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, including the following:

Want to know more? Below you’ll find video introductions to TARSS, training, and relationship-based professional development (RBPD)!

What does it take to become a trainer?

Take a look at our infographic detailing the financial and time investment you can expect to make to become an approved trainer in Minnesota.

Keep in touch

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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 more than 20 years of experience in the field of education and special education, specifically in technical assistance and dissemination at regional and national levels, as well as teaching, evaluation, research, and training development. She oversees the research and evaluation work of CEED and is currently working on evaluation planning and research related to early childhood assessment, early childhood literacy, and child care systems.

Melissa Donovan

Melissa Donovan, MEd, TARSS Training Specialist

Donovan has been in the early childhood field for about 20 years in various roles. In her current role, she manages the rich professional development offerings provided by the TARSS program, including online and in-person courses and trainings as well as events like the RBPD Fall Retreat and Trainer and RBPD Specialist Symposium.

Molly Hughes

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

Deborah Ottman, MA, Professional Development Coordinator

Ottman oversees CEED’s partnership with the Minnesota Centers of Excellence for Young Children with Disabilities funded by the Minnesota Department of Education, Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE), supporting Minnesota’s early childhood professionals and related service providers via a state-wide professional development system. In addition, Ottman manages the development and delivery of CEED’s suite of rigorous, relationship-based online courses and self-study modules, as well as evidence-based resources such as CEED’s Tip Sheets for early childhood professionals and the Child Development for Child Welfare library of resources.

Need to get in touch with a member of our team? Email us at tarss@umn.edu or call 612-624-5708.