Child Care ResourcesWho We Are
Chalene Harshman (Quality Improvement Specialist and Focused Child Care Network Specialist)
Chalene Harshman was born and raised in Baker City, where she still resides and is raising her family. Chalene is very excited and grateful to serve the surrounding communities in this role. Prior to this role, she was a Substance Use Disorder Counselor for New Directions Northwest, Alternative Incarceration Program at Powder River Correctional Facility. Chalene had the privilege to work with individuals who wanted to better themselves as a father, husband, son and friend. Before working for New Directions Northwest, Chalene served her community as a Teller and Banker for Wells Fargo for 6 years until the location was closed. During this time, she was attending college and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Development. Ever since she was a child, her passion for helping others has always been important, and as she grew older, helping children became her focus. Chalene loves deepening her knowledge around early learning and the impact of trauma.
Dione Ashby (Infant/Toddler Specialist)
Dione Ashby is from Baker City where she has lived since she was 10 years old. Dione has her Associates of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Early Childhood Education and a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Psychology. Dione has over 18 years of Early Childhood Education experience. Dione was previously employed with Greater Oregon Behavioral Health, Inc (GOBHI) as a Registered Behavioral Therapist, working one-on-one with children on the Autism Spectrum. Previous to that, she was an In-home Child Care Provider for over 11 years. Dione has been in the shoes of those she works with and is excited to use her experience to help guide everyone on their professional development journey! Dione’s passion for Early Childhood Education and providing a quality early years foundation for every child in our communities will guide her to be your advocate and an advocate for every child in your care!
Dione is a single mom of 4 handsome boys and a beautiful daughter-in-law, and grandma to an adorably sweet 3-month-old granddaughter. Being a grandma is the absolute best! Dione loved being home with her boys when they were growing up and can’t wait to watch her granddaughter learn and grow, as well. In her free time, Dione likes to spend time with her family or binge-watching Harry Potter movies, Hulu, or Netflix. Two of her favorite shows to watch are Holiday Baking Championship or the Great British Baking Show. Although Dione does not bake that often, she likes to live vicariously through the amazing bakers in those shows.
Theresa Martinez (Director)
Theresa Martinez transitioned into her role as the Child Care Resources director role from her previous role as the Eastern Oregon Early Learning Hub, Early Learning Coordinator. Theresa has had the privilege of working with some of the early educators in the region through Preschool Promise and other Hub sponsored professional development opportunities. Before entering the Early Learning arena, Theresa spent 13 years in the classroom teaching Special Education and Alternative Education at every level from kindergarten to high school. While Theresa enjoyed her years in the k-12 classroom, she absolutely loves everything about early learning!
Outside of work, Theresa stay busy with her husband, three children, two cats, one dog, three fish, and six backyard chickens, who she refers to as her ladies. Theresa enjoys nothing more than spending time reading in the backyard with her ladies running around her. When Theresa is not caring for her crew and spending quality time with them, she loves to cook, read, put together jigsaw puzzles, and brew and drink kombucha.
Corina Perez (Preschool Promise Specialist and Coach)
Corina Perez is thrilled to be able to have the opportunity to work with everyone in providing support and guidance for current or future Preschool Promise programs. Corina has earned her Associates degree in Education and will be wrapping up a Bachelors in Integrative Studies with a minor in Focus Child Networking this winter term. Corina was previously working as the Executive Director for a Preschool Promise provider Giggles & Grace Early Learning Center (G&G) in Ontario. During her time at G&G, Corina also worked as their Education Coordinator and Head Infant Toddler Teacher. Corina is a firm believer that education should be supported from “diaper to degree,” which is one reason why she continues to advocate for Early Education by sitting on the Governor’s Healthy Learning Council and Racial Justice Council.
Nancy Melendrez (Spanish/English Quality Improvement Specialist)
Nancy Melendrez comes to her new role as a quality improvement specialist from the Eastern Oregon Early Learning Hub, where she served as an Administrative Assistant. She has extensive knowledge in the areas of contract management, business administration, and has provided technical assistance to Spanish speaking Preschool Promise providers in the past several years.
Outside of work, Nancy spends most of her time with her family. Nancy’s immediate family includes her husband, daughter, foster child(ren), and dogs. Nancy and her family enjoy visiting historical sites, hiking, and going fishing with grandpa. Nancy also enjoys gardening and family movie nights.