Nominating & Governance Committee
Mary Myrick & Sarah Roberts
To nominate leaders within research & early childhood systems to be members of each committee and the actual clearinghouse and create a governance structure that meets requirements while promoting innovation and quality;
Caren Calhoun, Ginny Bass Carl, Amy Emerson, Marnie Taylor, Annie Van Hanken
Outcomes & Research Committee
Lana Beasley & Mary McCoy
To prioritize outcomes and recommend research-informed practices and practice-informed research that meet the needs of the early childhood system.
LaDonna Atkins, Marny Dunlap, MD, Stacy Dykstra, Diane Horm, Ph. D, Bonnie McBride, Ph. D, Erin Maher, Ph. D
Dr. Lana Beasley is a licensed Clinical Child Psychologist and is currently an Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Science at Oklahoma State University. Dr. Beasley’s research has included working on randomized clinical trials and program evaluation all in the area of supporting high risk children and families. She holds expertise in qualitative research and has been a co-investigator on many grants involving a program of research developing, implementing, evaluating, and expanding evidence-based home visiting programs serving high-risk populations. Dr. Beasley also conducts mixed-methods research in the area of adaptation of treatments for diverse populations and examining engagement and attrition of high-risk families.
Mary McCoy is an adjunct professor in the arena of early childhood education. She received her doctoral degree from the University of Oklahoma in Instructional Leadership and Academic Curriculum with an emphasis on Early Childhood Education. Mary’s many years of experience in the field of early childhood include family home child care provider, director of multiple child care centers, preschool through primary grade teacher in both public and private schools and the Director of the Oklahoma City Community College Child Development Center and Lab School. Mary served as a National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Peer Reviewer for the accreditation of Child Development Associate Degree Programs across the country and the President of the Early Childhood Association of Oklahoma. Mary currently writes and conducts training opportunities and serves as a consultant for the Rainbow Fleet Early Education. Actively involved in the field, she often presents at local, national, and state conferences, serves on numerous college and university early childhood advisory boards, participates as a Sunbeam Family Services Early Childhood Committee and Sunbeam Board member.
LaDonna Atkins, Ed.D., is a professor in the Family Life Education- Child Development program at The University of Central Oklahoma. Dr. Atkins also serves as the administrator for the University of Central Oklahoma’s Child Study Center. Dr. Atkins is a past president of the Early Childhood Association of Oklahoma. She currently serves as the past president of International Play Association (IPA) United States Board, where she advocates for children’s right to play. Dr. Atkins has also served on the International Play Association World Council. Research interests include: play, infant/child development, and early childhood curriculum development.
Marianne “Marny” Dunlap, M.D., a pediatrician at The Children’s Hospital, was recently named the 2019 Gretchen Hunsberger Medical Champion for her efforts in fighting illiteracy.
Dunlap has established herself as a champion for early literacy, which led to the founding of the Reach Out and Read program at The Children’s Hospital. For two generations, the program has promoted the benefits of early reading, not only in enhanced learning and academic performance, but the parent-child bonds that are built through reading together. Reach Out and Read partners with healthcare providers to offer free books to patients at their well-child visits with pediatricians. More than 85,000 books are distributed each year.
Stacy Dykstra, Ph.D., CEO of the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma.
Stacy Dykstra joined the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma as its CEO in October 2020. She is the third CEO since the organization was founded in 1980. Prior to joining the Regional Food Bank, Stacy served as the executive director of Smart Start Central Oklahoma, an early childhood education nonprofit, since 2006. In her role with Smart Start, Dykstra participated in more than 100 community meetings in which she presented, facilitated, and/or served as the coordinator. Using a variety of teaching styles, she has trained hundreds of professionals serving young children and their families and taught various college courses focused on family support. Stacy holds a Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma in Instructional Leadership and Academic Curriculum. Dykstra’s prior work experience includes serving as co-director of the Lower School at Westminster School, project director for the Early Childhood Collaborative of Oklahoma and as a pre-K and kindergarten teacher for Oklahoma City Public Schools. Her graduate work in instructional leadership as well as her experience with project management contribute to her ability to listen, appreciate diverse perspectives and facilitate constructive conversation and consensus-building.
