Shape the Future of Our Organization

Take a moment to browse the candidates for our upcoming election and their bios.  When you are ready to cast your vote, please submit your ballot using the button below.

 

Don't forget: you will need to include your Membership ID # for your vote to be counted.

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Alyssa Dituro
Candidate for President-Elect

I am the Executive Director at McNeilly Center for Children in Nashville, TN.  Founded in 1916, the center has a strong tie to the community.  I fell in love with childcare during my first job at 16, while working in the church nursery and I have never looked back!
 

I am passionate not only about children and their mental health but also about making sure that Tennessee becomes the top state for diversity equity and inclusion work among early childhood educators.

I spent four years as the Director of Southminster Childcare and two years as assistant director of Community Childcare. Both centers were nonprofit centers that served their communities and continue to do so today.
 

I am zealous about the concerns of equity in the field and that we invest in professionals as early as possible ensuring that we continue through myriad training opportunities that can be offered to fit their needs.  I like to call myself an advocate for the early childhood field and have written several op- eds for the Tennessean regarding early childhood education funding, infant  mental health, and BIPOC children.
 

I obtained an undergraduate degree in Child Development in Family Studies from the University of North Texas in 2012 and a graduate degree in Urban Studies from Northeastern Illinois University in 2014. I received an infant mental health endorsement in 2020, a year later received my Tennessee Early Childhood Program Admin Credential. I am a member of NAEYC, TACEE, SECA, and NBCDI (National Black Child Development Institute). I have presented at SECA and for Reading To
Succeed. 

 

I have been married to my wonderful husband since 2015 and have a five-year-old. Interesting fact about me, I am a licensed postpartum doula and I love spending my free time caring for 40 houseplants and focusing on fitness.

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Debbie Kallaher
Candidate for President-Elect

I am from Memphis, TN.  I have worked in the child care field for over 30 years.  I have been a teacher, supervisor, or director in before/after school and summer camp programs for ages three through eighth grade, and a full time child care center Director caring for infants through preschool age children since 1990.

 

Although I love working directly with the children, my passion is teaching education and professional development for teachers and child care professionals.  I have taught for TECTA at Southwest since 2002.  I have also been an adjunct instructor teaching ECE classes at Southwest since 2012 and an adjunct instructor teaching child development and family studies classes at the UofM since 2016.  Since August of 2019 I have been fulfilling my dream job of teaching full time at Southwest Tennessee Community College.
 

Throughout my years in the child care field, I have served on the boards for the former TAEYC and MAEYC in different capacities and offices from conference registration to treasurer.  I am currently the Conference Finance Officer for TACEE.  I am hopeful that we can help create a TACEE affiliate in the Memphis/Shelby County/Southwest TN region.  We will need to work together to continue the awesome online training opportunities that are being offered now by TACEE and to create new opportunities for professional development and training as we move forward.
 

I live with my two 2 year old baby boys, my miniature schnauzer rescues, BJ and Romeo. They are totally supportive of my work and my education and will both sit in my lap while I am grading papers or working on my own homework for my doctorate.

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Keosha Perry
Candidate for Nominating Chair [West]

After working in business management for over ten years, Keosha Perry left the private industry to open a Family Childcare Agency.  This is when she fell in love with Early
Childhood Education. Currently, she is the Technology Coordinator with Childcare Resource and Referral (CCR&R)/Signal Centers, Inc, where she leads a team of statewide coaches on closing the digital divide in childcare within Tennessee.

 

She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree, a Master of Business Administration Degree, and a Technical Certificate in Early Childhood Education. Additionally, Keosha had a CDA in Family Child Care and holds an AIMHiTN endorsement for Infant Family Associate: Promotion.

 

Within the community, she is a member of the Shelby County Children in Disaster Task Force, Safe Kids Worldwide, and the AIMHiTN Community Engagement Workgroup. In addition, she sits on the Advisory Board for AIMHiTN. She is also a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the Tennessee Association for Children's Early Education (TACEE), and the National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC). With all her experience, she understands the challenges of working on the frontlines and has a unique perspective on the opportunities in early childhood education.

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Jennifer Powers
Candidate for Nominating Chair [West]

For as long as I can remember, I have had a passion for caring for children beginning with being the oldest of four and the only girl.  I have been professionally involved in childcare for 35 years. My first job was in a two-year-old room as a teacher assistant at the age of 15.

 

I have been blessed to serve in many roles during my
career. From a Sunday school teacher, a work study and graduate assistant at UTM’s children’s center, a Child/Family advocate for TSU: Early Headstart, classroom teacher in a Faith-based childcare center, Director of that same center, Interim Children’s Minister for my church, and now Educational Specialist at Promethean Foundation. I consider myself a community advocate for teachers and
children and have developed and implemented several trainings to help teachers grow in the classroom.


I am passionate about ensuring that every early childhood classroom is portraying high standards for each child they serve. I love working together with teachers, one-
on-one, to improve the overall quality of the classroom. My goal is to encourage each teacher to meet their full potential by building them up and encouraging them to strive to be better.

 

I graduated from the University of Tennessee at Martin, with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice. Then went on to receive my Masters in Human Environmental Sciences with an emphasis on Child and Family Relations. After graduation, I married my best friend, Jon Ed. We will be married 26 years in August. He is a farmer and we own a sporting goods business, Final Flight Outfitters. We have two amazing children. Our daughter Bayleigh is currently finishing her doctorate at Belmont in Occupational Therapy and our son Jon Brayden, who is a sophomore majoring in Business Administration at UTM.

 

Of all my experiences and opportunities working with children, the privilege to be called their mom is my greatest title.