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Dedication. Expertise. Passion.

Our elected board members are highly qualified, well respected, and dedicated to educating and caring for young children. 

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Tessa Holloway

1 year term

Tessa Holloway is the owner of Kidz Karousel Early Learning Centers. The center has 7 locations across 4 parishes. She has been in the field of ECC for over 16 years. Tessa strives to grow her platform to be able to advocate more for the children of Louisiana. She is well versed in effective childcare center policy and procedure. Tessa sits on various boards as her goal is to help Louisiana become the model state people look at to learn more about providing safe, best-practice early childhood care, from the children to the parents to all of the stakeholders.

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Michelle DeMeulenaere

Past - President

1 year term

Dr. Michelle DeMeulenaere first began her career working with young children in 1988, and across the past 32 years has amassed a variety of professional and educational experiences. Michelle obtained her Bachelor of Arts in elementary education from the University of Northern Iowa, master’s degree from Northwestern Louisiana State University, and doctorate from Louisiana State University.  Michelle has been an elementary school teacher, preschool teacher, and center director.  Michelle was employed by the Louisiana Department of Education for several years in which she held positions in Early Childhood Licensing, Certification, and Early Childhood Support Manager. 

Michelle has also served on several boards throughout her career including Center Director Leadership Board, the Southeastern Regions Standards Team, ensuring centers in the Southern Region were prepared for NAEYC accreditation, and Baton Rouge Technical College Board Member, and currently works on the Board of the Louisiana Early Childhood Association. Most impressively, Michelle was appointed to the Louisiana Children’s Trust Fund by Governor John Bel Edwards. Michelle is currently employed at the Louisiana Board of Regents as a Manager for Early Childhood Initiatives.

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Racine Bridges


1 year term

Racine Bridges is a dedicated professional with a passion for early childhood education. She holds the position of Early Childhood Education Coordinator for the Child Care Resource and Referral at the Children's Coalition for Northeast Louisiana. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Minor in Sociology from the University of Louisiana at Monroe; Racine brings a deep understanding of child development and social dynamics to her role.


With a passion for nurturing young minds and empowering families, Racine has and continues to spearhead initiatives that promote holistic growth and development in children. Her dedication to advancing early childhood education is evident in her innovative training style and community outreach efforts. Racine excels in creating nurturing environments where young learners can thrive.  Committed to equity and inclusivity, Racine works tirelessly to ensure that all children have access to high-quality early learning experiences. Through her leadership and advocacy efforts, Racine is making a lifelong impact on the lives of children and families in her community. Racine's commitment to excellence and her ability to create impactful educational programs make her a valuable asset to the Children's Coalition and the broader community.


Leah Lormand



2 year term

Leah has enjoyed a profession in early childhood education for over 30 years. She has worked in a variety of capacities: k-3rd grade educator, early interventionist, and school social worker. Leah recognizes the immense value that early education plays in the wellbeing of our society. She has dedicated her career to supporting young children and their families. She is honored to serve on the board of LAAEYC to advocate for young children. Leah and her husband raised 2 daughters who are now early childhood educators. They are the proud grandparents of 2 young granddaughters. 

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Melissa Johnson

Greater New Orleans Region Member-at-Large

year term

Melissa Johnson serves is as an early childhood administrator for a non-profit supporting children and families in Louisiana and is a doctoral student in the LSU Early Childhood Education program. In previous roles she has been an Early Childhood Ancillary Certificate instructor, early childhood coach and Pre-K teacher. She currently serves as the LAAEYC Greater New Orleans Region Member-at-Large and looks forward to learning more about the great work that you are doing to impact the lives of children and families in our state. 

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Jema LeFever

Cajun Country Region Member-at-Large

2 year term


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Kristi Givens

River Parishes Region Member-at-Large

2 year term

Kristi, a veteran educator and social worker of over thirty years, is the executive director and owner of Kids of Excellence, two nationally accredited high-quality early learning centers located in New Orleans, LA. Seeing a need for more quality centers in her community, made it her mission to directly impact her community by providing access to affordable high-quality programming.

Kristi holds a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of New Orleans and Master's and Bachelor's degree in Social Work, specializing in children and families from Southern University in New Orleans.


Dr. Michelle Fazio-Brunson

Crossroads Region Member-at-Large

2 year term

Dr. Michelle Fazio Brunson serves as the Director of Graduate Programs in Early Childhood Education at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. She currently holds the Melba Steeg Endowed Professorship at NSU and focuses her work on helping young children living in poverty. Partnering with her husband, the Chief Public Defender for Natchitoches Parish, she engages her undergraduate and graduate Early Childhood Education candidates in experiential learning and service learning projects to remap the Cradle to Prison Pipeline to the Cradle to College Pipeline in Louisiana. Her research interests include the Language Experience Approach, the Project Approach, and Reggio Emilia schools.  

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Nancy Pennington Alexander

Sportsman's Paradise Region Member-at-Large

2 year

Nancy P. Alexander is Director of Northwestern State University Child and Family Network in Shreveport, Louisiana. Nancy’s educational background includes a bachelor’s degree from Centenary College and a master’s from Northwestern State University. She has completed additional graduate work from Northwestern, Louisiana Tech, and Louisiana State University.


She is the author of four books: Early Childhood Workshops that Work: The Essential Guide to Successful Training and Workshops, Nailing Jelly to the Wall: Defining and Providing Technical Assistance in Early Childhood Education, and Twelve Essential Topics in Early Childhood: A Year of Professional Development for Staff Meeting and most recently, a college curriculum textbook Developing Appropriate Curriculum for Young Children.


Nancy is also a frequent presenter at state, regional, and national conferences and has published numerous articles in early childhood professional publications and books.


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