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Board of Directors
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Association for Early Learning Leaders Board of Directors


Mary Hornbeck, President
Special Beginnings
10216 Pflumm Rd
Lenexa, KS 66215

Mary Hornbeck began her career in early care and education in 1989 when she became the owner of Special Beginnings Early Learning Centers. Her company has grown through the years with 5 locations that serve over 275 families. As Executive Director, Mary leads a 10 member management team and 75 staff members. Mary holds a bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Life from the University of Kansas. As a national trainer and consultant, topics include: leadership & management, staff development, as well as early education policy & procedure. Mary is active in her local ECE community, is a member of the Association for Early Learning Leaders, the National Federation of Independent Businesses, and Women Who Mean Business.

Lynette Galante, Secretary
Future Generation Early Learning Centers
480 Warwick Ave. 
Teaneck, NJ 07666


Lynette Galante is the Executive Director and Owner of Future Generation Early Learning Centers. She has been part of the Future Generation family for 17 years and has been in the early learning industry for 23 years. Lynette received her bachelor's degree from Marist College. Post-graduation, she has received her National Administrators Credential. Lynette is a national trainer and consultant for early learning programs and serves in the Association for Early Learning Leaders' board and as the National Conference Chair.




Shannon Hendricks, Treasurer

Bryan's House
Dallas, TX

Shannon is Director of Children's Care and Programs at Bryan's House in Dallas, Texas. In her role, Shannon administers the Early Childhood Education, after-school care, and Respite Care Programs. Bryan's House is a unique program that provides care for families dealing with HIV or AIDS and families with special needs children. Previously, as Director of Strategic Initiatives for Educational First Steps (EFS), Shannon educated the community about the importance of high-quality early education and lead the expansion of EFS programs into new strategic directions. She spearheaded the development of the first two generations of EFS's Four Steps to Excellence and Four Steps to Excellence 2.0, to better provide impoverished children access to quality early education. Shannon holds a BS in Education from Missouri State University.

Bobette Thompson, Past President
Child Care Systems of America, Inc.
5100 Stoneleigh Circle
Brentwood, TN 37027

Bobette Thompson is President/CEO of Child Care Systems of America, Inc., an early education management and consulting company. In her 25 years in the industry, she has participated in the opening of 25 centers and consulted with numerous others. Bobette holds a Bachelor’s in Business Administration and CPA certification. She seeks to contribute to the industry by serving on state child and care committees and presenting at conferences. Bobette is past president of the Association for Early Learning Leaders. All company owned sites are accredited by the National Accreditation Commission.

Margaret Collins
8000 River Road
Richmond, VA 23229

Margaret Collins has been director of River Road Church Preschool for 25 years. A former Director of the Year, she has a Master's of Education in early childhood and has been a consultant for childcare centers and workshop presenter in the field of early childhood. Ms. Collins is founder and past president of the Richmond Association for Early Childhood Education.

Ron McGuckin, J.D.
Ronald V. McGuckin and Associates
P.O. Box 2126
Bristol, PA 19007

Mr. McGuckin is a practicing attorney in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, with years of experience in child care law. He is a lecturer and consultant, training child care professionals on a variety of management and legal issues. He has co-authored a variety of publications, including "Current Issues in Child Care". Mr. McGuckin has volunteered on numerous boards and committees, receiving many awards and recognitions.

Michael A. Swain, ARM, SCLA, CPSI
Markel Insurance Company
4600 Cox Rd.
Glen Allen, VA 23060

Michael A. Swain is Sr. Loss Control Specialist for Markel Insurance Company. Michael is responsible for creating and implementing risk management programs in support of child care, social service, youth camp and recreation programs, non-profit organizations, youth clubs, martial arts, dance and gymnastics programs for Markel. With 30 years industry experience, he has an extensive background in risk management. Michael, a 1984 graduate of Va. Tech, holds certifications as an Associate in Risk Management, a Senior Claim Law Associate, a Certified Playground Safety Inspector, and a Child Passenger Safety Technician. He also maintains certifications through the American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Administrators Safety Certification Program, USA Gymnastics Risk Management Safety Certification Program, Wilderness First Aid, American Red Cross Lifeguard Management and has certified as an Emergency Medical Technician.

Lori Picklesimer
Sanctuary Child Learning Center
8912 Whitefield Ave.
Savannah, GA 31406

Lori Picklesimer, along with her family, opened The Sanctuary Child Learning Center in Savannah, Georgia in 2001. The center is now recognized as a leader in the community offering exceptional child care services to 200+ families. Lori has served children and their families as a pre-kindergarten teacher, program coordinator, and currently serves as the Executive Director. She is a leader who has a passion and commitment for the ECE field and those who choose to make a difference in the lives of children. She is an active member of the Association for Early Learning Leaders and chairs the Ambassador Committee.

Alix Hall
Discovery Tree Schools
P.O. Box 2700
Fair Oaks, CA 95628

Alix is a teacher, small business owner, and educational consultant with over thirty years experience in the field of early childhood education. She holds a Masters Degree in Child Development and a minor in psychology. She has taught, directed, administrated and owned child development programs, taught at the college level and is an educational consultant and trainer. She is Owner and Executive Director of Discovery Tree Schools and Arista-Willow Tree Schools, which operate 7 learning centers in Sacramento, California. Ms. Hall is active in the local and statewide ECE community and has participated and served on multiple Statewide Committees to support children, families and quality Early Education initiatives in California.

Tym Smith
Early Care and Education
103 Samuel Blvd.
Coppell, TX 75019

Tym began working in the early education field in 1986. After spending more that five years in the classroom he advanced to fill various positions including Education Specialist, Assistant Director, Site Manager, Director and District Manager. Tym served as an NAEYC Validator from 2002-2005. Over the past 11 years, Tym has spent thousands of hours training staff and management across the country at local and national conferences. Tym is currently a registered trainer on the Texas Trainers Registry offering trainings to staff and management in Texas. In 2007, Tym started Early Care and Education Training and Consulting, a training company dedicated to quality and diversity for child care programs. Tym owns and operates 4 early education programs in Texas.

Ryan and Shanon Taylor
Willow Tree Schools

Nashville, TN











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WEBINAR - Discover Excellence: Intro (previously recorded)

WEBINAR - Discover Excellence: Classroom Observation

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