Board of Directors and Staff
Our organization is governed by a membership-elected Board of Directors. Our Board of Directors uses policy governance to envision the future and to ensure operations are aligned with our mission statement and meet the evolving needs of our constituency. Our board currently meets once a quarter and serves on active committees throughout the year.
GCCA Executive Committee
Sharon Foster began working in child care in 1979 and, as owner of Bells Ferry Learning Centers (BFLC) with locations in Woodstock and Marietta, has served more than 3000 families since 2001. She holds a diploma in Early Childhood Education and has earned the National Administrators Credential. BFLC is a Quality Rated program, has been voted Best of Atlanta Child Care by Kudzu.com reviewers, has earned the Safety 1st designation from the child care insurance industry, and is one of the most popular child care programs with parents in Cherokee and Cobb counties. Sharon is the author of “Ready? Set? Kindergarten! A Month-by-Month Guide to Preparing Your Child for Kindergarten” available on amazon.com. She is currently serving as President-Elect of the Georgia Child Care Association.
In September 2018, Sharon and Zack will celebrate 25 years of marriage and they have three children: Shelby, Ben, & Natalie. She is an avid runner and enjoys traveling, gardening, camping, and going to concerts…especially Zac Brown Band concerts.
Jennifer Paschal is the director of Kids R Kids West Cobb. She has 26 years experience in Early Childhood field as well as 15 years as a director. In 2013 Jennifer was elected to the Board of Directors for the GCCA.
Vice President Legal/Legislative
Wande Meadows is an early childhood program administrator at Little Ones Learning Center in Forest Park, GA where she manages the daily operations of an early childhood education center that provides preschool, after-school and Pre-Kindergarten education to 150 children. Her success spearheading a community garden at the center prompted a recent visit from Georgia First Lady Sandra Deal to promote nutrition and wellness among young people as keys to early childhood education. Meadows is a graduate of Emory University.
Paula Charles is the President of The Suzuki Schools. She has been the president since 2005. The Suzuki Schools offer a Montessori curriculum and have three campuses in the heart of Atlanta, with approximately 750 children. Paula has a Masters of Accountancy from the University of Texas, and BS in Accounting from the University of Washington. Before joining The Suzuki School, Paula spent many years working in management consulting, and in corporate finance. Paula and her husband, Robert, live in Buckhead.
I am the owner of 2 Discovery Point Franchises in Suwanee and Cumming. These are Child Development Centers that offer full time care of children ages 6 weeks thru Pre-K. I have a total of 3 Georgia Pre-K classrooms and 1 Private Pre-K classroom. I also offer after school care and summer camps programs. I have been in childcare for 12+ years. I was in the Corporate world for 20 years mostly in senior Marketing and Commercial roles. I have an Engineering Degree from Duke University and an MBA from University of Chicago. I have held various roles on the Board of the GCCA since 2010 including 2 years as President, 2 Years as 1st Vice President and currently serving as Treasurer. I have been married for 31 years and have 3 children with my younger son attending GSU and my daughter at NYU. My older son works with me at my Suwanee Center, taking some of my bus driving duties off my hands.
Sandi Douget is an established business owner with a deep commitment to the education of young children. Her passion led her to build Kids R Kids Mableton in 2006 with the intent to create a top quality preschool in the local growing community. KRKM is SACS/AdvancED accredited and is recognized by the franchisor one of the top performing preschools in the nation. She has served on the Executive Board of the Georgia Child Care Association (GCCA) for four years and currently serves as President. Sandi has a Bachelor of Science in Management Information Systems from Mercer University. She lives in Atlanta with her husband and two daughters.
GCCA District Representatives
Danielle Millman is the Chief Operations Officer for Endeavor Schools, where she is responsible for the oversight of high-performing, independent private schools across the country. For the last 5 years, Danielle has supported preschools, elementary, and middle schools within Endeavor with varied curriculums and pedagogy. She has also served as a School Leader directly operating a large campus offering infant through high school.
