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 under 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 4th Annual LACUS Conference, the Executive Board evaluated the membership and realized that 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 1974-1975 three monetary awards/scholarships were established through LACUS that were designed to promote the profession, acknowledge excellence, and/or assist pre-service teachers with educational costs. In 1974 the Lil and Roy Murphy Scholarship was established. This memorial scholarship was designed to acknowledge and give a monetary award to an outstanding undergraduate student in Child Development, Early Childhood Education, or a related field. The two awards funded in 1975 were the Mildred Souther Award and the Almanda Anderson Award. 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 to be of the highest integrity. This award was to be presented to an outstanding worker for preschool children. Almanda Anderson, a former Executive Board member, was keenly interested in post-secondary students participating in LACUS, thus her namesake award was reserved for an Outstanding Student. The years of 1976 to 1978 found LACUS embarking upon a five-year plan and attempting to set LACUS toward attainment of goals and the establishment of long-range plans that included budget planning.

More funding to support membership continued in the form of scholarships. In 1981, a scholarship fund was created by Alice Teddlie, our 1969 LACUS president. The fund has provided monetary awards to outstanding students in the early childhood field. In the same year, the Jane Herrin Mini-Grant was established to honor its namesake, a former executive board member. The intention behind this grant is to support an individual or group to enhance staff development or facility planning that will be in the best 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 had evolved to embrace.

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, 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. Our organization continues to grow and evolve, but one thing remains constant: We are still an organization of caring individuals who are collectively dedicated to and actively promoting quality care and education of young children.

LAECA former presidents
Return to top

LAECA board of directors

Return to top


History | Directors