophy in human development from Virginia Tech, a Master of Education in early childhood intervention and family support services from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a Bachelor of Science in special education with an emphasis in early childhood intervention from the University of Southern Mississippi.

Speaker: Candice Taylor

Candice Taylor is currently in her twenty-fifth year in the field of Special Education. She graduated from Mississippi College with a degree in Special Education in the area of mild/moderate disabilities. Taylor taught in an inclusion program in Jackson Public Schools for two years. She spent seventeen years with Clinton Public Schools, as a self-contained special education teacher, inclusion teacher, then community-based teacher. Taylor went on to become the Case Manager for the district for four years. She has served as Parent Outreach Specialist in the MDE, Office of Special Education’s Bureau of Parent Engagement and Support for a year and a half and has spent the last four years in the Office of Early Childhood as the Special Education Instructional Specialist/619 Coordinator.


Speaker: Brittany Herrington, Ph.D.

Dr. Brittany Herrington received her master’s degree in early intervention (early childhood special education) and her doctoral degree in special education with an emphasis in severe/low incidence disabilities at the University of Southern Mississippi. She previously served as a classroom teacher for both pre-k and self-contained special education, a child care center director, and an early intervention provider with the Mississippi First Steps Early Intervention Program. Brittany has also worked on grants where she provided support and training to families and child care centers. During her recent employment at the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE), she worked for both the Offices of Early Childhood and Special Education where she assisted with pre-k and kindergarten policy development and professional development. Brittany was also the early childhood special education coordinator at MDE and provided technical assistance to districts and schools for their special education pre-k and significant cognitive disability elementary programming. She currently works for Realizing Excellence for ALL Children in Mississippi (REACH MS) as the Early Learning and Significant Cognitive Disability Specialist, focusing on supporting district-wide implementation of Positive Behavioral Intervention and Support (PBIS) with SCD and early childhood populations. Brittany also adjuncts in special education for the University of Southern Mississippi.

Speaker: Leslie LaVergne, Ph.D.

Dr. Leslie LaVergne is the Emphasis Area Director of Wellness Programs at the Institute for Disability Studies housed within The University of Southern Mississippi. In this role, she oversees projects related to physical, mental and overall wellness of children and families with special health care needs. Further, she provides families with health education and in obtaining services and resources for children from state and private agencies. As Mississippi’s Ambassador to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Learn the Signs. Act Early Program, Dr. LaVergne provides trainings statewide to increase awareness and education in early identification of children at-risk for developmental delays. Dr. LaVergne received a Master’s of Science in Counseling and Art Therapy from Eastern Virginia Medical School and a Ph.D. in Special Education from The University of Southern Mississippi. She is the co-author of numerous professional publications and continues to conduct research related to family support.

View Agenda Here

Registration Fee

Professionals - $60 (includes CEU fee for teachers)

Parents - $50

A limited number of stipends/scholarships available for parents of students with disabilities.

Please indicate when you register if you are requesting a parent stipend.

.5 CEU hours for Teachers (applied for)

 Refund policy: No refunds will be given.  A substitute participant may be designated in place of a registrant who is unable attend.