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Lisa belliston
Bonnie Rutherford
Pat Reder
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Connie Stout
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Click here for an overview of SECA's Strategic Plan.

 

 

SECA Board of Directors

  • The SECA Board is a representative body of 16 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 (12) 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 (2024-2025)
Crystal Campbell
South Carolina

 

I have been blessed to be able to experience and serve in many educational capacities. Here are a few: School District Five of Lexington/Richland Counties-Early Childhood Coordinator; Teacher Specialist in Allendale for SDE; Early Childhood Specialist in Dorchester District Two Schools; Teacher in Charleston County and Dorchester County Schools; Senior Instructor-College of Charleston; Adjunct Professor- Trident Technical College and Midlands Technical College; Education Specialist for Berkeley/Dorchester Head Start; Child Care Resource & Referral-Quality Coach, and owner and operator of CYC Educational Consulting, LLC.

I retired in 2011 from Lexington 5. As the Executive Director of Dorchester County First Steps, my career has come full circle for I was instrumental in bringing First Steps to Dorchester County by writing the first grant for implementation and serving as the first appointed position from District 2.

I love my family (and am the proud grandmother of Tirrell Jr.), my church, (New Jerusalem Triumphant Church) and my work (Dorchester County First Steps).

 

 

Past President (2024)
Judy Whitesell
Cayce, South

 

 

I recently retired after teaching public school grades 5K-8th grade for forty years in FL, TN and SC.  Thirty of those years in early childhood, where my heart lies. I also taught for 17 years in early childhood education for Midlands Technical College in the evenings while teaching full time during the day.

 

Now aside from my professional duties with SECA, I mentor new teachers. Knowing they are frequently given little support and leave the profession within the first few years, I’ve decided to make a difference and mentor those I can.  I meet with new teachers to listen to their concerns, offer support, resources and encouragement. I’ve provided free training to these teachers individually and collectively. After realizing many directives come from legislation, I’ve become an advocate for teachers with our legislators to improve conditions for teachers and the children we serve. 

 

Alabama (2018-2024)
Richard Hardison
Killen, AL

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arkansas (2018-2024)
Jamie Morrison Ward
Greenbriar, AR

 

 

Jamie is the founder and Training and Resource Officer for Curricula Concepts, Inc. Her primary focus is family engagement and she works in partnership with UA Early Care and Education Projects and Zero to Three to bring research-based curricula and programs to child care centers across the state.  Jamie has experience as a classroom teacher and center director with both ABC and Head Start and served as the Administrator of the Arkansas Better Chance Programs for Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education for several years and has served on numerous committees and boards concerned with increasing quality and awareness around many issues in the early childhood field.  She is currently the Past President of the Arkansas Early Childhood Association, a member of the State Parent Advisory Council, AR Professional Development Steering Committee, ELAN Workgroup and serves as the President of the AR Association for Infant Mental Health.

 

Florida (2024-2026)
Barbie Perdomo
Miami, FL

 

 

With almost 25 years of experience in early childhood education, Barbie has held a variety of positions including those of educator, program director, owner, mentor, assessor, evaluator, consultant, and advocate. Barbie, a first-generation college graduate, feels that education is a lifelong pursuit and that a child's passion for learning starts in the early years. As such, early childhood educators bear enormous responsibility for the education of ALL children. She believes that the vital role that early childhood education professionals play in society and their contribution to the fundamental building blocks of children's learning and development are still not well acknowledged, thus there is still more work to be done. 
 

Dedicated to improving professional development, encouraging program participation, and supporting best practices in early childhood education, she is a relational leader and educator who is passionate about addressing the social-emotional and developmental needs of young children by advocating for educators' professional development and the joint efforts of all stakeholders.  
 

Dividing her time between Florida and North Carolina, Barbie enjoys spending time in the mountains, reading by the river, gardening in her Miami home, and listening to country music. She is married and has three children, who are her greatest pride and joy. 

 

 

 

Georgia (2019-2025)
Lisa Belliston
Director, Professional Development & Center Services

 

 

Lisa Belliston represents Georgia on the SECA Board.  She has also volunteered, beginning in 2003, for the Georgia Association for Young Children in different roles, including Secretary and President.  Professionally, she works at Quality Care for Children where she is the Director of Professional Development and Center Services; her department helps child care programs earn their Quality Rating.  She earned her Ph.D. in Child and Family Development at the University of Georgia and her undergraduate degree at Brigham Young University and Masters at Utah State University.  Her hobbies include exploring new restaurants, museums, and activities, the most recent of which is country line dancing!  

 

 

Kentucky (2019-2025)
Bonnie Rutherford

 

 

Bonnie Rutherford is married to Dauser Rutherford.  They have two grown children, two grandchildren, and one great-grandson.  She lives on a small farm in the southwestern edge of Franklin County, Kentucky.  Dauser and Bonnie have been married for 51 years. Bonnie graduated from Bluegrass Community and Technical College with a GPA of 3.85 and received the Outstanding Student Achievement Award for Outstanding Interdisciplinary Early Childhood Education Graduate for 2009.

 

 

Louisiana (2017-2025)
Patricia Reder
Lake Charles, Louisiana

 

 

 Ms. Patricia Reder has taught pre-kindergarten and kindergarten in Calcasieu Parish schools.  She worked for over ten years as a Head Start/Technology Facilitator for the Calcasieu Parish Early Childhood Department, as a Title I Curriculum Coordinator for John J. Johnson Elementary School, an early childhood campus that serves students in Pre-Kindergarten to Second grade.  Presently, she is working as the Head Start Principal for Calcasieu Parish School System.  She is an active member of the Louisiana Early Childhood Association (LAECA).  She has presented at regional and state conferences on topics such as curriculum, technology, and assessment practices in the early childhood classrooms. Ms. Reder is also a CLASS Trainer, Reliable CLASS Observer for Pre-K and Toddlers, and a Pathways Certified Trainer. 