Prior to Endeavor Schools, Ms. Millman was the Regional Vice President of Operations for a large postsecondary education company covering Southeast and other campuses across the East coast. Danielle was responsible for overseeing operations of as many as 9 campuses with over 2000 students across 6 states. Ms. Millman also worked at another large education group in a leadership capacity for over 10 years. She started as an academic leader and then grew into a corporate Director of Compliance. She spent several years as a Campus President responsible for the operation of a large allied health college. After which, she was asked to oversee all of the operations of the Southeast region as the Vice President of Operations.
Ms. Millman started her formal career in education as an adjunct Professor at George Washington University in allied health courses. Danielle worked in the medical field for many years prior to joining the education industry full time. Ms. Millman received a B.S. in Health Science, and graduated magna cum laude from GWU in Washington DC. Danielle is currently working on her Masters Degree in Educational Leadership.
She currently resides in Alpharetta, Georgia with her husband and two children.
Tommie Terrell Jr. is the co-founder of H.E.R.O.’S Instillment Academy, LLC, an after school program that aids children from ages 4-12. With his program goal in mind to excite the children with work readiness, entrepreneurship, financial literacy skills, and use of experiential learning to inspire each student to dream big and reach their potential. Before devoting his life to H.E.R.O.’s Instillment Academy, Tommie worked as a Community Supervision Officer with the Georgia Department of Community Supervision. With a commitment to be a servant to the community, he obtained his Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Albany State University. Tommie has committed himself to the youth in Dougherty County in Albany. Some accomplishments under his direction are achieving a Quality Rated “2” star rating Childcare Learning Center and the 1st stand alone after school program in Albany. At H.E.R.O’s Instillment Academy, Mr. Terrell actively engages his youth in the community through volunteerism and field trips. Mr. Terrell also has an active mentoring program to inspire young males ages 13 and up. H.E.R.O.’S Instillment Academy represents many things, Helping Everyone Reach Opportunities one at a time, parents, students, and the community.
Brittany is the President and CEO of Growing Room Child Development Centers. Growing Room owns and operates three corporately owned early childhood education centers in Columbus, GA, with approximately 600 children and is a franchised company with ten franchise locations.
Brittany was born and raised in Columbus, GA where she and her husband Brad reside with their three children. Brittany has been with Growing Room since 2001. She is intimately involved in the daily operations of Growing Room.
Brittany graduated with a B.A. in Communications from Columbus State University. She earned her Certificate in Franchise Management from Georgetown University. She is a Certified Franchise Executive and also a graduate of Leadership Columbus. She possesses her real estate license, national administrator credentials, and is a certified early childhood outdoor play inspector and a certified supervisor for outdoor environments. Brittany is active in her community and believes in giving back. In addition to serving on the GCCA Board of Directors, she is President of the American Cancer Society Leadership Council, and serves on the Muscogee County Relay for Life Event Leadership Team and the Education and Training Advisory Committee at Central High School. Brittany has been recognized as one of Columbus and The Valley’s 2017 Rising Stars. She is a member of the Junior League of Columbus, the Columbus Georgia Young Professionals, and the Society of Supervisors. She has also served for many years in the Miss America Organization.
Brittany has a passion for children and believes in a strong foundation for their educational success. She believes that children learn best when there is a strong partnership between home and school.
Cheryl has been in the Early Childhood Education field with La Petite Academy/Learning Care Group since 1993, as a Director and District Manager. She has an acute awareness of the challenges that providers in Georgia face each day. Cheryl has attended a Leadership Academy in Ridgeway, Colorado, among other development-focused programs. An active member of GCCA since 2011, she has worked with other providers to help shape a stronger future for providers across Georgia.
Ben, a native of North Carolina, is the co-owner and operator of KIDazzle Child Care, Inc. He currently serves in the capacity of V.P. of Finance. He holds a Bachelor of Science from North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina and an MBA from Suffolk University, Boston, Massachusetts. Ben, along with his lovely wife Michele, started KIDazzle Child Care in May 1994 and has been actively involved in the child care industry for over 23 years. Currently, he is an active member of GCCA and serves as a member of the Board of Directors, representing District 3 and also served as Legal Legislative V.P. for the past five years.
