New Executive Board Members


Photograph of Kris Pederson

Children Action Network

Kris Pedersen, M.A., CCC-SLP


Kris specializes in speech and language development, disorders and interventions in early childhood, as well as early intervention policy and practices. She facilitates the Learning through Everyday Activities and Partnerships (LEAP) team.

Vice President

Jennifer Francois


Jennifer Francois is an assistant professor in the Early Childhood Education program at Kansas State University. Her research has focused on the use of eye-tracking in the early social foundations of language development, particularly how young infants come to recognize familiar caregivers. Dr. Francois teaches a graduate course in infant development. She also teaches an undergraduate class on curriculum. Dr. Francois has had diverse experiences in early childhood settings, including, mostly recently, serving as a program coordinator for an early care and education and preschool intervention program at Rainbows United, Inc. in Wichita, KS. She has also had the opportunity to work under the direction of Dr. Mabel Rice, at the University of Kansas, investigating the morphosyntactic abilities of children with Specific Language Impairment. Dr. Francois received her doctoral training in communication sciences and disorders at Wichita State University. She received her bachelor's and master's training in human environmental sciences, with an emphasis in early childhood education at the University of Arkansas.

Jillian Porter


Jillian Porter, Program Director at Wyandotte County Infant Toddler Services, has worked in the field of special education for the past 10 years. Jillian was born and raised in Kansas City, KS and loves nothing more than giving back to her community through her leadership and commitment to children and families. She began her career teaching special education and was given the opportunity to lead as an instructional coach in the Turner School District. She also served as the Early Childhood Coordinator supervising the At-Risk Pre-K Program, Early Childhood Special Education, and Parents as Teachers. Most recently, Jillian has served as a Special Education Administrator with the Wyandotte County Special Education Comprehensive. Her greatest passion is seeing that all children are given the opportunity to reach their full capacity.

Jillian’s educational background includes a MS in Special Education and BS in Psychology from Pittsburg State University. She also completed her Educational Leadership graduate work at Pittsburg State University.

Jillian lives in Basehor, KS with her husband James and three children. Her hobbies include refinishing/repurposing antique furniture, traveling, kayaking, and live music.

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