Since 1950
make a referral

Meet the Team


Julie Mickel

Julie serves as director of the Early Learning Center. Julie has more than 20 years of experience in the field of early childhood education, early intervention, and special education. A 14-year veteran of the Institute, she provided outreach services to the community through professional and student training on early childhood special education. Recently she has taken the consulting lead with several Tennessee public school systems seeking to bring children with disabilities into an inclusive environment. Additionally, she has presented at numerous conferences both locally and nationally on inclusive practices. She began her career as a preschool special education teacher in Georgia. She has a bachelor’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology and a master’s degree in Early Childhood Special Education from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. 



Amanda robins
Education coordinator

Amanda Robins, who joined Siskin Children’s Institute in 2009, is the Education Coordinator for the Early Learning Center.  After spending 7 years working in the classroom, first as a teaching partner than as a lead teacher, she joined the administrative team as the Instructional Intervention Coach. During that time she played a key role in coaching teaching staff, chairing IEP meetings, and supporting families. As Education Coordinator, Amanda coaches teaching staff and trains on our model as well as the project approach.  She provides training to community partnerships and does some consulting to a public school system who is working to bring best practices to their preschool special education classes.  Amanda oversees the assessment and data collection process, as well as assists the Director of the ELC in daily operations.  Amanda earned her B.S. in Business Management from Bryan College and her Master’s Degree in General Education with endorsements in PreK-3 Regular and Special Education from Liberty University.  


Chelsea Rogers Hixson
family and classroom support coordinator

Chelsea has worked at the Early Learning Center since 2011, during which time she has held the roles of Classroom Teaching Partner, Lead Teacher, Administrative Assistant, and Family and Classroom Support Coordinator. In these roles, she supported families of young children and implemented best practice in the classroom with children with and without disabilities. As Administrative Coordinator, Chelsea worked closely with families and other administrative staff on the ongoing operation of the Early Learning Center including classroom coverage, payroll operations, assisted staff with safety/health compliance, management of the USDA food program and trained others in the Engagement Model.  As the Family and Classroom Support Coordinator, Chelsea works closely with families through the application and enrollment process, coaches teaching staff on the Siskin Engagement Model, coordinates center events, and assists in monitoring licensing requirements of various licensing agencies. 


Karen Coleman
Family and Support Coordinator

Karen manages both the library for the Early Learning Center and the Lending Library of resources for families, which includes a large selection of materials on parenting children with special needs. She also coordinates visits from students at local colleges who observe our classrooms as part of their coursework and works with the Siskin Family Association. Karen received a BA in sociology and English from Albion College, certification in elementary and special education at Eastern Michigan University, and a master’s degree in library science from the University of Michigan. She has been with SCI for more than ten years.



Tameka Slaughter serves as the InstructionalIntervention Coach for the Early Learning Center.  She joined theInstitute in May as a certified teacher.   Tameka has 14 years ofexperience teaching preschool through elementary aged children in both inclusiveand self-contained settings, in public and independent schools.  She hasexperience with managing IEPs, implementing behavior interventions,co-teaching, providing differentiated instruction, progress monitoring, andbeing a member of assessment teams. Tameka has a Master of Arts in Educationfrom the University of Alabama at Birmingham and a Bachelor of Arts inPsychology from the University of South Alabama.  She is licensed in EarlyChildhood Education and Special Education. She brings a wealth of experienceworking with children and their families, as well as the knowledge of specialeducation polices.  Tameka assists with providing ongoing professionaldevelopment and direct coaching to support teachers, staff, and families usingeffective strategies to assist children’s development and progress.