 

 

Mississippi (2023-2025)
Gena Puckett
Tupelo, MS

 

 

Gena Puckett, EdD serves as Education and Training Specialist for the Graduate Center for the Study of Early Learning. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education from Ashworth College, a Master of Science in Early Childhood Studies from Walden University, a Doctor of Education in Early Childhood Education from Walden University. Gena has experience in the early childhood profession for over 30 years. She has classroom experiences as a teacher in private childcare centers and Head Start. Gena's experiences also include positions as a center director, technical assistant, early childhood education coach, field supervisor, and trainer throughout the state of Mississippi. 

 

 

Oklahoma (2023-2025)
Sarah Albahadily
Edmond, OK

 

 

Sarah began her education career teaching middle school science and soon found herself joining the school's administration as Dean of Students. During her time as an educator, she discovered AdvancEd (now Cognia) and began accrediting schools all over Oklahoma, New York and Michigan. Sarah discovered Primrose Schools during her time accrediting, and has found the Early Childhood Education arena to be incredibly rewarding. Sarah has a passion for training, coaching and mentoring teachers and staff, so they can better support the children and families in their communities. Sarah is known for her leadership, energy, ethical standards and hardworking nature. She loves working with her team as they strive to make a difference in the communities they serve.

 

South Carolina (2021-2025)
Vaudrien Ray
Lexington, South Carolina

 

Vaudrien holds an EdS Degree in School Psychology and is the owner/director of Ruby’s Academy Preschool and Child Care.

"My goals as an early childhood advocate are to stress the importance of early childhood education, promote best practices among educators, and work closely with parents as their child's first teacher."

 

 

Tennessee (2023-2025)
Misha Davydov
Tennessee

 

After spending two years teaching kindergarten and elementary school in Japan, Misha moved to Nashville and joined A New Leaf.  His work with the Musoan Nature Partnership cultivated in him a love of fishing, farming, building, exploring, and cooking gourmet meals in the great outdoors.  He inspires wonder and appreciation for nature in his students.  Misha believes that for true learning to occur, instructors and students must both learn and teach together, so the Reggio approach is a great fit for him.

 

 

 

 

Texas (2022-2026)
Karen Walker
Leonard,Texas


Karen is the Dual Affiliates Representative for Texas AEYC. She has served in many leadership roles, is a published author, and has presented at state, regional, national, and international conference. Currently, she teaches early childhood and special education courses at Louisiana Tech University.  

 

 

 

 

 

Virginia (2023-2025)

Cindy Brown
Portsmouth, VA

 

Mary is a Licensed Family Child Care Provider in Prince William County, Virginia. She has been in the Early Childhood Field for 27 years. She is also a Technical Assistant with Virginia Quality and works with approximately 20 family child care programs that participate with Virginia Quality. 

Mary currently holds a position with Childcare Network, a resource referral agency that is contracted also by Child Care Aware. Mary provides Technical Assistance, USDA program sign-ups and visits, USDA monthly training, a monthly newsletter, and community outreach. She has served on many local and state boards and provides training.

 

 

 

West Virginia (2019-2025)

Connie Stout O'Dell
Glenville, WV

 

 

Connie Stout O’Dell is the Director of Teacher Education Field Placement at Glenville State College.   She completed her undergraduate degree at Glenville State College in Elementary Education and Special Education Multi-Categorical Learning Disabilities, Mental Disorders, and Behavior Disorders.  She earned a Master’s degree in Elementary and Early Education from West Virginia University.  Connie taught public school for 8 ½ years until accepting a teaching position at Glenville State College.  At GSC, she also teaches early education courses and elementary curriculum and supervises interns.  She serves as a co-advisor to the Glenville State College Early Education Student Group and to the Glenville State College Student Reading Association Group.  Connie has held numerous leadership roles on the West Virginia Association for Young Children governing board and is currently serving as the president of the association.  She resides in Glenville, West Virginia with her husband and son.

 

Member-at-Large (2023-2025)
Kelly Carmody
Mississippi

 

 

I am especially passionate about family childcare. Fourteen of my 35 years in early childhood education has been providing one-on-one mentoring and support to family childcare providers in Mississippi.  Family childcare offers families the option of a small group setting, where siblings can stay together while simultaneously meeting the needs of families with unconventional work hours.  In rural parts of Mississippi, family childcare is the only option for many working families. No matter what the type of childcare setting, the most important aspect is the children.  Providing children with a language-rich, nurturing, and developmentally appropriate environment enhances and fosters young minds and provides them with a solid foundation to build upon.

 

 

Member-at-Large (2021-2025)
Jared Totsch
Evansville, IN

 

 

Jared Totsch is the current Director of Early Learning for St. Vincent Early Learning Center. Jared has been a Coach, teacher and Director of Pedagogy during his career. Jared is also an adjunct instructor teaching early childhood coursework for the University of Southern Indiana. Jared has earned degrees in the field of education from IVY Tech, the University of Southern Indiana and Ball State University.

Become a Member

Join the ranks of over 5,000 ECE members in the south!

Support SECA
 

Donations to SECA help fund special projects and further the professional and leadership development of early childhood educators across the South.

Connect with Affiliates

Learn more about your state affiliate and how you can get involved in networking, conferences, leadership and more by selecting your state from the Join Us page. 

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