SECA Board of Directors

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  • 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 (2016-2017)
Carol Coleman Montealegre
Teacher Trainer
HighScope Educational Research Foundation Miami, FL

Carol has served as President of the South Florida Association for Young Children (SFAYC), on the Board of the Florida Association for the Education of Young Children (FLAEYC) and as a Member-at-Large on the SECA Board of Directors (2008-2013). She is fluent in Spanish and was instrumental in working with the SECA Editorial Committee to develop the SECA publication, Aula Infantil.

Immediate Past President (2016-2017)
Kathy Attaway
Preschool Teacher, Chance School
Louisville, KY

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.


Arkansas (2015-2016)
Deniece Honeycutt
Fayetteville, AR

Deniece Honeycutt is the Assistant Director at the University of Arkansas Early Care and Education Projects in Fayetteville. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education, a Master of Science degree in human development and family studies and a Doctor of Education degree in adult education. She has conducted research in the field of early childhood education and has been a member of local, state and national early childhood associations for fifteen years (Ozark Mountain Early Childhood Association, Arkansas Early Childhood Association, Southern Early Childhood Association and National Association for the Education of Young Children).

Dr. Honeycutt has conducted staff development for early care providers in private, state and federal funded programs, taught undergraduate early childhood classes at North Arkansas Community College, taught under-graduate literacy classes at the University of Arkansas, trained trainers for statewide dissemination of Pre-K Early Literacy Learning in Arkansas (Pre-K ELLA) and Pre-K Social-Emotional Learning (Pre-K SEL) and provided professional development opportunities for early care providers throughout the state in Pre-K ELLA and Pre-K SEL. She has served on numerous boards at the local and state level, such as the Arkansas Early Childhood Association, Transitional Employment Assistance Board and the Arkansas Child Care Appeal Review Panel.

Florida (2016-2018)
Barbara Backus
Pinellas Technical College

I have worked at Pinellas Technical College since 1994 in early childhood education. I have served on either my local AEYC board or the state board for over 15 years in various positions including president of both. I have been married to Ray for 45+ years and have 2 wonderful boys, David & Tim.

Georgia (2013-2016)
Anita Dailey
Program Chair/Instructor, Early Childhood Care & Education
Central Georgia Technical College

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 (2016-2018)
Tricia Platt
Lexington, Kentucky

My career in early childhood was destined before birth; I lived with a SECA Mom. As a Parent Educator, Director, Early Interventionist, Trainer, Faculty and Program Coordinator I have always been passionate about nurturing and teaching children. I recently returned to my first job, as an Early Childhood Teacher at the Family Care Center, in Lexington, KY. I work with infants while their teenage moms go to high school on-site, helping babies and parents grow and develop – best job ever!

Louisiana (2017-2019)
Chris LeJeune
Jennings, Louisiana
Chris LeJeune has been in the field of Early Childhood through public education for 25 years.  She has experience as a reading consultant for SRA/McGraw Hill.  She has presented numerous trainings with her district’s Leader Team as well as at The Louisiana Early Childhood Association’s conferences.  She has been named Teacher of the Year several times and is a Mentor Teacher.  She was awarded the Outstanding 8(g) Top Ten Pre-k State Program Award, several LAECA Jane Herrin Mini Grants, the Helen Harley Memorial Award, and the one she is most proud of the 2012 Mildred Souther Award.  She has served on the LAECA Board for over 15 years; she is a two term president and presently serves as Past President.

kathyMississippi (2014-2016)
Kathy Young
Hattiesburg, Mississippi

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.

belva demendozaNorth Carolina (2016-2018)
Belva DeMendoza
Fayetteville, North Carolina

Marti_NicholsonOklahoma (2012-2016)
Marti Nicholson
Oklahoma City, OK

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.

Deni_titcombjpg South Carolina (2015-2017)
Deni Titcomb
Lexington, South Carolina

Deni has been working in EarlyChildhood Education for over 20 years, teaching kindergarten and first grade. Currently she teaches first grade in Lexington School District One. She earned her BAS degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of South Carolina and Masters in Elementary Education from Lander University. She is the past president of SC Early Childhood Association where she has served various positions. Deni is married to Chris and they have a five-year-old daughter, Kristen.

Tennessee (2016-2018)
Cathy Waggoner
Union City, Tennessee
Cathy is Administrator of the Promethean Foundation.  She is a co- author of Starting with Character, published by Redleaf Press.


Cille_DAscenzoTexas (2013-2016)
Cille D’Ascenzo
El Paso, Texas

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.

barnes_susanVirginia (2013-2016)
Susan Barnes
Associate Professor, James Madison University
Harrisonburg, VA

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.

sbrodofWest Virginia (2015-2017)
Suzi Brodof
Huntington, WV

Suzi is the executive director at River Valley Child Development Services.

2013JeffHeadShot Member-at-Large (2013-2016)
Jeff Leffler
Hattiesburg, Mississippi

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. 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 and technical assistance initiatives.

joan_smith_webMember-at-Large (2015-2017)
Joan S. Smith
Educational and Training Technician Supervisor
Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Langley AFB, VA

I have worked in Air Force child development centers as a preschool and toddler teacher, and now as a supervisor for over 25 years. I served 10 years as a board member of the Virginia Association for Early Childhood Education in several capacities. I served as President of Tidewater Association for Early Childhood Education (TAECE) twice. I am presently a board member of TAECE.

The military has been an important part of my life as my husband served 30 years in the Air Force and we lived all over the world while raising our three children before retiring in Virginia in 2000.