Leadership

SECA Board of Directors

• The SECA Board is a representative body of 17 members.

• One (1) of those members, the President, is elected by a vote of the membership.

• One (1) member, the President, serves as President-Elect and Immediate Past-President, before and after their term as President.

• Thirteen (13) of the members are elected by their state associations to serve as State Affiliate Representatives on the Board. They represent the interests of their state affiliates during Board meetings.

• Two (2) of the members are elected by the Board of Directors and serve as Members-at-Large. Nominations for these positions may be submitted by the membership.

All members except the President serve 3 year terms. The President serves one year as President-Elect, two years as President and one year as Immediate Past-President. The Board members represent a wide diversity of professionals from the early childhood field and are charged with ensuring the continued success of the Association in meeting the needs of its members and the children and families of the South.

The Board of Directors meets twice a year, in the spring at the annual conference and in the fall. Other meetings may be called as necessary. Minutes of the meetings are available to members upon request to the SECA office.

Your SECA Board of Directors

President (2014-2015)

Kathy Attaway
Preschool Teacher, Chance School
Louisville, KY
kathatt1@hotmail.com
Kathy got her formal education at University of Louisville and Jeferson Community College. After graduating Summa Cum Laude, Kathy began teaching immediately at Chance School, where she continues to teach preschool to this day.

Past President (2012-2014)

Nancy Jane Cheshire
Early Childhood Professor Emerita
Pierpont Community & Technical College
Bridgeport, WV
ncheshire@ma.rr.com
Nancy has been active for many years in SECA and was the West Virginia representative on the Board of Directors 1998-2005, served as vice-president 2005, served on Editorial Committee since 2006 and was selected as Outstanding SECA Member 2009. Before becoming an early childhood professor, she was a preschool teacher/director and executive director of a federal child care facility.

Alabama (2012-2014)

Richard Hardison
Florence, AL
richard@certraining.org
Richard is Past-President of the Alabama Association for Young Children and founded Childcare Education Resources (CER) in 2000, where he serves as the Executive Director.

He holds a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of North Alabama (UNA) and has experience teaching second and sixth grade elementary, operating a child care facility and 16 years in the field of early education.

Richard serves on the Governor’s Early Childhood Advisory Council and the Alabama Quality Rating and Improvement Steering Committee.
He is dedicated to improving the quality and profession of early childcare programs.

Arkansas (2014-2016)

Geania Dickey
Little Rock, AR
geaniadickey@aol.com

Geania Dickey is employed by Arkansas State University Childhood Services and is the Program Coordinator for the Arkansas Children’s Program Administrators Credential an has been a member of Arkansas’ Quality Rating Improvement System/Better Beginnings’ Leadership Team throughout the system’s development and implementation phases.  

Geania has served as the Public Policy Co-Chair for the Arkansas Early Childhood Association (AECA) since 2002 and continues to serve as the facilitator for the Invest Early Coalition Advisory Committee.  Geania has worked with and received training in advocacy from the National Women’s Law Center and was a member of the first Policy and Advocacy Institute for Emerging Leaders sponsored by the Children’s Defense Fund in 1999.  She is also the recipient of the 2004 Sister Joan Pytlik award for Legislative Advocacy presented by the Arkansas Kids Count Coalition, was selected as the 2007 Arkansas Early Childhood Association Outstanding Member and recently was honored with the Arkansas Advocates for Children and Family – Friend of Children award in 2012.

She resides in Little Rock with her husband Matt and two sons, Marshall and Adam.

Florida (2012-2014)

Sister Roberta Bailey
Member of the Benedictine Sisters of Florida (St. Leo, FL)
Principal, San Antonio, FL
sasadmin@tampabay.rr.com

 

In 1959 Sister Roberta began her career as a classroom teacher for age groups ranging from infant all the way to college student.  She founded two Montessori programs and has been involved in educational leadership since 1970.  Sister is an elected Councilor and archivist for the Benedictine Sisters of Florida, a member of the advisory council for the Office of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of St. Petersburg, and a board member -sitting on the Quality and Finance/Audit committees- for the Pasco-Hernando Early Learning Coalition.  Sister was a governor's appointee on Florida's Universal Pre-K commission.  Her association with SECA dates back to her college days in Louisville, KY.  She is a frequent lecturer on a variety of topics such as parent education, early childhood development, play, Montessori education, stress management, and humor.  Sister is the past editor of the ECA of Florida journal Children Our Concern and a former member of the Tampa Oratorio Society and St. Leo Chorus;  she currently plays a tenor recorder with her community's ensemble.  Sister is an avid reader and enjoys cross-stitchery.