Stacy and her husband, Chris, have two daughters.
Diane M. Horm, Ph.D., is the George Kaiser Family Foundation Endowed Chair of Early Childhood Education and Founding Director of the Early Childhood Education Institute (ECEI) at the University of Oklahoma at Tulsa.
Through the ECEI, Horm is currently leading several applied research initiatives in early childhood education including program evaluation research in collaboration with Tulsa’s Educare programs and a large, multi-year study will colleagues from Georgetown and McGill Universities to investigate children’s development from Pre-K through Grade 4. Horm has a Ph.D. in Child Development with a specialization in Early Childhood Education, a Post-Master’s Specialization in School Psychology, and a Master’s in Developmental Psychology
Bonnie McBride, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Section of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
Dr. McBride’s research interests have focused on effective treatments for children with autism, early childhood education and inclusive practices for children with disabilities. She directs several projects that focus on the importance of developmental monitoring screening and early intervention. She serves as Oklahoma’s Ambassador for Learn the Signs. Act Early., a CDC developed health promotion program that aims to link together state efforts to improve early identification of developmental delay.
Dr. Maher’s is an Associate Professor of Sociology and Associate Director of OU’s Data Institute for Societal Challenges. Her research focuses on the intersection of poverty and child maltreatment, child well-being, and family functioning. She works with state agencies to evaluate social programs in these areas. She brings an applied focus to her scholarship and an emphasis on using and communicating research results in policy and practice. Prior to coming to OU, she served as Director of Research for a large national foundation conducting large scale program evaluations in child welfare. She has published extensively in journals reflecting a variety of academic disciplines.
Process & Implementation Committee
Paula Gates & Charlotte Hollarn
To determine a process and workflow for evaluating & implementing research-informed practice and practice-informed research that meet the needs of the early childhood system.
Paula Brown, MAEd, Caren Calhoun, Desiree Doherty, MS, Brittany Lee, Rachel Proper, Anthony Stafford, Nancy vonBargen, MC
With over 24 years of experience in early childhood, Paula currently leads the Early Childhood Services program at Sunbeam Family Services as Chief Program Officer. Her broad range of experiences working in the field gives her a unique advantage in overseeing Educare Oklahoma City and a complex range of multi-faceted partnerships serving at-risk children and families under the Office of Head Start Child Care Partnership program. After years of owning her own child care center in NE Oklahoma, and then to directing non-profit early childhood centers, she became an integral component of the team that designed and implemented the Educare OKC model. With the opportunity to advance her knowledge base and share her insight with Early Head Start and Head Start grantees statewide, Paula joined the Office of Head Start Training and Technical Assistance Network in 2010. Returning to Sunbeam in 2015 to implement new partnerships between Office of Head Start and Office of Child Care, Paula has created a dynamic team that leads one of the state’s premier early childhood care and education programs. Paula holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Oklahoma, and has happily raised four children in Norman with her husband and partner, Galen Miller.
Charlotte Hollarn, M.Ed. has been teaching and training in the early childhood education field for over 30 years. She attained her college education at the University of Oklahoma achieving a Bachelors Degree in Early Childhood Education and a Masters Degree in Adult/Community Education as well as Administration. Although the formal education is highly valued, her greatest learning moments have been while working with children and the adults in their lives. She has a never-ending passion for children and families and has served in many capacities in the area of early childhood education, professional development and teaching.
Paula A. Brown, MAEd has 36 years combined experience in Early Childhood and Disabilities. She continues her role as the Disabilities Services Manager for United Community Action Head Start and is a PhD student at Oklahoma State University in Human Development and Family Sciences through the Institute for Building Early Relationships (IBEaR). She earned her BS in Psychology from Oklahoma State University in 1985 and her Masters in Special Education from Ashford University in 2013. She has been a Governor’s appointee to Oklahoma’s Coordinating Council on Early Childhood Intervention (ICC) since 1998 and currently serves as the chair of the Infant Mental Health Committee for the ICC
Caren was the founding executive director of Tulsa Educare until she recently retired and now serves as senior advisor to Tulsa Educare helping to enhance the quality and efficiency of licensed child centers/homes in the local community. Before joining Tulsa Educare, Caren was a Head Start Fellow from 2008-2009, during which time she worked in the Budget and Policy Division of the Office of Head Start in Washington, D.C.
