President Elect Of MsECA
Diane Setzer is in her 30th year as an educator with Jackson Public Schools. She is currently in her 13th year as a kindergarten teacher at Davis Magnet IB School, the number 1 elementary school in the state. In her 30 years with JPS, she has taught kindergarten (24 years), first grade (4 years) and worked in the curriculum office (2 years). In 2011 she was recognized as one of four teachers as an Outstanding Educator by Parents for Public Schools of Jackson. She began attending MsECA (MACUS) conferences in 1987 and has been involved since 1996 serving in various positions on the board and conference committee. In 2003, she was conference chair for our 50th conference. She served as MsECA President for the 2006-2007 calendar year. Diane has a passion for children’s early education and has dedicated her life to best experiences for little ones and mentoring other professionals in the field. Diane believes that all children deserve to have the highest quality education that can be provided for them and that they should be given opportunities to share their thoughts and ideas throughout the day.
2nd Vice- President October 2017- October 2019
Sara Beth Cruse
Sara Beth Cruse is a student at the University of Mississippi and will graduate in May, 2017 with a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education. She currently holds an Associate of Arts degree in Child Development from Itawamba Community College. She has worked with young children in various settings such as Healthworks, early education centers, private tutoring and elementary schools. Sara Beth has been an active member of MsECA since 2011 and has served for the past two years on the MsECA Executive Board as the Student Liaison. In 2014, she was awarded the Hannah Medders Scholarship from Mississippi Early Childhood. Sara Beth has a passion for the Mississippi Early Childhood Association and wants to work towards growing and serving our membership.
3rd Vice President October 2017- October 2019
Rebecca McKeehan wants to facilitate a voice for the early childhood community in Mississippi. She has worked extensively with early childhood professionals to promote best practices and strong professional outcomes for those involved with children and families. She has served children and families in Mississippi in a variety of contexts, as an early childhood educator and community early childhood advocate, a mentor to undergraduate child development university laboratory students and pre-service undergraduate university child development students completing practicum and as an early childhood curriculum consultant for arts-based, non-profit community afterschool programs in Hattiesburg, MS. Currently, she serves on Child Care Advisory Council. Ms. McKeehan is an active mentor to candidates seeking professional growth and credentialing on behalf of the Early Years Network’s Leadership Development program through Mississippi State University and the Mississippi Department of Human Services, Division of Early Childhood Care and Development.
Northeast Member at Large October 2017- October 2019
Gena Puckett has been working in the early childhood field for 20+ years. She has taught in day care centers and Head Start programs, was director/center manager of 3 Head Start centers, worked with day care centers as a technical assistant with the Early Childhood Institute and is currently a field supervisor/center liaison for the Early Years Network helping other technical assistants and center directors build quality in the early childhood field. Gena earned an Associate’s Degree in Child Development at Itawamba Community College, a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education at Ashworth College, and a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Studies at Walden University. She has been a member of MsECA for over 11 years and has presented at the annual conferences throughout the years. She is currently the Member-at-Large for Northeast Mississippi. Gena looks forward to hopefully continuing her position as the Northeast Member-at-Large for the next term.
Southwest Central Member at Large October 2017- October 2019
Hi! I am Morgan Patterson, I currently reside in Flowood, MS, but I am from the Desoto County area. I have a bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies with and Emphasis in Child Life and I have a Master’s in Human Development and Family Studies. Both of my degrees are from Mississippi State University and I am a huge MSU fan! I am currently working for the Early Years Network as a field technical assistant for the central part of the state. Although I have a background in Child Life, I have really found a home in the early childhood Ed field. I love working with teachers and directors to help improve the quality care that each child receives, but most of all I love working with the children. I feel that my energy, enthusiasm, and love for working with people around the state to improve the future for Mississippi’s’ children makes me a great candidate for the member at large position.
Southwest Member at Large October 2017- October 2019
I currently serve as director of the Hazlehurst United Methodist Church Child Care & Preschool in Hazlehurst, Ms. The center I serve is affiliated with Mississippi Building Blocks and QRIS; we are a 4 star center. As an Early Childhood Educator my service began in the preschool classroom to administration in a period of 25 years. I currently serve on the Board of Healthy Homes for infants and children. I also am affiliated with our local DHS in helping our foster children, the Angel Tree Network, and Toys for Tots.I have been a member of MECA for many years where I served as your Southwest Member At Large for 4 years. I am the mother of 2 grown children and now am the mother of a beautiful 21/2 year old. I am blessed to say my husband and I adopted our youngest grandchild at 3 weeks old and now she is our daughter. I am an active member of Wesson Baptist Church in Wesson, Ms. where I serve as a Bible Study teacher. My passion is serving God and doing His will, He has given me a calling to be an Early Childhood Educator. I strive each day to serve Him, the children, parents, and the community to the best of my ability.
Southeast Member at Large October 2017- October 2019
I am a mother to two children a son 22 and daughter 20. I have been married to my wonderful husband for 26 happy years. I am dedicated to providing a quality, fun and happy childcare experience to young children. I have been in childcare for 26 years and have loved every minute of it. I am the Director of Early Childhood Program Operations for Hancock County Human Recourses Agency in Hancock County. I have been employed with the agency for 12 years. I oversee 6 early childhood programs across the county. I currently have a Mississippi Childcare Directors Credential, National Directors Credential and a Child Development Associates Credential.