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The following people were nominated for an office of the MsECA Board. They were contacted and agreed to join the ballot for their peers to possibly vote them into an office. Please read over the bios that were offered and get to know the candidates for each office. More pictures and bios will be added as they come. The ballot will be placed online giving members who will not attend conference the opportunity to cast a vote. Online “absentee” voting will close on Monday October 17, 2016 at NOON. Voting will begin on September 29, 2016. All winners will be announced at Conference on Friday, October 21, 2016.
For President Elect Of MsECA
Diane Setzer is in her 30th year as an educator with Jackson Public Schools. She is currently in her 13th year as a kindergarten teacher at Davis Magnet IB School, the number 1 elementary school in the state. In her 30 years with JPS, she has taught kindergarten (24 years), first grade (4 years) and worked in the curriculum office (2 years). In 2011 she was recognized as one of four teachers as an Outstanding Educator by Parents for Public Schools of Jackson. She began attending MsECA (MACUS) conferences in 1987 and has been involved since 1996 serving in various positions on the board and conference committee. In 2003, she was conference chair for our 50th conference. She served as MsECA President for the 2006-2007 calendar year. Diane has a passion for children’s early education and has dedicated her life to best experiences for little ones and mentoring other professionals in the field. Diane believes that all children deserve to have the highest quality education that can be provided for them and that they should be given opportunities to share their thoughts and ideas throughout the day.
For 2nd Vice- President October 2017- October 2019
Sara Beth Cruse
Sara Beth Cruse is a student at the University of Mississippi and will graduate in May, 2017 with a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education. She currently holds an Associate of Arts degree in Child Development from Itawamba Community College. She has worked with young children in various settings such as Healthworks, early education centers, private tutoring and elementary schools. Sara Beth has been an active member of MsECA since 2011 and has served for the past two years on the MsECA Executive Board as the Student Liaison. In 2014, she was awarded the Hannah Medders Scholarship from Mississippi Early Childhood. Sara Beth has a passion for the Mississippi Early Childhood Association and wants to work towards growing and serving our membership.
For 3rd Vice President October 2017- October 2019
Rebecca McKeehan wants to facilitate a voice for the early childhood community in Mississippi. She has worked extensively with early childhood professionals to promote best practices and strong professional outcomes for those involved with children and families. She has served children and families in Mississippi in a variety of contexts, as an early childhood educator and community early childhood advocate, a mentor to undergraduate child development university laboratory students and pre-service undergraduate university child development students completing practicum and as an early childhood curriculum consultant for arts-based, non-profit community afterschool programs in Hattiesburg, MS. Currently, she serves on Child Care Advisory Council. Ms. McKeehan is an active mentor to candidates seeking professional growth and credentialing on behalf of the Early Years Network’s Leadership Development program through Mississippi State University and the Mississippi Department of Human Services, Division of Early Childhood Care and Development.
For Northeast Member at Large October 2017- October 2019
As President of the local National Honor Society, Bridget Robinson implemented before and after school tutoring sessions for other high school students needing extra help. Thus she began to actualize her career in education before graduating from high school. With a keen understanding of the importance of education, Bridget graduated from Falkner High School as Salutatorian. Pursuing the path to be an educator, Bridget graduated from Northeast Mississippi Community College where she served as Yearbook Editor, member of Phi Theta Kappa, and Future Educators of America. In 2004 Bridget graduated from The University of Mississippi Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Education degree.
The vision for Kiddie Academy was cast in a conversation with Bridget’s pastor as she began her college career. After completing her undergraduate degree, she began work on opening Kiddie Academy. The dream to start a work that would eventually turn into a full private school was birthed. Being a church sponsored center gave Bridget the avenue to pursue her other passion, showing others the love of Christ. Working as a Sunday school teacher for fifteen years plus beginning in the 2/3 year olds and working up to the teen group has been a blessing beyond words. This position has allowed Bridget to not only teach others about Christ but play an instrumental role in rearing up new leaders, teachers, future worship leaders, etc.