Jane Newman holds a Bachelors of Science in Education from Boston University and a Masters of Teaching from Simmons College. Jane has taught in public and private schools and helped develop the Gifted and Talented Program for Central Pennsylvania. In 1988, Jane founded Dunwoody Prep and is the on-site Executive Director. Jane is a native of Savannah, but has called Dunwoody home for almost 30 years. She and her husband, Bruce, raised their two children (now adults) in Dunwoody. In her free time, you can find Jane in her favorite Pilates studio, and she and Bruce love to travel when they can!
Demetria Lightfoot lives in Brookhaven with her husband and they have 3 adult sons and 4 granddaughters and 1 grandson. She is the Center Director at the Sunshine House #94 which is located in the Buckhead area. She has been employed with the Sunshine House for 14 years but have been in the Early Childhood Education field for 24 years. She is pursuing her Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership her hobbies include reading, going to the movies, and spending time with family.
My name is Melinda Mathe and I am the Area Director for Tender Years Learning Corporation. I assist with recruiting new directors, training new directors, and teachers within our childcare facilities. I facilitate (8) centers within our company. I love to meet people and I enjoy working with people. I have been employed with Tender Years Learning Corporation for (6) years and have over (15) years in childcare experience. I work very well with Mrs. Ilene Farley (my co-pilot) and president of Tender Years Learning Corporation.
I am new to the GCCA and I am looking forward to assisting when I can and learning more about the organization. I love spending time with family especially my parents. I have always considered myself a “team player” and I enjoy being a part of the team.
Debra is the District Manager for Learning Care Group. She has been with Learning Care Group for 20 years. She has worked in Corporate Child Care since 1988. Previously, Debra has been on the board of AZCCA (Arizona), and TLCCA (Texas)
Debra has two sons and five grandchildren. In her spare time she enjoys reading and antiquing. Debra moved to Georgia in 2017 and is loving it!
Michelle Smith Lank
Michelle Smith-Lank is the Owner/Director of Kids World Learning Center. Michelle manages and oversees the daily operations involved with child care services for over 150 students and families, implementing quality experiences. Kids World Learning Center was the first child care center in the state of Georgia to become Quality Rated in 2012. Kids World Learning Center is also a Quality Rated Inclusion accredited site, a Pre-K tour site, and NAEYC nationally accredited. Michelle served as GCCA President from 2013-2015 where she provided direct feedback to DECAL and assisted in increasing Quality Rated awareness & participation. In 2018, Michelle was invited to serve on Lady Deal’s Children’s Cabinet for the state of Georgia. Michelle and her husband, Steven, live in Statesboro with their two amazing children, Jasmyn and Jamel, who also work in the childcare industry.
Keisha Wynn is the owner of Kids ‘R’ Kids of Cascade and Kids ‘R’ Kids South Fulton. She holds a degree from Florida A & M University School of Business. Keisha began her career in childcare in 2003 when she build her Kids ‘R’ Kids, followed a second center in 2008. Keisha is strong advocate for the education of young children. As a mother of three children, ages 19, 18 and 9, she is an active member of the parent communities in their schools and is a member of the Girl Scouts of America. She is also a volunteer and a member of the Change Makers Society at the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy.
Jay, a native of Colorado, is the owner and operator of The Goddard School located in Sandy Springs. His School, which opened in 2010, has been awarded Circle of Excellence five times and President’s Club (Goddard’s highest award) one time. The School has also been awarded “Best of Atlanta – Preschools” the past five consecutive years. In 2013, the School was accredited by SACS and re-accredited in 2018.
In addition, he is a partner in The Goddard School located in Chamblee, which opened in April 2018. Jay holds a Bachelor of Arts from Duke University and a Juris Doctor from the Duke University School of Law. Prior to opening the School in Sandy Springs, Jay practiced law for 21 years in Georgia and Washington, D.C. Jay has been an active member of GCCA since 2011 and is a past Vice President of the GCCA. In November 2018, Jay returned to serve as an At Large member of the Board of Directors. Given his background, Jay’s primary committee involvement and interest is with the Legal/Legislative Committee, which affords him the opportunity to work on key legislative and regulatory issues impacting the child care industry.