She has a master’s degree in early childhood education and over 35 years’ experience in early childhood administration with 22 of those years working in multi-site management. She has a specialty in program design and management, as well as in infant and toddler environments and partnerships. She was selected in June of 2012 as a “Head Start Champion of Change,” representing the children, staff, and families of Head Start on a panel with ten other honorees at the White House.
In her down time, Caren keeps busy with her husband, five children and twelve grandchildren.
Desiree holds a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from ORU, a Master’s degree in Adult Education/Human Resource Development from OSU, a Management Certificate from TU, and is a Leadership Tulsa Class 21 alum. Her professional experience is primarily in nonprofit executive leadership, volunteer management, program development, management training, fund raising, donor engagement and board development.
She was Executive Director of The Parent Child Center of Tulsa for 10 years. During that time, she led the organization to become nationally accredited and grow to reach over 53,000 children and parents annually. At PCCT she collaborated to launch Project East Tulsa with Emergency Infant Services, Tulsa Area United Way’s “nexTulsa” leadership training program, Tulsa’s Anti-Bullying Coalition, Family Safety Center’s Child Advocacy Partnership and Tulsa County’s Safe Babies Court Team pilot project with Zero To Three. Desiree was the recipient of the 2016 Rodney Bivens Innovation Award from the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits and the 2017 Mary Ellen Wilson Child Abuse Prevention Award for the Oklahoma State Department of Health.
Prior to joining PCCT, Desiree worked for Hillcrest Healthcare System and Dowell Schlumberger.
Since retiring in 2017, Desiree has consulted with the George Kaiser Family Foundation’s Birth to Eight Strategy for Tulsa (BEST) initiative and with Prevent Child Abuse Oklahoma at Parent Promise in OKC. She also offers coaching in nonprofit leadership, board development and fundraising. She is a past member of the Potts Family Foundation Advisory Council, Prevent Child Abuse America and Prevent Child Abuse Oklahoma.
Desiree currently serves as 2020-2021 Board President of the Oklahoma Association for Infant Mental Health (OK-AIMH), and she volunteers with Jenks Community Food Bank and LifeSteps World Ministries.
Oklahoma Human Services (OKDHS) named Brittany Lee as the Director of Child Care Services. She started in this position on December 14, 2020. Lee’s background includes nearly twenty years of professional experience in the early childhood sector. She joins the agency from her most recent role at Sunbeam Family Services where she serves as the Early Childhood Services Operations Supervisor. Lee has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Oklahoma in Education and a master’s degree from the University of Oklahoma in Instructional Leadership and Academic Curriculum. She has been awarded the Oklahoma Early Reading First Committed to Education Excellence Award, the Center for Early Childhood Professional Development Leadership Award and the LCG Gold Star Exceptional Directors Award
Rachel’s professional career has always been centered on early childhood. After graduating from the University of Oklahoma in 2003, Rachel worked as a project manager and grant writer for the Oklahoma Partnership for School Readiness Foundation and what was then known as Smart Start Oklahoma. She left the non-profit two years later to join her family’s company, Child Care Inc., which has operated private child care centers in Oklahoma County since 1983. Currently, the company has six locations, two of which are devoted to providing extended hour and 24-hour child care services to Oklahoma families. Each of the centers are nationally accredited and are rated 3-Stars on Oklahoma’s child care quality rating system. Each location also provides care through various contracts, including OKDHS child care subsidies, Child Care Aware’s program for military families, as well as many tribal programs. Shortly before completing her MBA at the Oklahoma City University, Rachel became an owning partner in 2007 and currently manages the daily operations as President of Child Care Inc. Rachel currently lives in Midwest City with her husband and three children.
