History | Directors


In 1950, at the invitation of the Nashville Council for the education of Children Under Six, one hundred-fifty people from eight states attended a two-day conference. The conference provided an opportunity for an exchange of ideas between persons concerned with the well-being of young children. The 1951 conference was again held in Nashville. In 1952, the conference was held in Louisville, Kentucky, and the Southern Association on Children Under Six (SACUS) was organized.

The Association was a non profit, self supporting organization drawing its membership from the ranks of individuals in thirteen states who were working with or who were interested in the welfare of young children. This original membership was mainly Home Economics teachers, who were the original kindergarten certified teachers. They saw the need for better child care as the number of mothers who worked outside the homes increased.

During the 1965 SACUS Conference at Little Rock, Arkansas, members for Louisiana assembled and made plans for a state organization. This organization was to be called Louisiana Association on Children Under Six (LACUS). A committee was formed and with the leadership of Marlene Wright Comeaux and a fall conference was planned. Attendance for the first LACUS meeting in Alexandria, Louisiana reached the three hundred mark.

During the Fourth annual conference, the Executive Board evaluated the membership and realized the LACUS membership was concentrated in South Louisiana. The Executive Board members recommended that the annual conference of LACUS be held in various locations around the state each year to encourage membership throughout the state. Additionally in 1971 LACUS was divided into six districts which helped the organization to further meet the needs of its membership.

In 1974 the Lil and Roy Murphy Scholarship was established. This scholarship was established to award an outstanding undergraduate student in Child Development or Early Childhood Education, or a related field.

In honor of a former Executive Board member and a SACUS past president, the LACUS Mildred Souther Award was established in 1975. Ms. Souther was a professor at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and was a true advocate for young children. She expected anyone who was to have any impact on children should be of the highest integrity. This award was to be presented to an outstanding worker for preschool children and was to be awarded annually. With the passing of Almanda Anderson, a former Executive Board member and one who was keenly interested in the students participating in LACUS, the Almanda Anderson Award for the Outstanding Student was founded in 1975.

The years of 1976 to 1978 found LACUS embarking upon a ?five-year plan? and attempt to set LACUS toward attainment of goals and the establishment of long range plans. Also, a new budget was formed.

In 1981 a scholarship fund created by Alice Teddlie, LACUS president in 1969, was to be presented to an outstanding student in the early childhood field. This formed the Alice Teddlie Scholarship fund. Also in the same year the Jane Herrin Mini-Grant was established. This grant was set up in honor of a former executive board member Jane Herrin. It was to be awarded to an individual or group who was interested in the training of individuals working in the interest of young children.

In 1991 LACUS changed the length of terms of the president from one to two years and added a president?elect office.

In 1993 the SACUS membership voted to change its name to the Southern Early Childhood Association (SECA) to better represent the broader views that the organization was now covering.

The Graduate Scholarship was established in 1994. This award was renamed the Jeanne Gilley Graduate Scholarship in 1997. This scholarship was established to be presented to a full-time or part-time graduate student majoring in Child Development or Early Childhood Education, or a related field.

Because of the change made by SECA, in 1995 the LACUS membership decided to make the name change to LAECA, Louisiana Early Childhood Association. Since the beginning of its origin, LAECA has made many changes, but there is one constant that remains. We are still an organization who is active and dedicated to the quality education of young children.

Former LAECA Presidents

1966 Marlene Wright Comeaux
1967 Marvene Bonnett
1968 Jeanette Owens
1969 Alice Teddlie
1970 Mary Lee Posey
1971 Betty Walker
1972 Imogene Montgomery
1973 Jeanne Mack
1974 Bess Haley
1974 Lil Murphy
1976 Charlene Detro
1977 Ann M. Maricle
1978 Nancy P. Alexander
1979 Jeanette Gardiner
1980 Marion LaFoe
1981 Sue Garlington
1982 Rick Coleman
1983 Martha Harmon
1984 Denis Wiltcher
1985 Janie Bizette
1986 Jo Wood Carroll
1987 Rosalind Charlesworth
1988 Lynda Bryan
1989 Lois Rector
1990 Nancy Coghill
1991-1992 Janie H. Humphries
1993-1994 Mary Lou Maples
1995-1996 Joan Benedict
1997-1998 Nita Denman
1998-2000 Cheryl McBride
2000-2002 Susan Noel
2002-2004 Nicole Bolen
2004-2006 Cynthia Ramagos
2006-2010 Cindy Rushing
2010-2012 Chris LeJeune
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Board of Directors

Office Name Location
President Michelle Joubert Lake Charles, LA
Past President Chris LeJeune Jennings, LA
Vice President/Research Chair Michelle Fazio-Brunson Natchitoches, LA
Treasurer/2015 Conference Chair Liz Descant Leesville, LA
SECA Representative Jo Carroll Shreveport, LA
Business Manager Kimberly Thibodeaux Ponchatoula, LA
Recording Secretary Ivy Starns Baton Rouge, LA
Corresponding Secretary Cindy Ramagos Baton Rouge, LA
Collaborations Editor Martha Garner Lafayette, LA
Publications Review Editor Gerry Binkley Monroe, LA
Awards Co-Chair Mona Fruge' Lacassine, LA
Awards Co-Chair R. Lynne Bergeron Jennings, LA
Diversity Chair Sandra Hutson New Iberia, LA
Families Chair Susan Myrick Woodworth, LA
Legislative and Public Policy Chair Cathy Martin Bossier City, LA
Division for Development Chair Laura Chestnut Hodge, LA
Special Needs Chair Catherine McKay Woodworth, LA
Research Chair Michelle Fazio-Brunson Natchitoches, LA
SLAECA Representative Chair Dr. Janie Humphries Ruston, LA
Technology Chair Patrica Reder Lake Charles, LA
Public Relations Mary Lou Maples Pineville, LA
Licensing & Pathways Liaison Emily Williamson Swartz, LA
Member At Large - North Cindy Rushing Pineville, LA
Member At Large - South/Historian Teri Knouse Lafayette, LA
District 1 Chair Cathy Martin Bossier City, LA
District 2 chair Gerry Binkley Ruston, LA
District 3 Co-Chair Ashley Dixon Dunn Lecompte, LA
District 4 Chair Christi Gonzales Jeanerette, LA
District 5 Chair Debra Jo Hailey Hammond, LA
District 6 Chair Stephanie Dunn New Orleans, LA
District 7 Chair Patricia Reder Lake Charles, LA
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History | Directors