Dr. Teresa Turner is a graduate of Mercer University with degrees in Middle Grades Education, Curriculum Design, and Curriculum and Instruction. She also hold certifications in Montessori Education and have been awarded her Master Montessori Teacher Certification by Dr. Feland Meadows of Kennesaw State University and co-founder of the Pan American Montessori Society. She is also the Montessori Supervising Teacher at Kennesaw State University. Professionally she has worked in the private business and professional development arena as well as in public and private schools.
Since 2001, Debbie has owned and operated Kids ‘R’ Kids of North Peachtree City. She obtained her Bachelor Degree in Psychology from the University of Alabama. Prior to entering the early childhood education industry, Debbie spent 15 years in the technology industry as COO for a software company in Dallas, Texas. In 2001, Debbie relocated to Georgia and purchased her current school.
Debbie has served on the Georgia Child Care Association Board of Directors for over 10 years. During that time, she served two terms on the Executive Committee as Secretary and has been an active, contributing member on at least two committees each year.
Her primary committee involvement and interest is with the Legal/Legislative Committee as this gives her the ability to influence legislation and Bright from the Start rules and regulations towards fair practices for the early childhood education industry.
Courtney works at the Suzuki School at Ponce City Market. The Suzuki School is a preparatory, Montessori preschool with three locations in Atlanta.
Courtney has worked with children and families in a variety of capacities for over 15 years. After graduating from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor's degree in Child and Family Development, she began work at Quality Care for Children as an Early Care and Education Specialist. In 2006, she accepted a position at the Frazer Center as the Director of Child Development Programs and eventually moved into a larger role as the Director of Programs. During her time working at the Frazer Center, she also earned a Master's Degree from Georgia State University in Early Childhood Special Education. She has served on the GAEYC board (the NAEYC Affiliate for Georgia) for 10 years, and served as the President for a two-year term in 2016-2017. As the Director of our Ponce City Market location, Courtney brings an amazing amount of talent, dedication, and knowledge to the Suzuki community.
Courtney is a mom of two boys, George (8) and Charlie (6). She lives in Atlanta in the Kirkwood neighborhood.
I am the executive director at Open Arms Lutheran Child Development Center of Buckhead. We are a faith based, non-profit child care center that provides early education to children from six-weeks of age to school age. We operate a GA Pre-K class and are a 1-STAR Quality Rated center. I hold a bachelor’s degree in Speech Communication and Theatre and a master’s degree in Early Childhood Studies with a concentration in Adult Learners. I have worked in the early childhood field since 1982 where I have held positions as a teacher, child care director, regional director, professional development director, and GA pre-k coordinator. I am currently an adjunct instructor in the early care department at GA Piedmont Technical College. I also am a GA state approved child care trainer. I have been affiliated with GCCA since 2005 as a member and have attended several legislative events sponsored by GCCA. I am married and the mother of 3 children (2 daughters and a son) and 3 grandchildren (2 boys and a girl). I am an avid Atlanta football fan and basically love all sports (although I don’t play any). I enjoy traveling, watching food network channel, and love, love, love watching old sitcoms (I Love Lucy, Leave It to Beaver).
Trudy Bradfield, Region Manager for Childcare Network, Inc. Trudy manages a team of nine District Managers with eighty eight schools in her region located in Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee. She joined Childcare Network in March 2012, as a District Manager and was promoted to Regional Manager in 2015. Prior to joining Childcare Network, Trudy was a Regional Director for the Sunshine House for five years. From 1988 to 2007, Trudy was employed with LaPetite Academy/Montessori Unlimited opening six new Montessori schools in Georgia and was promoted to General Manager where she managed twenty nine Montessori schools in seven states. She began her career in this field in 1982, as a principal of a well established 501C (3) Montessori School in Atlanta, Georgia. Most recently Trudy served an eighteen month term on the DECAL Quality Rated Advisory Committee and joined the Georgia Child Care Association Board in 2018. Trudy is married with two grown sons and lives in Marietta, Georgia.
