Trainer Observation and Coaching program

TARSS’ Trainer Observation and Coaching program is intended to ensure a consistent, high-quality training experience for Minnesota’s early care and education workforce by observing trainers in the field during training sessions. Trainers will receive strengths-based feedback from qualified observers who will use a rubric to determine effectiveness. This is a free program for approved trainers completing training in Minnesota.

We encourage trainers at any stage of their training career to request an observation. The Trainer Observation and Coaching Program is meant to provide trainers with an objective look at their training practices, using a tool designed with the indicators and competencies available in the Minnesota Knowledge and Competency Framework for Trainers.

You may choose to use the resulting feedback privately to support reflection and professional growth, or you may choose to request coaching following your observation for additional support in goal setting, skill building, and reflection. This program is entirely focused on personal reflection and professional development and will not impact hiring or trainer approval practices.

Observation Request

If you are interested in having a TARSS Observer complete an observation at one of your trainings, please complete the Observation Request Form. We will follow up with you with more information. If you have questions, please email us at

TARSS Observers

Lynn Barten

Lynn is an early childhood educator who has owned and operated Pitter Patter Play School in Alexandria, Minnesota, for over 20 years. She is a state-approved trainer with a bachelor’s degree in early childhood leadership. Her dedication and passion for early childhood education can be seen in her peer relationships and leadership in early childhood programs in her community. Lynn enjoys training all over the state to inspire others and gain inspiration from other professionals.

Fowsiya Dahir

I am currently a family and community engagement specialist at Robbinsdale Area Public Schools. I am an approved bilingual/bicultural master trainer at the Minnesota Center for Professional Development (MNCPD), MDE-approved Teacher of Teachers (ToT) for the Work Sampling System (WSS), former mentor/observer of Care Aware of Minnesota, and observer at CEED. I obtained a bachelor’s degree from Metropolitan State University and a master’s degree from Hamline University. Also, I am a multilingual speaker of Somali, Arabic, Amharic, and English. I am a member of the Harvest Best Academy charter school board of directors.

Dana Ellingson

Dana Ellingson

Dana has worked in the early care and education field for more than 25 years, including roles as an early childhood educator and behavior guidance consultant, trainer, adjunct faculty and relationship-based professional development specialist. Dana currently maintains the Expert Trainer and Course Writer memberships through Achieve-MNCPD. Dana holds a master’s degree in early childhood education and a bachelor’s degree in business management and is endorsed through the Minnesota Association for Children’s Mental Health as an Infant and Early Childhood Family Specialist.

Vicki Filteau

As a lifelong enthusiast for self-development, growth, and learning, I am passionate about empowering others to find their voices, strengths, and pathways to goals. I look forward to assisting our educational community with actualizing the great potential of our instructors and other educators, a great honor and responsibility. I have been in the field of education for over twenty years in various roles, including as a trainer for over 10 years, an RBPD Specialist, a consultant, advocate, and a teacher in various capacities. A few of my passions include intercultural connection, advocacy for authentic inclusion, and embracing the unconventional. I am a mother of a young man of 15 years, a loving wife, and a critter lover. When I am not advocating, reading, or cleaning up birdseed, I am puttering in my yard, decorating, or enjoying the outdoors with my family and friends, and maybe attempting a craft or art project.

Oth Oliver

Born in Laos, Oth came to America in 1979. She has over 33 years of experience in the early childhood field and is well known in the community. She has taught preschool and high school-aged children and was a center education director at a Head Start agency. She obtained an MA in education with an emphasis in early childhood education at Concordia University in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Currently, she is a professional development coordinator for Parents in Community Action Head Start, which is the largest early childhood provider in the state of Minnesota. She wears multiple hats such as training, coaching, consultant, and CLASS® reliable observer for infants, toddlers, and preschool, and is recognized as an Expert Trainer by Achieve. Oth Oliver continues to empower others to have a voice and inspire everyone that they matter. You deserve it. You matter!

Raelene Ostberg

Raelene Ostberg is the founder of Thriving Together, an organization dedicated to developing and delivering transformative, fun, and inspiring educational opportunities for early childhood educators and the trainers, coaches, and leaders who support them. She is a keynote speaker, Achieve Expert Trainer, New York State Training and Technical Assistance Professional, licensed parent educator, and curriculum designer. Raelene obtained her BA in theater and MEd in family education from the University of Minnesota.

Michelle Scott

I have been in the early childhood field for over 25 years as a teacher, center director, trainer, and coach. I hold a BS in elementary education and early childhood from MSU-Mankato. I currently work as a Quality and CLASS® coach for Minnesota’s quality rating system in southern Minnesota.