Georgia (2013-2015)

Anita Dailey
Program Chair/Instructor, Early Childhood Care & Education
Central Georgia Technical College
adailey@centralgatech.edu
Anita began her career in Early Care and Education in 1986 working as a preschool teacher and assistant director of a child care center in her church.  Finding she had a strong desire to help others be successful in working with children she began teaching adults through the continuing education program at Columbus Tech. 

Anita is currently the Program Chair for the Early Childhood Care and Education program at Central Georgia Technical College in Macon, Georgia where students may earn technical certificates, technical diplomas or associate degrees.  She holds a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Georgia College and State University and has been instructing at the college level for almost twenty years.

She has most recently served as the chair person for the Instructional Faculty Curriculum Consortium for the Technical College System of Georgia’s Early Childhood Care and Education programs.  Anita has also been active on the GAYC Board of Directors.

Kentucky (2012-2016)

Maureen O'Brien
Louisville, Kentucky
maureenob2002@yahoo.com

Maureen O’Brien is currently teaching preschool in the Jefferson County Public School System.  She taught at Chance School from August, 1999 to August, 2010.  She was director of Scottsburg YMCA Learning Center from December, 1996 to August, 1999.

Maureen has served on the KAECE (Kentucky Association for Early Childhood Education) since 1990.  She completed her Bachelor’s Degree at University of Louisville and her Masters in Early Childhood Education in March, 2009. 

Louisiana (2014-2016)

Jo Carroll
Shreveport, Louisiana
Jo.carroll@la.gov

I currently work for the department of education as a network coach specifically in the field of early childhood education. In this position I work with 13 districts in the Northwest part of our state.  I have been in the field of early childhood for over thirty years in a variety of positions but primarily in the public school system both in regular education and special education.

I became active in SECA as a college student back in the mid 70’s serving as the first president in our student affiliate and I now serve as the state representative of LAECA. I have served in a variety of capacities within our state organization. I am also on the adjunct faculty with LSUS in Shreveport. I am actively involved in my church and teach 1st graders in Sunday School as well as assist with our children’s choir program.

I have been married to my husband “Butch” for almost thirty years. I have a daughter and two sons and three of the best grandchildren there has ever been

Mississippi (20014-2016)

Kathy Young
Hattiesburg, Mississippi
kathy@justplanevideos.com

Kathy Chase Young has been active in the field of Early Education for 25 years.  During her career, she has served as a childcare director, a preschool teacher, a CDA trainer, adjunct university faculty, and as a consultant and author of children’s books.  She is employed as the Director of Children’s Ministry at the First Presbyterian Church in Hattiesburg, MS.  Kathy is a past president of the Mississippi Early Childhood Association and is honored to represent Mississippi on the Board of Directors of the Southern Early Childhood Association.  She has a B.S. degree in Education and Psychology and an M.S. in Child and Family Studies.

Oklahoma (2012-2014)

Marti Nicholson
Oklahoma City, OK
mnicholson@oklahomachildcare.org

Marti is currently the Parent Services Manager for the Oklahoma Child Care Resource and Referral Association. Her career also includes six years as a referral counselor and eight years as Executive Director of the CCR&R agency in Oklahoma City.     

During her tenure at the Oklahoma City CCR&R, she served on a team that was instrumental in the creation of Oklahoma’s early childhood professional development system.

Her professional focus for the last several years has been on customer service and the professional development of referral specialists. She is the author of multimedia and online training courses that are used across the nation by CCR&R’s. 