Jane is originally from Long Island, New York and moved to Atlanta with her husband in 1982. She has worked with several education committees, volunteered with the Juvenile Court System of Fulton County on the Foster Care Review Panel and volunteered with NAEYC as a validator. Jane received her degree in Speech and Language Pathology from Hofstra University. She has been working in the Early Childhood Education for more than 30 years in a variety of leadership roles. For the past 16 years Jane has been working at a Non-profit Faith based school in Buckhead. She has been serving on the GCCA board for 4 years. During her free time she enjoys traveling, cooking and spending time with her husband and son.
Billie Walker is the Director at the Atlanta Children’s Shelter (ACS). Daily she takes responsibility of assisting homeless families throughout the city of Atlanta and aboard with free childcare for their children. Her passion and love for children & families has afforded her 18 years of experience in Early Childhood Education. She’s lives in Atlanta where she’s an activist as well and is heavily involved with other community projects with Arthur Blank’s foundation.
Rebecca is originally from the upstate area in South Carolina, where she attended Anderson College in Anderson SC majoring in business Administration. She has spent the last 39 years working in the early childcare field as a teacher, director, regional director and now the project director for pre-k and head start in Georgia for The Sunshine House that she joined in January 2005. Prior to coming to the Sunshine house she worked for LaPetite academy for 22 years both as a center director and as a regional district manager and responsible for daily operations for anywhere from 14 to 32 centers at any given time. Her current job responsibilities include overseeing 88 pre-k and 5 head start classrooms across the state of Georgia.
Sasha Vinson is Vice President of Operations at the Kids ‘R’ Kids Franchise Support Center. Kids ‘R’ Kids Learning Academies provide a secure, nurturing, and educational environment for children, a place for children to bloom into responsible, considerate and contributing members of society. Sasha has worked with Kids ‘R’ Kids for 16 years. She began her career in Early Childhood Education 27 years ago as a Center Director at a preschool in Louisiana. In the intervening years, she has held roles as Center Director, Corporate Site Director, and Owner at schools in Nevada and Georgia. Collectively, those roles have afforded her the pragmatic, hands on experience needed to understand the challenges and opportunities that Kids ‘R’ Kids franchisees face every day. In addition to overseeing the Operations Team, she supports the initiatives and plans of the Marketing, Training, and Curriculum Departments. Most importantly, her primary objective is to align Kids ‘R’ Kids operations with the needs of its franchisees. Along with her role at Kids ‘R’ Kids, Sasha is a member of the Board of Directors of the Georgia Childcare Association where she represents Kids ‘R’ Kids interests as GCCA works to shape childcare legislation. She also serves on the board of several local and national charitable organizations. Sasha is a proud wife and mother, and truly believes in providing a healthy and safe environment full of creativity for children.
Ellen Reynolds, a veteran lobbyist in the early childhood education field, succeeds Carolyn Salvador who served as GCCA's first executive director. In August, Reynolds was tapped to serve as the interim executive director to see the organization through the transition of Salvador’s departure and in January, the Georgia Child Care Association named Reynolds to permanently replace Salvador as executive director.
Reynolds is a founding partner of True North Strategies, a dedicated lobbying and grass roots firm. There she has created, led and executed strategic advocacy objectives for multiple clients on a number of issues including labor and employment, taxation, and healthcare. Reynolds has represented the Georgia Child Care Association for the past sixteen years, serving as the voice for Georgia’s early education industry at the legislative and regulatory levels.
Reynolds has been asked to serve on various committees by Governors Barnes, Perdue, and Deal, including her recent service on the Governor Deal’s Education Reform Commission, Early Childhood Education Subcommittee. Reynolds also serves on the Department of Early Care and Learning’s Advisory Committee. She previously chaired both the Department of Community Health Advisory Committee on Women’s Health where she oversaw the granting of over $2 million in funding for breast cancer prevention and treatment and the Georgia Office of the Child Advocate. She has also served on the Nominating Committee for the Governor’s Office of the Child Advocate, the Georgia Commission on Family Violence, and the House Study Committee on the Budget. She was proud to be selected by the President of the State Bar of Georgia to serve on the Children and the Courts Committee.
