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Staff Education & Biography
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Jennifer Jones

CCR&R Specialist (CACFP and Newsletter)

Jennifer's Education & Biography
Hi, my name is Jennifer Jones, and I am a Resource & Referral Specialist for Region 8. My responsibilities include working with child care centers and family child care homes that participate in the Child & Adult Care Food Program under the sponsorship of Southwestern Child Development. I compile and distribute the monthly Southwestern CCR&R newsletter. This includes the new online calendar as well as the online registration system.

I received a B.S. Degree from Western Carolina University in Human Environmental Sciences and have taken several classes towards a Masters degree. I currently hold a Level 11 NC Early Educator Certification with the Adult Educator Endorsement. I have been trained, at Frank Porter Graham Institute by the authors of the scales- ITERS, ECERS, FDCERS,. My training includes the Program Administration Scale and POEMS, Preschool Outdoor Environment Measurement Scale. Other specialized training includes Creative Curriculum, Playground Safety and Outdoor Learning Environments. I receive training annually through the NC Child & Adult Care Food Program. My educational and specialized training background gives me the opportunity to provide a variety of training events to early education providers in centers and family child care homes based on both their learning needs and interest.

All trainings may be viewed at the Southwestern Child Development Commission website at or your local CCR&R training calendar. Please feel free to contact your local Child Care Resource & Referral office, or me, if you need further information or assistance in registering.

Melissa Maybin

Healthy Social Behavior Specialist

Melissa's Education & Biography
Melissa Maybin is the Region 8 Healthy Social Behavior Specialist for Southwestern Child Development Commission, Inc for thirteen Western North Carolina counties. Those counties are Buncombe, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, Polk, Rutherford, Swain and Transylvania. Melissa has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Social Sciences with an Education Concentration. She holds a Level 11 Early Educator Certification with an Adult Educator Endorsement from the NC Institute for Child Development Professionals.

Previously, Melissa was a Teacher Assistant for Rutherford County Schools and was Teacher Assistant of the Year for the 2008-2009 school year. She was also the Treasurer for Pinnacle Elementary School’s Parent Teacher Organization. She is a member of the Quality Team with Buncombe County Smart Start and Rutherford/Polk Smart Start.

Melissa’s special training includes training from the Center on Social Foundations and Early Learning as well as DECA for Preschoolers and ECERS-Early Childhood Environment Rating Scales.

Melissa has been employed at Southwestern Child Development for 1 year. She has been working in child care for 18 years.

Deidre McMahon

School Age Project Statewide Education Specialist

Deidre's Education & Biography
Deidre McMahon is one of three School Age Education Specialists for the NC Statewide School Age Project funded by the Division of Child Development and Early Education and Early Education. She has been employed with Southwestern Child Development Commission, Inc. for 3 years. During her time with Southwestern, Deidre has provided technical assistance and training with the Healthy Social Behaviors initiative and currently serves as a NC/CSEFEL Skill Building Site Coach. Deidre covers the 38 most Western North Carolina Counties (Murphy to Greensboro) by providing learning events and also creating new training series.

Deidre began her career as a School Age Group Leader in Raleigh NC after graduating from college. After moving to WNC she taught third and fourth grade at a private school in Haywood County. Although she enjoyed educating children, she found her passion in training and educating other adults. She has 10 years training experience in Western North Carolina that has covered a broad range of topics that specifically deal with children infancy through high school. Deidre believes that by educating others to be more intentional in their relationships with children and creating more quality programs that she is making a direct impact on the lives of children across Western North Carolina.

Deidre holds a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Religion and a concentration in Elementary Education from Meredith College in Raleigh North Carolina. She holds a level 10 Early Educator Certificate and Adult Educator Endorsement. She currently serves as a Program Committee member for Western Regional Early Childhood Conference and has been asked to serve as an Advisory Partner for WNC Healthy Kids. Deidre holds a Level 10 Early Childhood Education certification and a Level 11 School Age Care certification with an Adult Educator Endorsement.

Letha Ricks

School Age Project Statewide Education Specialist

Letha's Education & Biography
Letha Ricks is the Eastern Territory School Age Education Specialist with the NC CCR&R School Age Project and Southwestern Child Development Commission. As a School Age Education Specialist, Letha provides a variety of training events to school age providers based on both their learning needs and interest. She graduated from East Carolina University with a B.S. Degree in Early Childhood Education and is licensed by the NC Department of Public Instruction to serve in Early Childhood Education (Grades K-4), Elementary Education (Grades K-6), and a Mentor. Letha holds a Level Nine Early Care and Education Certificate, Level Eleven School Age Professional Certificate in addition to ECE and SA Adult Educator Endorsements by the NC Institute for Child Development Professionals.

Prior to becoming a SA Education Specialist, Letha was the Region 2 School Age Specialist and a Quality Enhancement Coordinator for centers with Craven Smart Start/ Child Care Resource & Referral. She is a retired educator with thirty two years’ experience in the NC Public School System and also provided guidance to aspiring teachers as a Clinical Teacher with East Carolina University. During her teaching career, Letha served as the chairperson of numerous committees and a Work Sampling Trainer for Craven County Schools. She is a member of the NC Afterschool Coalition, Alpha Delta Kappa and a Board Member of the Craven County Partners in Education.

Karen Darby

School Age Project Statewide Education Specialist

Karen's Education & Biography
Karen Darby is the School Age Education Specialist for the Central Territory at Southwestern Child Development Commission, Inc. Developing curriculum for afterschool providers and creating and delivering continuing education learning events are a part of her duties. Karen holds both a Bachelors in Elementary Education from West Virginia University and a Masters Degree in Liberal Arts from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She holds a Level 12 Early Educator Certificate with an Adult Educator Endorsement in both the Early Care and School Age Fields.

Currently, Karen serves as the Board President for the North Carolina Afterschool Coalition. Previously, Karen worked as the Regional School Age Specialist for Region 7 providing technical assistance and training to afterschool professionals. Karen has been employed with Southwestern Child Development Commission, Inc. since August of 2011. Karen’s work experience also includes More at Four Teacher with Gaston County Schools, Technical Assistant with the Partnership for Children of Lincoln/Gaston Counties, Adjunct Instructor at Gaston College in Gaston County, Director at Caldwell Memorial Presbyterian Church Child Care Center, and lead teacher at Ashford Academy.

Mandy Mills

Early Education Specialist

Mandy's Education & Biography
Mandy Mills is the Early Education Specialist with Southwestern Child Care Resource and Referral. Mandy holds a bachelor degree from Western Carolina University in Child Development and Family Relations with a minor in Special Education. Additionally, she holds a Level 11 NC Early Educator Certificate with an Adult Educator Endorsement in Early Care. Mandy has been trained to reliability in all environmental rating scales with Frank Porter Graham, and also participated in the QUINCE project with Frank Porter Graham.

Mandy has been employed with Southwestern Child Development for 16 years, during her employment her duties have included teacher assistant, lead teacher, center director, quality enhancement specialist, school age specialist with the most recent being early education specialist. Mandy’s work experience also includes teaching part time with local community colleges.

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