South Carolina (2009-2014)

Crystal Campbell
School District 5 Lexington/Richland Counties
Irmo, South Carolina
sugarmama77@gmail.com

Crystal is the Early Childhood Coordinator for the school district and an Adjunct Professor at Midlands Technical College in Columbia, SC.  She is a former President of the South Carolina Early Childhood Association.

Tennessee (2010-2016)

Lisa Maddox-Vinson
Clarksville, Tennessee
maddoxl@apsu.edu

Lisa Maddox-Vinson has more than 20 years of experience working with children. For 15 years she was the Children's Library Director for the LaVergne Public Library, which is ranked 5th in the nation for its children's programs. She currently teaches Early Childhood Education at Austin Peay State University. In addition, she is a children's storyteller and entertainer, and conducts in-service training for teachers and librarians who work with children and literacy.

Texas (2013-2015)

Cille D'Ascenzo
El Paso, Texas
jdascenz@elp.rr.com

Cille has worked with and for children most of her life, teaching grades from Pre-K to college level, and working as a Child Development Specialist and Resource Consultant for the State of Texas. Cille received her M.Ed from the University of Texas at El Paso, and is a National Training Institute Child Care Health Consultant and trainer.

Virginia (2013-2015)

Susan Barnes
Associate Professor, James Madison University
Harrisonburg, VA
barnessk@jmu.edu


Susan was a head teacher in a private preschool and kindergarten in Ann Arbor, Michigan, head teacher at the University of Michigan International House Preschool, and kindergarten and second grade teacher in Harrisonburg City Public Schools, among other early childhood positions.  She is now an Associate Professor in Early Elementary and Reading Education at James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA and a Faculty Liaison for the Augusta County Public School Partnership.  Susan received her PhD from James Madison University. 

West Virginia (2011-2014)

Missy Smith
St. Albans, WV
Melissa.D.Smith@wv.gov

Melissa “Missy” Smith was born and raised in West Virginia.  She graduated from Fairmont State College in 1991 with a bachelor’s degree in education and from Marshall University in 1997 with her master’s degree in family and consumer science.  For several years, Missy worked in the early childhood field as a classroom teacher in public education, Head Start, and child care centers.  After receiving her master’s degree, she worked in child care resource and referral as an Early Childhood Specialist for six years.  During that time, she taught and mentored child care center staff and family child care providers through trainings and the Apprenticeship for Child Development Specialist program.

Missy has been with the WV Department of Health and Human Resources, Division of Early Care and Education since 2004.  Her most current projects include WV Pre-k, Statewide TRAILS System, and technical assistance to CCR&R professional development teams, various councils, and the early childhood community.  She has developed statewide documents, written articles for the WV Early Childhood Provider Quarterly and is a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children, Southern Early Childhood Association, and the WV Association for Young Children.  

Member-at-Large (2013-2017)

Jeff Leffler
Hattiesburg, Mississippi
Jeffrey.Leffler@usm.edu

Jeff Leffler is a visiting assistant professor in Child and Family Studies and the executive director of the Center for Child Development at the University of Southern Mississippi. He is a past president of the Mississippi Early Childhood Association, currently serving as interim executive director. Jeff has served in a variety of roles throughout his career including as a preschool teacher, children's pastor, early learning program director, private school principal and coordinator of statewide professional development initiatives. He is married to Karen, has three children (Luci, Charlie, and Julia) and resides in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

Member-at-Large (2011-2014)

Dr. Floyd Creech
Mullins, South Carolina
fcreech@fsd1.org

Floyd has been an active member of SECA for many years. He is presently the Early Childhood Coordinator for Florence School District 1 and Principal of a new early childhood learning center. His entire career has been devoted to the field of early childhood education. Floyd has received many local and state level honors. He has received the Outstanding District Member Award at SCECA. He has a doctorate in Early Childhood Education and has served as a professor in Florence, SC and USC in Columbia.  Floyd is active in his educational community of Florence, SC and in his church and home community of Mullins. Floyd has served in positions of leadership locally, regionally and statewide as a member of SCECA, SECA, SCAEYC, and other educational organizations.