From 1996 to 1998, Reynolds practiced law in the area of insurance defense litigation for Drew, Eckl & Farnham. She received her Juris Doctorate from the University of Georgia School of Law and her Bachelor of Science in psychology and child development from the University of Alabama.
Director of Administration
Raeann joined GCCA in May 2013 and has been the backbone of the office. Her responsibilities include training new employees, maintaining and tracking our members and assisting with criminal records checks accounts. Raeann goes out her way to assist the office team, the Board of Directors and our members with a warm smile and such graceful passion for the Child Care Industry.
Business Development Manager
As Director of Business Development, Terry develops, coordinates and implements sales plans to meet our association’s growth objectives. She manages the sales process and establishes relationships with our clients. Terry begin working with Georgia Child Care Association as Business Manager between 2011 – 2015. She happily returned as Director of Business Development in 2017. Before joining our team, Terry worked in medical sales in the Southwest area and Graduated for Eastern Illinois University with her bachelor’s degree in Marketing. Terry lives in Atlanta with her husband, Tim. She has three children and two grandchildren with one more on the way.
Bernard Reynolds is the founding partner of True North Strategies. Reynolds brings nineteen years of policy, research, legislative and regulatory experience in both the public and private sectors to his clients. Reynolds has built a reputation for hard work and creative solutions to tough problems. His experience in management and strategic advice comes from many years in leading roles with state and national business and government organizations.
Reynolds’ extensive background includes: Manager of Legislative and Regulatory Affairs for the Georgia Electric Membership Corporation (GEMC), leading the state and federal governmental affairs efforts for the 42 EMC member organizations and their 4 plus million members. Prior to joining GEMC, Bernard seved as an Assistant Commissioner for the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA). Programs under his direction included the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Office of Community Services and the Governor’s Rural Development Council. He also served as the agency liaison to the Georgia General Assembly while at DCA. Reynolds started his career with the Georgia Power Company in their governmental affairs area. He then focused on federal legislative affairs for the Southern Company where he managed the Political Action Committees for all of the Southern system companies.
Reynolds’ specialties include representing clients before the Georgia General Assembly, the Georgia Public Service Commission, and state agencies such as the Georgia Department of Education, Georgia Department of Community Affairs, the Georgia Department of Transportation, the Georgia Department of Economic Development, and the Georgia Environmental Protection Division.
In addition to Reynolds’ legislative accomplishments, he has served several appointments to commissions, task forces and committees. They include the Georgia State Housing Trust Fund for the Homeless, the Governor’s Commission for a New Georgia, and the Green Building Task Force. He is also a board member of the Georgia Professional Lobbyist Association, the Epilepsy Foundation of Georgia, and a member of the 2018 class of the Republican Leadership for Georgia.
Reynolds holds a BA degree in Political Science from the University of Georgia and a Masters of Business Administration from Brenau University. He and his wife and business partner, Ellen W. Reynolds have resided in Atlanta for over 20 years. They enjoy spending time with their 16 year old son, Carter.
Director of Programs
Mary serves as the Director of Programs for GCCA. She joined the staff in June 2018. Her responsibilities include planning professional development conferences and other events, acquiring grants, and working with the Early Education Development Alliance.
After attending Louisiana Tech University for two years, Mary moved to Georgia and found her passion in Early Childhood Education. She worked in various capacities for over 27 years as a teacher, support staff, and administrator. She also served as a board member with GCCA for over nine years, collaborating with other board members to serve our industry in Georgia.
Baking, cooking, and hiking are some of the ways Mary enjoys spending time with her family and friends when she is not reading, snuggling with one of her girls watching a good movie, or soaking up nature.
Director of Communications
Hannah Tyrone serves as the Communications Director at GCCA. She has been with GCCA since August 2018. Her responsibilities include: website design, email blasts, designing all marketing pieces and assisting with all member and vendor partners needs.
Hannah graduated from Oklahoma State University in May 2016 with a degree in Marketing and a minor in Management. Hannah previously worked as the Marketing Assistant for an insurance company in Dallas, Texas. Before moving to Georgia, Hannah and her husband Austin were living in Romania for her husband’s job.
In her spare time Hannah enjoys reading, cooking, traveling and spending time with friends and family!