Anthony Stafford is currently employed as the Division Director of Early Childhood Education for Big Five Community Services, Inc. based in Durant, Oklahoma. Mr. Stafford has served in this capacity for the past six years as a member of the agency’s leadership team. He is responsible for the administration and implementation of early childhood instruction primarily those involving Early Head Start services to children six months to three years of age and Head Start services to children three and four years of age. Mr. Stafford has over twenty-five years of administrative experience working with non-profit organizations particularly in the areas of preschool and adolescent children. He has served on numerous boards and committees over the course of his career and currently serves as a member of the Oklahoma Partnership for School Readiness, the Region VI Head Start Association Boards and the Oklahoma Head Start Association. Mr. Stafford holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication from the University of Oklahoma.
“It gives me great pleasure to serve as part of the implementation committee for the Oklahoma Clearinghouse for Early Childhood Success”. “I look forward to my role in this very important and worthwhile endeavor for children across the State of Oklahoma”.
Ms. vonBargen served 29 years with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services. She began her career as a licensing specialist, advancing to become the state child care administrator. During her tenure, the nation’s first statewide quality rating system was created. A robust professional development system, wage supplement program, scholarships, and coaching supports were created to support the workforce. A Tribal State Child Care Network was launched to increase collaboration. Grants were provided to support Head Start/child care partnerships with a focus on serving vulnerable families. Upon retirement from state government, she served two years as the first Executive Director of Smart Start Oklahoma, bringing together all programs serving young children in the state. In 2007, Ms. vonBargen joined the National Child Care Information Center, providing technical assistance to states with a focus on quality improvement, collaboration, and partnerships. Following her transition to the National Center on Child Care Quality Improvement (NCCCQI), she provided technical assistance to Regions VI, VIII, IX and X before being asked to assume the role of project director in September, 2012. Upon award of a new five-year contract, she continued as project director of the National Center on Early Childhood Quality Assurance (NCECQA) until her transition to a consultant in 2019. She has served as president of her state’s two early childhood professional organizations, as a member of two community school-age program boards, and on the nine-member Council for NAEYC Accreditation from 2008 – 2011. She continues to work on projects funded by ACF, OPRE, and the state of Oklahoma.
Public-Private Partnership Committee
Sarah Roberts & Annie Van Hanken
To identify and effectively braid public and private funding streams together to increase innovation and quality in early childhood systems across Oklahoma.
Tricia Everest, Lindsay Laird, Craig Knutson, Tracy Meeuwsen, Teresa Rose
Annie Koppel Van Hanken
Annie Van Hanken oversees George Kaiser Family Foundation’s (GKFF) early childhood education and common education initiatives. Before joining the GKFF in 2002, Annie worked in inner-city Los Angeles at a community-based youth development center. She serves as board president for Tulsa Educare and a board member for Tulsa Legacy Charter School. Annie is also a gubernatorial appointee on the Oklahoma Partnership for School Readiness Board. She has a master’s degree in education, with an emphasis on learning disabilities, from the University of Texas at Austin and a dual bachelor’s degree in English and history, with a minor in classics, from Tulane University.
Sarah Roberts currently serves as Vice President of Programs at Inasmuch Foundation. The Foundation was founded by Edith Kinney Gaylord in 1982 and makes grants in Oklahoma and Colorado Springs in these broad categories: education, human services, community and journalism. Sarah has been employed at Inasmuch Foundation for over 17 years. Inasmuch Foundation has placed emphasis on forging public/private partnerships to fund evidence-based interventions for vulnerable children and families as well as attracting much needed federal investments to Oklahoma City. Examples of a few successful public/private partnerships are: Pivot, Oklahoma City Educare, ReMerge, Metafund, Community CARES Partners, and Smart Start Central Oklahoma.
