Dr. Tunde Szecsi is a professor of Early Childhood at Florida Gulf Coast University where she is the Co-Coordinator for the Elementary Teacher Education Program. She earned her Master’s degrees in Hungarian, Russian and English language and literature in Hungary. For 17 years, she taught at the high school and college level in Hungary. In 2003, she obtained her Ph.D. in Early Childhood Education at the University of Buffalo and taught courses on elementary and early childhood education and teaching English as a second language. She was the chair of the Honors Executive Board and taught Honors courses on early childhood and humane education. For 10 years, she also served as the Advisor for the Eagles Educate student group of the Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI). Between 2006 and 2014, she fulfilled leadership positions on the International and Awards Committees of ACEI and participated in numerous international projects related to early childhood education. Her research interest has focused on culturally responsive education for young children, diversity in teacher preparation, heritage language maintenance and humane education. Over the past decade, she has made numerous presentations throughout the world and has written over thirty articles and seven book chapters on child development, multicultural education, culturally responsive teacher preparation, and humane education. She served as co-editor for the 2007 and 2012 international theme issues and the Teaching Strategies column of the Childhood Education journal. Currently, she serves on the editorial board of three international journals. She has established and maintained international collaborations with early childhood educators in Hungary, Spain, the United Arab Emirates and Russia. Based on her accomplishments, in 2013 she became a Fulbright Specialist Candidate. Recently, she was appointed an FGCU Scholar who represents the College of Education in the Quality Enhancement Plan. Dr. Szecsi is also a current member of the Advisory Board for the Hunter Institute.
Dr. Elizabeth M. Elliott is a Professor of Early Childhood Education at Florida Gulf Coast University. She holds a BA and MA from the University of South Florida and a Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee. She has been a faculty member at FGCU since 2001. She is a noted expert in the field of early childhood education through her publications, grants, workshops, and presentations with particular interest in teacher preparation, leadership training, and emergent literacy. Dr. Elliott was the Co-PI on a $2.3 million federal Transition to Teach grant from 2006-2010. She has been awarded several other local and state grants over the years.
Dr. Elliott also conducts leadership training and numerous workshops on a variety of education topics including early childhood, special education, and elementary education. During her twenty plus years in the field of education, she has presented at the international, national, state, and local levels on a number of educational issues. She was a public school teacher in Florida and has been a director at two university child development laboratory schools.
Dr. Elliott has served on the Executive Board of the Florida Association for the Education of Young Children, the state affiliate of NAEYC and is the immediate Past President of the Lee County AEYC in Ft. Myers, FL. She currently serves as the FGCU Faculty Counselor for the Omega Epsilon chapter of Kappa Delta Pi, the International Honor Society in Education. This student chapter has won the coveted ACE award, recognition from the international levels for outstanding programs, leadership, and service activities, four times in a row since 2005.
Dr. Elliott was awarded the Junior Faculty Teaching Excellence recipient from FGCU in 2003. In 2011, she was awarded the O.L. Davis Counselor of Distinction Award from the international association of Kappa Delta Pi. She was honored as the Registered Student Organization of the Year Advisor of the Year in 2012 and was awarded the Florida Family and Consumer Science Person of the Year in 2012. In 2013, she was awarded the Kappa Delta Pi, Regional Counselor of the Year.