On behalf of the Leading the Way childcare conference committee, we were thoroughly impressed with Barb and her commitment to our full day professional development conference last fall in Wisconsin.  She tailored not only her keynote presentation but also her two workshops to meet the social emotional needs of the childcare providers, and consequently the young children, in our area. 

She designed our professional development experience to include hands-on strategies like building upon the strengths and interests of the children and making individual support plans while empowering teachers and boosting their confidence.   

As the main facilitator, Barb was compassionate, interesting and well-organized.  We really appreciated her wisdom and life experiences as she as she led us through interactive and experiential activities. Everyone left with so many ideas to incorporate around working with children with challenging behaviors.  I would highly recommend Barb!  

Here are a few comments from participants as stated on conference evaluations:   

*Barb O'Neill is a wonderful speaker. Would attend again to hear her speak.

*I love how she had us share with each other the top 5 take-aways from all the sessions. She's a great speaker!

*This was very inspiring to me, extremely helpful, and quite interesting. I would like to try this in my room with my children. Interactive with us, fun!

Kelly Borchardt
Leading the Way conference committee member
Executive Director of Childcaring, Inc.
Stephen’s Point, WI

Dean head shot.jpg

As an early education professional, speaker and trainer, Barb did not just come into our Center with a set presentation ready to deliver – she took considerable time up front to talk to our staff and understand their programing and concerns, she wanted to hear real stories about our children. With this information she was able to adapt and create a presentation that was meaningful and practical to our organization and our staff. Attendees left with tools they could immediately implement into their classroom and in their parent coaching sessions. It did not end there as she provided follow up calls, feedback and allowed ample opportunity for questions and answers. We got much more than a well thought out presentation, we got meaningful coaching that helped our teachers and staff feel more confident in their approach to working with “challenging behaviors” and helping children.

Dean Wong
Executive Director
Imua Family Services
Kahuluai, HI


After completing the 3-day Transform Challenging Behavior Training with Barb the teachers have repeatedly told me that they appreciated having the opportunity to do hands-on activities during the training. They said it was very helpful that Barb asked them to provide real scenarios about the behavioral difficulties that they are currently facing during this school year. Barb helped them think through how to work it out to apply specific strategies from the training to support these children. It wasn’t just a general training about behavior and then for us to individualize later and apply it for own needs.

Barb also led a Transform Challenging Behavior Managers Training for us and that was very productive. It was really eye opening and several managers said they had an “a-ha moment” on how important it is for them to get into the classroom regularly to support the teachers, rather than let the specialists do this and report back to them.

Barb is the only presenter who has ever followed up with us after the training to see how we are doing and how she could continue to support us in implementing the strategies from the session – that really stood out and we really appreciated it.

Gilda Gonzalez
Riverside County Office of Education Migrant Head Start
El Centro, CA


Barb O’Neill’s “Transforming Challenging Behavior Cheat Sheet” led me to know that she was the right person to give the keynote address for MELC’s Social-Emotional Conference this past January.  As Pennsylvania’s early childhood field works on quality Inclusion, and eliminating or reducing Expulsions / Suspensions, Barb’s use of play and creativity in response to children’s challenging behaviors  was a great match.  I found Barb’s approach to the project to be thoughtful and comprehensive, ensuring clarity of expectations for conference day.  Participant evaluations included comments asking for Barb O’Neill to present at future conferences.

Joanna Lacorte
Quality Advisor, Montgomery Early Learning Centers
Committee Member, Educating the Heart Conference
Narberth, PA


Barb's training, Building on Children’s Strengths and Interests: Essential in Transforming Challenging Behavior, provided a variety of  content which allowed each of my teachers to self-reflect on their experiences and grow. She helped them get a new perspective on their classrooms which allowed them to self-realize that they really did not have it "that bad". I observed two teachers in particular step outside of their comfort zone and by shifting what they were doing in their classroom (without losing complete control) they were able to successfully put new ideas into practice. I also appreciate that the teachers made use of the resources Barb gave us and continue to use them into their team meetings.

Erica Almaguer
Director, Early Childhood Education Center
San Francisco State University
San Francisco, CA

Faye Cassell Bankler - Barb O'Neill Success Stories

Barb's coaching has challenged me to take leaps forward in my professional growth and my effectiveness in mentoring teachers in an inclusive preschool program. Barb's mix of honesty, acceptance, and reflection helps educators see new possibilities and develop far beyond their initial goals. She is an incredible resource and a talented teacher trainer. Barb's mentoring has vastly enriched my professional development and learning.

Faye Bankler Casell
Assistant Director, Preschool Services
Bertha Alyce Early Childhood Center, Evelyn Rubenstein JCC - Houston, Texas

Barb was able to adapt her training to our program and she gave us related examples that explained her method and demonstrated how this would look in the preschool classroom. Classroom management is always an ongoing conversation with our college students and this helped them understand how improv-based play can help them when approaching a child that does not want to participate in a session.

Grizelva Sanchez, Site Manager
Jumpstart Fresno
Fresno, California

Shana Hewitt - Barb O'Neill Success Stories

Barb has a way of building relationships and empathizing that allows her to understand the issues in the classroom and give the necessary support to take her clients to the next level as educators. The confidence that working with Barb gave me propelled me into a leadership role in Early Head Start.

I went on to become a program director and a member of the Adjunct Faculty at Brooklyn College. 

Shana Hewitt, Associate Director
Visiting Nurse Service of New York
Queens, New York

Catherine Mathis - Praise for Barb O'Neill

Barb understands the daily operations, highlights and challenges of early childhood programs. She offers developmentally appropriate strategies for transforming challenging behavior and respects teacher's daily work with children. Her workshops are enjoyable, engaging and useful for individuals with varying degrees of experience and education. Everyone will learn something! I wholeheartedly recommend Barb O’Neill as a consultant to early education programs.

Catherine Mathis, Lecturer and Former Early Childhood Program Director
Fresno State University - Fresno, California

Dylan Bosseau - Barb O'Neill Success Stories

I’d been wanting to use puppets in my classroom for years...but I felt shy and intimidated. Barb encouraged me and coached me through my first attempt, and now "Bunny" is an important part of our everyday! The children are completely engaged and I am thrilled. I hardly have any behavioral challenges at circle time now. I could not have done it without Barb's clear and supportive coaching.

Dylan Bosseau, Preschool Teacher
Van Asselt Elementary, Seattle Public Schools
Seattle, Washington

Rudy Anderson - Barb O'Neill Success Stories

I attended Barb's workshop and was delighted to see how she’s tackling the difficult work of dealing with children who challenge teachers every day.

Her approach is highly respectful of both the child and the teacher and her examples demonstrate how she has used these methods with success.

Rudy Anderson, Early Childhood Specialist/Trainer
Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Training and Technical Assistance - Arizona, California and Washington