Sarah previously served as Chairman of the Board of ReMerge and co-chaired the ReMerge capital campaign. Sarah is currently Chair of Sunbeam Family Services and Vice Chair of Oklahoma Partnership for School Readiness Board of Directors. Additionally, Sarah serves on the Board of Directors for: The Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools, Oklahoma City Police Athletic League (PAL) and Community Action Agency of Oklahoma County. Sarah previously served on the following Board of Directors: Integris Center for Mind, Body & Spirit, Oklahoma City Metro Literacy Coalition, ReMerge and Wes Welker Foundation. Sarah is a 2016 graduate of SALLT, Class 8 (Salt and Light Leadership Training) and a 2019 graduate of Leadership Oklahoma, Class 32. In 2008, Sarah was recognized by OKCBusiness as a recipient of the Forty under 40 Award. In 2020, Sarah was recognized by Pivot as their Advocate of the Year for building collaborative efforts to address youth homelessness in Oklahoma City.
Sarah was previously an instructor with the Clarksville Montgomery County School System in Tennessee where she taught 5th grade. Sarah is a graduate of Bishop McGuinness High School (1992) in Oklahoma City and Sweet Briar College (1996) in Virginia where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Government with a teaching certificate. Sarah has been married to Hayden Roberts for more than 21 years. Hayden works for Oklahoma State University. They live in Oklahoma City and have two sons, Jackson who is 17 years old and Owen who is 11 years old.
Fourth-generation Oklahoman Tricia Everest is Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt’s secretary of public safety. She is a graduate of Casady High School and received her bachelors’ degree from Vanderbilt University and juris doctorate from the University of Oklahoma College of Law. She has served as assistant attorney general for the State of Oklahoma, a trustee for the E.L. and Thelma Gaylord Foundation, chair of the Inasmuch Foundation Advisory Committee and is the founding chair of Palomar and ReMerge.
Lindsay Laird serves as vice president of programs at the Arnall Family Foundation where she is responsible for developing engagement strategies, building partnerships and overseeing project implementation. She has a master’s degree from West Virginia University and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Central Oklahoma. In 2014, Lindsay was listed in the OKCBiz Achievers Under 40 and is a graduate of Linking Oklahoma City’s Young Adult Leaders (LOYAL) Class IV. She serves on the board of directors for ReMerge, a comprehensive female diversion program as well as the Oklahoma Partnership for School Readiness Foundation. In 2018, Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat appointed Lindsay to the Oklahoma Commission on Children and Youth.
Craig Knutson is the Potts Family Foundation’s president and chief executive officer. He has held professional/executive positions in Tulsa and Oklahoma City and serves on a number of local and statewide boards of directors. Craig is an OKCEO and has a long history of supporting early childhood development through his professional and personal affiliations. “Craig currently serves as PFF’s President & CEO.
Teresa Rose is the executive director at Communities Foundation of Oklahoma, where she helps people and foundations thrive, grow and contribute to causes meaningful to them. She has spent her career serving others and improving her community, holding a variety of executive positions, including senior leadership roles at Oklahoma City Community Foundation and Chesapeake Energy Corporation.
Her expertise in community relations, government affairs, philanthropy and legal matters, combined with her heart for giving, enable her to provide individuals, families and organizations with guidance and options as they choose the best way to approach giving. Serving the donors of over 850 donor driven and scholarship funds and 20 community funds, Teresa supports and guides impact giving across the state.
Teresa earned both her bachelor’s and her law degrees from Oklahoma City University. She practiced law for several years, traveling the state and representing school districts in 150 different communities.
Outside of the office, Teresa volunteers for organizations that impact Oklahoma and drive change for causes that improve life for Oklahomans. She is active with the Oklahoma City Chamber, serving on their executive committee and as the vice chair of the Education and Workforce Development Committee. She is on the board and the past board chair of the Civic Center Foundation, board of director for Philanthropy Southwest, and serves as a Mayoral Appointee on the MAPS 3 Downtown Park subcommittee and as chair of MAPS4. She is a founding member of the Family Justice Center, founding board chair of ReMerge, chair of the OKC Compact, and serves on the board of Saint Anthony’s Health Care of Oklahoma.
Tracy Meeuwsen serves as Avedis Foundation’s Program Director, providing oversight to program grants and initiatives, while developing and cultivating strong partnerships with local nonprofits. Throughout her career in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, Tracy has gained extensive expertise in the areas of data analysis, reporting, research, and process review and improvement.