Trainers and RBPD specialists can access TARSS support from CEED staff by emailing tarss@umn.edu or calling 612-624-5708. Hours of operation are 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday; we will respond to calls and emails within two business days.

About us

CEED is home to the Trainer and Relationship-based Professional Development Specialist Support program (TARSS), funded by the state of Minnesota’s Department of Human Services (DHS), Child Development Services. The TARSS program supports trainers, coaches, and relationship-based professional development (RBPD) specialists in the early education field.

Outline of the state of Minnesota bisected by a wavy line that looks like a river

We provide support through:

  • Professional development for trainers, coaches, and RBPD specialists
  • Events and conferences
  • The Trainer Academy
  • “Training of trainer” events for DHS courses
  • Observation and mentorship for trainers
  • Building trainer capacity statewide
  • Recruiting trainers statewide
  • The RBPD credential
  • Support for Develop users
  • Data collection to evaluate the TARSS program

Keep in touch

Join a trainer listening session to learn more about TARSS and share feedback, and subscribe to our mailing list to receive TARSS news and opportunities right in your inbox.

Program staff

Get to know our team in this video excerpt from the 2021 RBPD Fall Retreat
Ann Bailey

Ann Bailey, PhD

Director, CEED


Bailey has over 20 years of experience in teaching, evaluation, research, training development, and technical assistance at the regional and national levels. She oversees CEED’s work as well as conducting research and evaluations.

Melissa Donovan

Melissa Donovan, MEd

TARSS Training Specialist


Donovan has been in the early childhood field for about 20 years in various roles.

Kristina Erstad-Sankey

Kristina Erstad-Sankey, MSW

Associate Director of Program Quality


Erstad-Sankey oversees CEED’s program quality work, including classroom observations and coaching. She also directs CEED’s professional development offerings for coaches, trainers, and RBPD specialists.

Molly Hughes, MA

Implementation Specialist


Hughes joined the TARSS team in 2023 after spending over 25 years in the field in a variety of direct care settings. She is also an approved trainer and course writer.

Mary McEathron

Mary McEathron, PhD

Research Associate and Lead Evaluator


McEathron has 20 years of experience evaluating state and local programs with an emphasis on useful evaluations that support learning and program improvements. She has worked with numerous training and professional development programs, and brings that experience to her work as the lead evaluator for TARSS.

Deborah Ottman, MA

Professional Development Coordinator


Ottman brings her expertise in relationship-based professional development and adult learning to her role developing and managing CEED’s professional development offerings. She supports Minnesota’s early childhood professionals and related service providers via rigorous, evidence-based online courses, self-study modules, and in-person trainings.

Meredith Reese

Meredith Reese

Research Assistant


Reese joined CEED in 2019. Her work includes project management, program evaluation, and early childhood research.

Hannah Riddle de Rojas

Hannah Riddle, MA

TARSS Program Manager


Riddle joined the early childhood program quality team at CEED in November 2019 after cofounding SolBe, an early childhood program in Boston, MA. She has been a trainer for the last 7 years.