Attending a meeting held by Northeast Mississippi Early Childhood Association three years ago, Bridget knew the vision for this community group was an endeavor she would stand behind. Bridget is also an active member of Excel by 5 New Albany/Union County. It was a pleasure to help connect members of NeMsECA to the Excel community and see the movement spread to Pontotoc County as well. After experiencing the annual conference hosted by NeMsECA, Bridget jumped in to be a part of such an inspiring collaboration. In 2015, she secured the keynote speaker and helped organize several other areas of the conference as well. In 2016, bringing the Excel community onboard for the annual conference set a bigger platform and goal in mind. Bridget along with the other members of NeMsECA worked to make it the biggest and best conference yet for an affiliate of MsECA. Securing a national speaker and other renowned speakers, obtaining the location, appropriating sponsors, and collaborating on details proved to be an exciting challenge.
After working with children and directing Kiddie Academy for the past 12 years, Bridget cannot envision doing anything else. Bridget enjoys working for the Lord along with her husband, Patrick Robinson, and “only child” Goatee the Boston terrier. She has vision, passion, and blessing to have accomplished the achievements mentioned. All glory belongs to the Father above, for without his hand none of this would prosper.
Gena Puckett has been working in the early childhood field for 20+ years. She has taught in day care centers and Head Start programs, was director/center manager of 3 Head Start centers, worked with day care centers as a technical assistant with the Early Childhood Institute and is currently a field supervisor/center liaison for the Early Years Network helping other technical assistants and center directors build quality in the early childhood field. Gena earned an Associate’s Degree in Child Development at Itawamba Community College, a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education at Ashworth College, and a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Studies at Walden University. She has been a member of MsECA for over 11 years and has presented at the annual conferences throughout the years. She is currently the Member-at-Large for Northeast Mississippi. Gena looks forward to hopefully continuing her position as the Northeast Member-at-Large for the next term.
For Southwest Central Member at Large October 2017- October 2019
Hi! I am Morgan Patterson, I currently reside in Flowood, MS, but I am from the Desoto County area. I have a bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies with and Emphasis in Child Life and I have a Master’s in Human Development and Family Studies. Both of my degrees are from Mississippi State University and I am a huge MSU fan! I am currently working for the Early Years Network as a field technical assistant for the central part of the state. Although I have a background in Child Life, I have really found a home in the early childhood Ed field. I love working with teachers and directors to help improve the quality care that each child receives, but most of all I love working with the children. I feel that my energy, enthusiasm, and love for working with people around the state to improve the future for Mississippi’s’ children makes me a great candidate for the member at large position.
For Southwest Member at Large October 2017- October 2019
I currently serve as director of the Hazlehurst United Methodist Church Child Care & Preschool in Hazlehurst, Ms. The center I serve is affiliated with Mississippi Building Blocks and QRIS; we are a 4 star center. As an Early Childhood Educator my service began in the preschool classroom to administration in a period of 25 years. I currently serve on the Board of Healthy Homes for infants and children. I also am affiliated with our local DHS in helping our foster children, the Angel Tree Network, and Toys for Tots.I have been a member of MECA for many years where I served as your Southwest Member At Large for 4 years. I am the mother of 2 grown children and now am the mother of a beautiful 21/2 year old. I am blessed to say my husband and I adopted our youngest grandchild at 3 weeks old and now she is our daughter. I am an active member of Wesson Baptist Church in Wesson, Ms. where I serve as a Bible Study teacher. My passion is serving God and doing His will, He has given me a calling to be an Early Childhood Educator. I strive each day to serve Him, the children, parents, and the community to the best of my ability.
For Southeast Member at Large October 2017- October 2019
I am a mother to two children a son 22 and daughter 20. I have been married to my wonderful husband for 26 happy years. I am dedicated to providing a quality, fun and happy childcare experience to young children. I have been in childcare for 26 years and have loved every minute of it. I am the Director of Early Childhood Program Operations for Hancock County Human Recourses Agency in Hancock County. I have been employed with the agency for 12 years. I oversee 6 early childhood programs across the county. I currently have a Mississippi Childcare Directors Credential, National Directors Credential and a Child Development Associates Credential.
This ballot was created for members of MsECA that will NOT be attending the 2016 Imagine Conference in Natchez. Your name is only needed for verification purpose. Only ballots from valid members that are up to date with membership fees will be counted. All winners will be announced at Conference on Friday, October 21, 2016. Absentee voting will close at noon on Monday, October 17, 2016.
Click the link below to cast your vote:
Have you voted yet? Your options for SECA President-Elect are outstanding! Please go to www.southernearlychildhood.org to learn more about the candidates and cast your vote.
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October 19-21, 2016
Natchez Convention Center
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